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Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson’s Frugal Living Helped Him Save Over 80 Percent of NFL Salary En Route to Current Net Worth $15 Million

Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson may not have been playing on an NFL team since the 2011 -2012 season, but he has been able to maintain a reputed net worth of $15 million as a result of frugality and steady streams of income.

Chad Ochocinco (Photo via Instagram @ochocinco)

“I done save 80 [to] 83 percent of my salary,” Johnson said on a recent episode of Club Shay Shay. “So life is good because I was able to sustain and keep most of my wealth that I made while playing.” 

Johnson was an NFL wide receiver for 11 seasons, earning $48.9 million according to Spotrac. He joined the Cincinnati Bengals as a second-round draft pick in 2001, playing for the team for 10 years. Johnson was traded to the New England Patriots in 2011 and played in the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI. After being released by the Patriots, Johnson played the preseason with the Miami Dolphins but was released from the team following an arrest related to domestic violence against ex-wife and reality star, Evelyn Lozada. 

The Frugal Wealth Builder 

During Johsons’ first two years of playing, he ignored suggestions of renting or purchasing a home. Instead, he slept at the Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. 

“I stayed at the stadium for the first two years because I ain’t want to spend no money,” Johnson said during the podcast episode. “Why you telling me go rent a house, go buy a house, go rent a condo when everything I need is right here in the facility at Paul Brown? Showers, cafeteria, TV, couch, gaming system — what’s the point?”

Johnson did not purchase a home until his fourth year in the NFL. If he was in his hometown of Miami, he would stay with his grandmother. 

“I didn’t move out of my grandmother’s house because I was content and used to where I lived,” he added.

And that’s not all. Throughout his career, Johnson has worn costume jewelry from Claire’s. Instead of purchasing a luxury car outright, he’d lease. And ride first class? Absolutely not. Johnson often chose to fly on budget airlines. 

Johnson is now off the football field and claims he is the owner of three McDonald’s franchises in Cincinnati, Indiana, and Miami. He also appears regularly as a co-host of his and Shannon Sharpe’s late-night podcast “Nightcap.”

“I got to a point in my career and I wish people, athletes more so, if you can get to a point in your career where your name becomes bigger than anything you can purchase, there’s your value,” he told listeners. 

Spending When It Matters 

Although Johnson often jokes about his frugality, he has no problem shelling out money when he wants to. 

“I done purchased at least everything,” Johnson said. “Bugatti, Ferrari, I did it all.” 

Johnson recently shared with Sharpe on the “Nightcap” podcast that he was celebrating his birthday by spending $500,000 on himself. And when it was time to show his love, Johnson reportedly spent $250,000 on an oval-cut, 7.5 carat engagement ring for his fiancee, Sharelle Rosado. 

“When it comes to her, I don’t play,” Ochocinco said in a conversation with Sharpe. “I’m gonna open up my purse. It wasn’t nothing.” 

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