The key to wealth is saving. And saving starts with not spending. 

Few people realize this as early as they should.

One who did, and took it to extreme lengths, was the former football star Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson.

Johnson, who played ten seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals as a wide receiver, took the unusual step of living rent-free at the stadium during his first two seasons in the NFL.  

Johnson told Graham Benzinger on the In Depth podcast that he wanted to save money and focus on his game. He slept on the couches in the player’s lounge, which he described as “plush.”

He said the stadium had everything he needed: showers, video games, food and a gym to lift weights. 

“I was so engulfed in football and I wanted to be great at my craft,” he told Benzinger. ”Staying at the stadium, it was home.”

Johnson also said he made it a habit of calling his coaches as early as 5 a.m. to share ideas about how the team could improve. 

“I was one of the few people who didn’t club or go out,” he said. “I was in bed by 9.3 pm and would call at 5 am. I always had an idea or strategy or idea that would help us.” 

After two years, then-head coach Marvin Lewis told him it was time to “get his own place.” 

Johnson agreed so he moved in with his grandmother who lived nearby.