Power Players

Kevin O'Leary says he spends $1,000 a day on food

Kevin O'Leary: I spend $1,000 a day on food
Kevin O'Leary: I spend $1,000 a day on food

"Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary may give out smart saving and investment advice, but he admits he sets a "bad example" when it comes to his food budget.

"I'm on the road all week, five days a week. I'm spending about $1,000 a day on food," or $5,000 a week, O'Leary tells CNBC Make It.

While he recognizes his food spending habits may sound "crazy" to most, for him — it's business. In O'Leary's world, business lunches, dinners and even breakfast meetings are the norm in order to make deals happen.

"For example, today's breakfast cost me about $200," O'Leary told CNBC Make It in July in New York City. "It was a very important meeting with somebody I have to do business with."

For business meetings in particular, O'Leary is adamant about picking up the check.

"I don't want to owe anybody anything," he says, "so I'm happy to pick up the tab. I do it all the time."

But O'Leary isn't advocating that everyone splurge on expensive meals; he actually thinks the opposite.

"If you are just starting your career, look at your paycheck and do not spend more than 20% of your after-tax paycheck on dining out," he says.

And if you want to be "smart," he says, keep your dining and bar expenses at 10% of your biweekly paycheck and eat at home four days a week at a minimum.

"If you really want to save money, make it six days [a week] and splurge only one night a week," he advises.

(When O'Leary himself was younger, he even cooked at home on his second date with his now-wife Linda. "I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of stuff that would be really hard to chop up so we could do it together in the kitchen," O'Leary previously told CNBC Make It. "We had a great time and we got to know each other a little bit.")

But one area that he says people should not go cheap on is grocery shopping — everyone should invest in buying good quality food no matter how much you make, he says.

"Food is the engine of the body. You should think about what you're putting into your mouth every day."

In fact, if O'Leary were to start a business today, it would likely revolve around healthy food, he recently told CNBC Make It.

"I love this space," he says. "And I'll tell you one thing right now, people want to eat healthy food all of a sudden. Even people that have dogs, they want to feed them healthy foods too. Something in healthy foods is a great place to make money [today]."

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC's "Shark Tank."

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