Those of you who are regular readers might remember the story I shared about the big league ballplayer who lived with his parents while making a $400,000 annual salary. Reactions ranged from “it’s a great idea” to “it is time for him to move out and grow up”, with a variety of thoughts in between.
Now, along comes a story about a ballplayer who goes even further with his frugality – at least in my view (you may disagree). Yahoo! Sports had an interesting article about a major league player who took a money-saving approach when sent down to the minor leagues. He has since been recalled, but he clearly took measures to save himself some money while his major league career was on hold.
Apparently, the player had been on the big league club last year, and had leased an apartment for himself and his family (wife and daughter) in Pheonix. After being in the big leagues in 2009, and with the major league minimum salary at $400,000 this year, it seems that it shouldn’t be much of a problem for any player to get a nice rental in Phoenix that’s within his budget. On top of that, one would think that he would have plenty of money to spare, especially after earning a fat paycheck last season.
That may be the case, but nevertheless, Roberts was sent down to the minor leagues earlier this season, to the team’s Triple A affiliate in Reno, Nevada. At that point, it appears that despite having the potential to be called up to big leagues later this season -which did in fact end up happening – he seems to have pulled out all the stops to protect his cash flow.
What did he do? Well, since he already had that rental for his wife and daughter back in Arizona, he decided not to rent a place for himself in Reno. Yes, he was basically a homeless professional athlete – and by choice!
The guy apparently slept in the locker room when the team was in Reno. He had showers right there, and was able to make sandwiches from the supplies in the kitchen. Since he already had one apartment lease payment, he didn’t want to spend anything on a lease in Reno. When he was on the road, he stayed in hotels with the team.
That reminds me of a guy from my college fraternity, who described his living plans for one year as just “crashing on a friend’s couch”. Yep, no fraternity house (and fees), no apartment lease = no cash outflow for that guy. Ultimately, he moved back in to the fraternity, as one would have expected. He was actually a very smart guy, oddly enough. He just didn’t have the money, apparently.
That’s what makes this interesting to me.When a college fraternity guy won’t even do that, it’s interesting how a professional ballplayer, particularly one who spent a chunk of time earning a big salary, was able to take the step to do it.
Anyway, I think the ballplayer’s approach may have been over the top, as he might have been able to rent an extended stay hotel room instead, but I commend him for his frugality. At least he apparently realizes the value of maximizing your income minus expense gap, and is willing to make sacrifices to keep that going. In spirit, I think that’s pretty cool, even if he was excessive. Hundreds of millions of people live in far worse conditions. At least his wife and child were resting comfortably in their Arizona rental:)
What do you think? Is this a nice example of smart frugality?