Billionaire IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad shocked many this week when he revealed he buys all of his clothing second hand.
Mr Kamprad, who runs the world’s most successful furniture and homewares business – worth an estimated $96 billion – could definitely afford to buy a couple of new t-shirts and then some.
But speaking in a new documentary, Mr Kamprad – who is worth an estimated US$42.5 billion – admitted to wearing almost exclusively articles of clothing from flea markets, something he said reflects his upbringing in the agricultural area of Sweden’s south-east.
“It’s in the nature of Småland to be thrifty,” he says in the as-yet unaired documentary previewed by news site Dagens Industri.
“I don’t think I’m wearing anything that wasn’t bought at a flea market. It means that I want to set a good example.”
The stingy Swede
It’s not just in his sartorial choices that Mr Kamprad is spreading a message of thriftiness; he once baulked at a $32 haircut bill in the Netherlands, explaining he prefers to get his hair cut in third world countries such as Vietnam.
The mogul drove a 1993 Volvo until he was convinced it was too dangerous, and was once turned away from a Business Man of the Year awards ceremony when he rocked up on the bus rather than in a limousine.
Some of Mr Kamprad’s spending habits are enviable, others are a little bizarre, like his rumoured habit of taking home packets of salt and pepper after enjoying a $4 plate of IKEA meatballs.
In 1973, Kamprad fled Sweden’s higher tax structure for Denmark, before seeking even lower taxes in Switzerland.
Perhaps Mr Kamprad’s spending habits shouldn’t be so shocking – after all, IKEA is a company built on savings and minimalism.
And that ethos has been horrifying successful – in 2011, it was estimated one in ten living Europeans were conceived on an IKEA bed.
The 90-year-old isn’t entirely unique, however. He’s just one of a number of the world’s richest men who choose to scrimp rather than splurge.
More frugal tycoons
You may be surprised at just how many people at the pointy end of Forbes’ Rich List stinge-out when it comes to lifestyle choices.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and the world’s sixth richest person, famously only wears grey marle t-shirts – whether he’s hanging out at home or holding a global press conference.
Not only was Zuckerberg very open about having a low-key wedding, the mogul was chastised online for not shelling out more on his engagement ring for wife Priscilla Chan – worth a rumoured US$25,000.
The online chatter got more heated when Zuckerberg and Chan were rumoured not to have left a tip after dining at a restaurant in Rome during their honeymoon.
The world’s third-wealthiest man, America’s Warren Buffett, is also famously frugal.
The inventor and entrepreneur has lived in the same Omaha, Nebraska home since 1958, when he purchased it for US$31,500.
Rather than the caviar and Dom Perignon, Buffett’s favourite food is Nebraskan steak, and his favourite drink is cherry-flavoured cola.
Walmart chief Jim Walton is worth a staggering US$48 billion, but still drives around in a 14-year-old Dodge Dakota, while former richest man in the world Carlos Slim made do with a plastic watch for the better part of the 1990s, drives himself around and is said to sleep in a cramped bedroom.