Former US president Jimmy Carter still lives in a modest $167,000 house that he built himself back in 1961

Jimmy Carter, who shops at Dollar General store and makes his own yogurt, is also the only living president who saves taxpayers money

                            Former US president Jimmy Carter still lives in a modest $167,000 house that he built himself back in 1961
Jimmy Carter (Source:Getty Images)

Former US President Jimmy Carter who once called the White House his home now lives in a frugal two-bedroom ranch in Plains, Georgia worth just $167,000. To put that in perspective, the house costs less than "the value of the armored secret service vehicles parked outside" the house.

Carter, who served as the 39th president of the United States, built the house himself back in 1961, according to a report in The Washington Post. Carter, 93, is one of the only modern-era presidents to return to the house that he used to live in before he entered the world of politics.

Carter is also the only living president who saves taxpayers money. According to the General Services Administration, Carter costs US taxpayers $456,000 including pensions, an office, staff and other expenses. This is less than half of the $952,000 budgeted for George HW Bush and the $1 million for Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama, reports the Post.

It doesn't stop there. Carter's frugal tendencies also include spending weekends dining with neighbors on paper plates with bargain-brand wine. He and wife Rosalynn, 91, also make their own yogurt.

According to a 2011 Rolling Stone story, Carter has also been known to buy his clothes at his local Dollar General store. He often flies commercial, recently shaking hands with passengers on a Delta flight from Atlanta, Georgia to D.C. in June.

Unlike his successors, the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner chose not to join any corporate brands or get paid as a public speaker as "he didn’t want to capitalize financially on being in the White House," he told Washington Post.

But fancy living is not Carter's style. Getting candid about his life in Georgia with Rosalynn, Carter says, "It just never had been my ambition to be rich."

While the others choose to fly using private jets, the Carters opt to fly commercial. "I don’t see anything wrong with it; I don’t blame other people for doing it. It just never had been my ambition to be rich," Carter revealed.

Carter is currently cancer-free three years after he was diagnosed with a melanoma on his liver and brain and shared that he much prefers the simpler life. 

The Carters' choice of a frugal life could very well be because of his failed peanut business which was in a $1 million debt. "We thought we were going to lose everything," Rosalynn shared referring to the company that her husband was forced to sell. Currently, they are living off the income of his many books and also the $210,700 pension that all former presidents receive."

Gerald Rafshoon who was the 39th president’s former White House communications director said, "He doesn’t like big shots, and he doesn’t think he’s a big shot".

Speaking of big shots, when it comes to current President Donald Trump, Carter shared, "I think he’s a disaster. In human rights and taking care of people and treating people equal." 

And wife Rosalynn jumped in to add: “The worst is that he is not telling the truth, and that just hurts everything.”

"I am a great admirer of Harry Truman. He’s my favorite president, and I really try to emulate him. He set an example I thought was admirable," Carter added. He shares that his father was the one who taught that being truthful matters.

He shared that the same principles were reinforced at the US Naval Academy where students are expelled for telling even the smallest of lies. "I think there’s been an attitude of ignorance toward the truth by President Trump," Carter added. 

He also admitted that he thinks that the Supreme Court’s 'Citizens United' decision has "changed our political system from a democracy to an oligarchy. Money is now preeminent. I mean, it’s just gone to hell now". He also believes that the nation's "ethical and moral values" are still unharmed and are intact and that Americans "will eventually return to what’s right and what’s wrong, and what’s decent and what’s indecent, and what’s truthful and what’s lies". However, he has his doubts and said, "I doubt if it happens in my lifetime".