Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are not just superheroes — they are major billionaires.
They don’t need Verizon or AT&T to make phone calls. Heck, they can afford to launch their own satellite networks. Can you bat-hear me now? Good! Batman and Iron Man are at the top of superhero food chain when it comes to financial well-being. (See also: How TVs Frugalest Characters Get By With Less)
On the other hand, there are the other 99% of superheroes that are just like us. Trying to figure out what bill to pay first, how to afford a new car, or where to shop for cheaper groceries. Here are the 12 spendthrifty-est superheroes, in alphabetical order.
1. Cloak and Dagger
If you are a child of the 80’s, then you probably remember these popular Marvel characters. Cloak and Dagger often hang out with Spider-Man (more on him later).
Cloak and Dagger are so poor that they fully depend on friends and priests for shelter and money. They never know where they will sleep next because they find shelter at the nearest church. This has forced Cloak and Dagger to become really good at budgeting and making the very best of whatever they can get their hands on. Luckily for this crime-fighting duo, they don’t need to worry about groceries at all, as they don’t need to eat to survive. Bye, bye Safeway!
Being the fastest man alive in the DC Comics universe comes with an incredible perk — he is able to be in virtually two places at once.
This comes very useful to Flash because he has to live off a policeman’s salary. Despite being one of the top A-listers of DC Comics, he needs to worry about keeping his blue-collar job. Flash is the king of multitasking and can do house chores, buy groceries, fight crime, and complete all his job duties on the same day, almost all at once! Since he runs all around the world, he knows where to buy anything at the best possible price. But the ultimate reason why Flash is one of the spendthrifty-est superheroes is that he doesn’t own a car and doesn’t spend a cent on gas.
Goku and his wife, Chi-chi, are humble radish farmers, which means that they mostly depend on their hard labor to make a living. Fortunately for them, they live in area blessed with enormous fishes and birds, so they never go hungry. On top of that, Goku wears the same orange uniform and black boots 90% of the time, and mostly is just happy to eat noodles and rice. Imagine how much money and time he saves every day. While it is true that he made good money from winning several fighting tournaments over the years, he saved most of it for the martial arts training and higher education tuition of his son, Gohan.
Hulk SMASH! living expense problem.
By hiding from the government most of his life, Bruce Banner (Hulk‘s alter ego) has subsisted as a homeless wanderer. With whatever he can fit in a backpack, Bruce can survive for several months away from civilization. And when he turns into the green goliath, he can live like a wild beast in even the scorching deserts of the American Southwest. No need to go get groceries when Hulk can hunt wild game. This Marvel super hero doesn’t need to worry about several bills like the rest of us. And since he is always hiding from the government, the last thing he wants to do is to leave a credit card trail. It’s all cash for Bruce, which really helps him monitor his spending.
5. Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern)
There are several men that have worn the powerful emerald green from DC Comics, but none have been as budget conscious as Kyle Rayner.
Despite his gifted abilities, the Los Angeles-based freelance artist often struggles to find steady income. Unlike the Flash, Green Lantern has a hard time keeping a job. During his first years as a member of the Justice League, our hero even found himself once unable to afford a latte at Starbucks. Still, through hard work, dedication and the ability to stretch every dollar as much as he can, he is able to meet the rent of his modest apartment, buy flowers for his girlfriend, and refrain from asking for a bat-loan.
If Bruce Banner and Ryu were to ever meet, they would probably argue about who can survive the longest in the wild.
With just a gym bag, pair of sparring gloves, red bandana, and white uniform, Ryu, of the Street Fighter video games, travels the world, spending great lengths of time in remote areas. This guy is so cheap that he doesn’t even wear shoes. Any prize money that he receives, he milks as much as possible to travel to his next tournament destination. He would probably even turn down Chun-Li if she ever asked him out on a date, just to avoid having to pay the restaurant bill.
7. Silver Surfer
Marvel’s Silver Surfer takes Ryu’s spending philosophy to the extreme. He has his board, and nothing else — not even clothes! Thanks to his life-maintaining cosmic energy, the Silver Surfer does not need to eat, breathe, or sleep. This grants him plenty of time to work and do whatever he pleases. The only downside to his lifestyle is that the poor fella doesn’t have pockets. He should probably sit down with Ryu and Hulk and get some lessons on the benefits of a good bag.
Poor Spawn! Even the Silver Surfer has a cool surfboard. Spawn, of Image Comics, just has a cape and some chains. He is so gloomy that he is satisfied with whatever scraps people throw at him. At least Cloak and Dagger have some ambition; Spawn, on the other hand, just hangs out in a dank alley. Despite all the crazy cyborgs, hellspawns, demons, and cyborgs that show up in his alley, he still lives at the same place. This guy is quite spendthrifty but in a negative way — he doesn’t even own a cardboard box. Come on Spawn, get some ambition!
With all the money that Marvel makes from the Spider-Man movies, you would hope that the execs give Peter Parker a bonus. But no, Peter is still living with his Aunt May, making just a few bucks with his freelance photo gig at The Daily Bugle, and having to sew his own Spidey costumes. Unlike Batman, this is a regular guy that dresses on a budget. It has been estimated that Peter’s regular wardrobe costs him about $313, which is far cry from Bruce Wayne’s $20,000 ensemble. Plus, he mostly just eats whatever sandwich he can fix from stuff in Aunt May’s fridge.
Talk about being super-frugal! The Man of Steel has zero overhead and doesn’t spend money on fancy gadgets like Batman. He even built his lair in the north pole — low rent! If you ever wonder why Superman needs to save as much as he can, consider this: He has been around for so long that a five buck bonus was considered a cause for celebration among the Daily Planet’s reporters. Lucky for him he doesn’t need to spend too much to impress Lois Lane — just a night time fly-by during a full moon or cooking a steak to perfection with his heat vision.
11. Swamp Thing
Cloak and Dagger have Spider-Man as their buddy. Spawn has plenty of company. Poor Swamp Thing… has a swamp. This is one of the loneliest characters in the DC Comics universe. He has no friends and is happier to be around swamp plants and toads. He doesn’t pay rent on an apartment, wear a fancy wardrobe, own a car, nor even expensive armor like Iron Man (that ensemble is valued at $10 Billion!). Most of the time he just hangs out at his swamp, only leaving when hero duty calls. He is very eco-conscious and makes a buck every now then as spokesperson for Greenpeace, which he nevertheless donates to environmental organizations.
12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Last but not least, here are the spendthrifty-est superheroes of them all — the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These heroes in a hard shell spend no money on rent and eat nothing but pizza. The TMNT gang is capable of living on a budget without isolating themselves from the outside world. Here are a few other ways they distinguish themselves as superheroes of frugality:
- Unlike Spawn and Swamp Thing, they have plenty of friends, such as Casey Jones and April O’Neil.
- Unlike Superman and Spider-Man, they don’t need to have a side-gig — their crime-fighting is their only full-time job.
- Like Ryu and Kyle Rayner, they know how to stretch a buck.
- Donatello can fix everything from TV’s to skateboards to cars.
- Splinter homeschools them so they have zero student debt.
- They don’t splurge on fancy wardrobes — just bandanas, belts, and the occasional trenchcoat.
Who is your favorite spendthrifty superhero — and why? Be a hero and share in comments!