3 smart money lessons you can learn from Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish during an interview on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on October 26, 2018.
Andrew Lipovsky/NBCUniversal | Getty Images

Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish is juggling a lot of creative projects. After her breakout role in the 2017 film "Girls Trip," which grossed over $140 million at the box office, she went on to host "Kids Say the Darndest Things" on ABC in addition to producing her own Netflix show, "Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready."

And the 38-year-old's latest feature film, "Like a Boss," just hit theaters.

Though she now has an estimated net worth of $6 million, Haddish has not shied away from sharing details of the financial challenges in her past. She spent her childhood in and out of foster care and was homeless for a period of time as an adult, living out of her car. She's also vocal about being careful to live within her means.

Here are three smart money lessons from Haddish that can help you save.

1. Don't give in to lifestyle creep

It's usually a faux pas for an actress to be photographed in a dress she's already worn. Haddish doesn't care. She famously wore the same $4,000 Alexander McQueen dress to at least three major events since purchasing it.

Haddish first wore the dress at the "Girls Trip" premiere in July 2017. She wore it again while hosting "Saturday Night Live" in November of 2017 and a third time while presenting an award at the 90th Academy Awards in 2017.

She even drew attention to her decision. "I spent a lot of money on this dress. This dress cost way more than my mortgage," Haddish said during her opening monologue on "SNL." "This a $4,000 dress. [I'm going to] wear this dress multiple times."

Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph speak onstage during the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California.
Kevin Winter | Getty Images

No matter how much you make, you too can save money on clothes by buying secondhand and limiting machine drying to preserve the material. By wearing the dress on multiple occasions instead of buying as many as she could afford, Haddish lowered the garment's cost per use. In a broader sense, she also reminded everyone that you don't have to splurge just because other people expect you to.

If you come into or start earning more money, it's tempting to up spending accordingly — a phenomenon known as lifestyle creep. Haddish is modeling how to avoid that trap.

That Haddish proudly and publicly rewore a dress instead of overspending on a new one is "one of my favorite things that a celebrity has done," actress Mayim Bialik told Grow last year. "I think it's an awesome statement on the ridiculousness of female fashion in particular, and also the ridiculousness of our industry, and our demand for novelty, and that is cost-prohibitive for most people."

2. Pay off high-interest debt

After receiving her final paycheck for the movie "Girls Trip," Haddish told InStyle magazine that she used the money to pay off her mortgage and wipe out her debts.

If you receive a lump sum, like a sizable tax refund, or a bonus, experts agree it's smart to use that money to pay off debt, like Haddish did, and prioritizing balances with high interest rates, since those cost you more in the long run. For example, if you have a credit card charging 20% interest and a student loan charging 6% interest, try to knock out the credit card debt first.

Paying off debt makes it much easier to save money for short-term goals like starting an emergency fund or rainy day fund, or accumulating a down payment for your first home. It also means you can put more money towards long-term goals like a comfortable retirement.

3. Cut back in small ways to boost your budget

On NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Haddish shared a story about taking her "Girls Trip" co-star Jada Pinkett-Smith and husband Will Smith on a swamp tour using a Groupon.

Small changes in your saving and spending habits can make a big difference in your overall budget. You can start by shopping sales and looking for discounts, like Haddish. You can also review your monthly expenses and find areas to cut back or to get a better deal. For example, you can save about $50 on your monthly cable and streaming services bill by negotiating with your provider. If you start by telling the representative that you'd like to cancel your plan, more often than not, they'll try to work with you to get you more favorable terms.

Haddish is candid about the challenges she faced in the past because she learned from them, and she hopes others can too. "I obviously went through these things for a reason," Haddish told ABC News. "If it's not to share with other people so they can handle their situations better, well, I don't know what the hell I went through it for."

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