Money

Actress Teri Hatcher drives the same car for 100,000 miles—here’s why it's such a smart choice

Actress Teri Hatcher
FilmMagic | Getty Images
Actress Teri Hatcher

Teri Hatcher became a familiar face in the 90's, co-starring in the James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies" and as Lois Lane on ABC's "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." But her breakout role came in 2004 as Susan Mayer on ABC's hit drama "Desperate Housewives," which ran for eight seasons until 2012.

At the show's peak, Hatcher earned around $375,000 per episode. The actresses successfully negotiated salary bumps between seasons seven and eight.

Despite her wealth, Hatcher is careful about what she splurges on and where she saves. Before joining "Desperate Housewives," she experienced both a difficult divorce and career slowdown. But Hatcher always made sure that she could pay her bills and provide for her daughter.

"I'm a very conservative person," she told People during a 2005 interview. "I drive my cars for 10 years until they have 100,000 miles on them. To me, feeling comfortable means having way more than I need in the bank."

Hatcher prefers to put her money toward experiences rather than flashy things. At the time of her interview with People, she had recently returned from a African safari with her daughter, Emerson.

"I don't spend my money on sports cars or new million-dollar houses," she says. "But being able to go on the trip of a lifetime is pretty special."

Hatcher is not the only celeb who drives cars into the ground, either. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins still owns the 1986 Toyota 4x4 he drove in high school and Dallas Cowboy running back Alfred Morris still drives "Bentley," a 26-year-old Mazda 626 sedan from 1991 that he bought for $2.

"It just keeps me grounded, where I came from and all the hard work for me to get to this point," said Morris in 2012 on the Redskins' website.

Although to many it might feel extreme to keep a car as long as possible, it's a strategy endorsed by financial expert and former CNBC host Suze Orman.

"One of the best ways to build financial security is to spend the least amount possible on a car that meets your needs," Orman writes in a recent blog post. "Forget about the bells and whistles you want. Paying less helps you pay off the car faster."

Orman explains that "a car is a lousy investment" that "only loses value." While owning a vehicle is non-negotiable for many people, the vehicle itself doesn't need to be ostentatious or expensive. It's a utility that should be driven as long as it remains safe and reliable.

Money saved on transportation can go toward toward retirement savings or a down payment on a home. Or, like in Hatcher's case, it can be used to splurge on the trip of a lifetime.

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