Josh Radnor reveals he was still living in a $750 sublet while starring on 'How I Met Your Mother' — here's why

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Josh Radnor, star of NBC's new show "Rise," has already had a successful career on the small screen. He first won over fans as Ted Mosby on CBS's "How I Met Your Mother."

That show, which aired from 2005 to 2014, landed Radnor on Forbes' 2014 list of highest paid TV actors for raking in $10 million — a combination of his salary for the last season of HIMYM and syndication revenue, according to the publication.

But Radnor tells tells CNBC Make It that early on, he didn't live in a Los Angeles mansion. In fact, he was hesitant to even buy a house.

"It took me so long to get up the courage to buy anything. I was the last one in the 'How I Met Your Mother' cast to buy a house," Radnor tells CNBC Make It, adding that at the time, he was in his early 30s.

"The first two seasons of 'How I Met Your Mother,' I lived in a $750-a-month sublet from my friend, which I had been living in for years," Radnor, 43, says.

Despite the show being a hit and racking up a number of Emmys and People's Choice awards, Radnor was nervous. "You don't know, as an actor, how sustainable things are going to be, how long things are going to last," he says.

These days, Radnor doesn't mind spending his windfall, but he's discerning, he says.

"It's not that I'm frugal, I don't mind spending money if I believe in the thing," Radnor explains. "[But] there's not a lot of stuff I look at in the world and say, 'Oh man, I gotta have that.'"

In fact, Radnor says he was even surprised at the price of a magazine, and had a hard time justifying the $10 expense.

"I subscribed to the New Yorker and I forgot it, and I was at the airport and I wanted to read this issue on the plane, and it was $10! And I thought, 'Hey that feels like a lot for a magazine,'" Radnor says, laughing.

Instead, Radnor shells out for other kinds of purchases. "I really spend money on travel and experiences," he says.

Radnor is on the right track, choosing to spend money on experiences instead of goods. "One of the most common things people do with their money is get stuff," Michael Norton, one of the authors of "Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending," told Harvard Business Review. "But we have shown…in research that stuff isn't good for you. It doesn't make you unhappy, but it doesn't make you happy. But one thing that does make us happy is an experience."

Still, there is one material thing "Rise" star Radnor admits he's willing to spend money on: guitars.

"I have a band with my friend Ben Lee called Radnor & Lee, and I've been playing guitar for the past year," Radnor says. "So I can see myself being a guitar collector. I have this beautiful Martin that I really love, and I have a Gibson J-45. I'm just very into guitars at the moment."

This article has been updated and revised.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC and CNBC.