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Patriots player Rob Gronkowski said he hasn't spent a dime of his $54 million NFL contract. Here are 4 money-saving tips that you can learn from him.

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/6/2019 Kelli Pate
Rob Gronkowski looking at the camera © Michael Dwyer/AP

It's no secret professional athletes make bank. Just this week, an NFL representative confirmed to INSIDER that the Los Angeles Rams players each took home a cool $59,000 for playing in the Super Bowl - and they didn't even win. Meanwhile, The New England Patriots' players each took home $118,000. Among those winning players is tight end Rob Gronkowski.

But getting paid like a rock star doesn't mean he lives like one. Even though CNBC reported that he earned an $8 million base salary in 2018 alone, Gronkowski said he hasn't spent a penny of his NFL career salary or signing bonuses, choosing instead to live off his endorsement deals, which he has made with brands like Dunkin' Donuts.

Gronkowski made the surprising revelations about his spending in his 2015 book, "It's Good to Be Gronk."

"To this day, I still haven't touched one dime of my signing bonus or NFL contract money," he wrote. "I live off my marketing money and haven't blown it on any big-money expensive cars, expensive jewelry or tattoos and still wear my favorite pair of jeans from high school."

You don't have to get paid like a football player to benefit from Gronk's methods. Here's what those of us who aren't pro athletes can learn from the money-savvy tight end.

Don't spend your earnings or bonuses all at once

According to CNBC, the biggest piece of advice Gronkowski shares with his young teammates is to "get what you need to live comfortably, but don't go crazy with splurging until you feel comfortable in the league."

In other words, Gronk might tell you that suddenly finding yourself flush with cash - perhaps a fat bonus check - doesn't mean a shopping spree is in order. You might be tempted to buy a big-ticket item or pay for a lavish vacation, but blowing all your money at once could be a recipe for disaster. You never know if you could face a huge financial blow, like job loss or divorce, in the future, especially if job could be a risky one. In fact, there is a disproportionately high number of former NFL players who end up filing for bankruptcy.

Make the most of what you have before buying something new

On an August 2018 episode of Uninterrupted's "Kneading Dough," Gronkowski shared that he doesn't spend much money on clothing and shoes.

"If I like the clothing, if I like the shoes, I'll wear those shoes and I'll wear that clothing down to the rags," Gronk, who said he's spent his childhood inheriting hand-me-downs from his brothers, told "Kneading Dough" host Maverick Carter.

You can try to save some cash in this category by shopping at thrift stores, using coupons, and taking care of your existing wardrobe to extend its lifespan. You might also want to take a page from Gronk's book and use up or wear down what you have before buying new versions of them.

Buy a car instead of leasing it

Even most financial experts will tell you it's smarter to buy a car than to lease one. That's exactly what Gronkowski advised one of his Patriots teammates to do earlier this year. He shared the story on the same episode of "Kneading Dough."

"[My teammate] came up to me and he's like, 'Hey Rob, you got a Hummer. I want to get a Hummer but my agent's telling me I shouldn't get a Hummer. You know, it costs too much - like 22 grand. What do you think?'"

Gronkowski said he told the player, who was spending $400 a week on a rental car at the time, to "hurry up and buy that damn Hummer."

Although leasing a vehicle might save you money in the short-term, you'll have nothing to show for it once the lease contract ends. Plus, there's nothing quite like the feeling of making that final monthly loan payment and knowing the car is all yours.

Save for your future

According to the same Interrupted "Kneading Dough" interview, as of August 2018, Gronkowski said he still hasn't touched a cent of the six-year NFL contract he signed in 2012.

Unlike Gronkowski, you don't need millions of dollars to start saving for or investing in retirement. Investing even small amounts of money can add up over time, thanks to the power of compounding interest. The trick is to start investing now, while you still have years ahead of you to earn healthy returns on your savings.

Diversify your income sources by trying out a side hustle

As mentioned, Gronkowski has said he lives off of the money he makes from endorsement deals. Gronk's endorsement deals have included brands like BodyArmor SuperDrink and Dunkin' Donuts.

You can try taking a page from his book by adding a side hustle to your day to day life, whether it be pet-sitting or teaching an online class. There's a side hustle option for just about anyone and it can help supplement your primary-income source.

Although you may not be able to live off of your side hustle income like Gronkowski, your side hustle could boost your saving and spending power.

Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

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