During his playing days, Chad Johnson was one of the flashiest receivers in the NFL. He never shied away from some good trash-talking, his touchdown celebrations were the stuff of legend, and he changed his last name to “Ochocinco” to match his #85 jersey. Yet even with all that bravado, Johnson never let one thing get out of hand: his savings.

Johnson appeared on Shannon Sharpe‘s “Club Shay Shay” podcast and talked about how his brash on-field persona wasn’t the same off of it.

“There’s nothing I can buy that’s bigger than my name alone,” Johnson said. “So it made no sense. But everybody’s caught up in image and looking a certain way and being rich. Do you know how hard it is to live like that consistently and be fly every day?”

Johnson added that he doesn’t need a private jet, only something that gets him from Point A to Point B. He’s fine flying a budget airline like Spirit. He also doesn’t get fancy watches, rings, or necklaces — he goes to Claire’s for his jewelry. That’s right, the same place where you can get your ears pierced at the mall is where a star NFL player does his shopping.

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

By being thrifty and not concerned with showing off wealth as a status symbol, Johnson claims he’s saved 80 to 83% of the his post-tax $48 million salary he made over 11 seasons, primarily with the Cincinnati Bengals. Assuming roughly $24 million after-tax income, that lines up fairly well with our current $15 million net worth estimate for Chad.

Johnson also had a word of caution for his fellow athletes. He specifically called out people who spend money because they think they can easily earn it back.

“People think the fix to the problem is, ‘well, give me more money, I’ma be alright,'” Johnson said. “But the more you make, the more you spend — if you have no discipline and structure.”

Johnson’s words are also pretty poignant for non-athletes, too. He discussed how so many people live or dress a certain way to impress others who “don’t really care nothing about you.”

The next time you make a lavish purchase, think about Johnson’s advice — why are you doing it? If it’s something that will make you happy, like a trip to a new city, go ahead. Or if you’re doing something kind for another person, like leaving an excellent tip at a restaurant (something else Johnson loves to do), that’s a good decision, too.

But if the purchase is solely to indicate wealth or status to show off to other people, you might be better served to put that money elsewhere.

Check out a clip of Johnson from “Club Shay Shay” below.

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