The simple way to make sure you 'always have money,' according to 'The Affair' actor Russell Hornsby

Actor Russell Hornsby on his financial role model: 'Grandma always had...

Though Russell Hornsby has enjoyed his successes onscreen — six seasons of ABC's "Grimm," as well roles on Showtime's "The Affair" and in films such as "Fences" and upcoming "The Hate U Give," which will premiere in October — he makes sure to stay grounded and prepare for the future. For Hornsby, that means putting saving first.

"I've been raised in such a way that they say, 'Always save your money,'" he tells CNBC Make It. "'Always save money for a rainy day because it's going to rain.'"

He says his personal outlook on money involves a combination of strategies, including paying himself first and living off only 80 or 90 percent of his earnings.

"My philosophy is to live below your means," he says. "My philosophy is to save, spend minimally, and buy things as much as you can on sale, never pay full price, and just don't spend a lot of money at the end of the day."

Russell Hornsby attends the Premiere Of Netflix's 'Seven Seconds' at The Paley Center for Media.
Greg Doherty | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images

It's a habit he learned early on by watching those around him.

"I remember Grandma always had money," he says. In fact, he noticed, whenever an elderly person passed away, they left money behind: "They would have, like, hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars in the bank or in the safe or in a mattress or something like that."

"I remember the fast know-it-all would always go broke, and where would they go for their money? They go to Grandma!" Hornsby adds. "She always had money. I'd think, 'How does she always have money?' Because she saved it and she didn't spend it on craziness and she always made sure she had a little tucked away."

The fast know-it-all would always go broke, and where would they go for their money? They go to Grandma!
Russell Hornsby

Hornsby internalized that lesson and learned to always tuck away part of his own paychecks. "I said to myself, 'That makes sense,'" he says. "Just always have a little tucked away. That's what I subscribe to."

Hornsby's attitude toward saving is endorsed by experts. New York Times-bestselling author and co-founder of AE Wealth Management David Bach calls it "one, proven, easy way to get rich." As he writes in "The Automatic Millionaire," "when you earn a dollar, the first person you pay is you."

Personal finance expert David Bach's formula for becoming a millionaire

That means setting up your savings like a bill that needs to be paid, so a certain amount is automatically transferred from your checking account to those accounts each month.

Plus, "you'll never forget a payment again — and you'll never be tempted to skimp on savings because you won't even see the money going directly from your paycheck to your savings accounts," Bach writes.

While Hornsby acknowledges that investing in a diversifying portfolio is also a key part of a healthy financial picture, he still makes sure to put saving first.

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