Frugality Lessons from Ikea's Founder


Mr. Kamprad was an extremely frugal person. In spite of his billions, His motto was: “Having lots of money is no reason to waste it.”

  • He avoided traveling first class
  • He bought his clothes in flea markets ( I buy my clothes at Walmart and at second-hand stores)
  • He drove a Volvo until it fell apart ( I have driven cars until they went to the scrap yard)
  • He used to cut his hair in poor countries to spend less money (I cut my own hair to spend nothing)
  • His house had no luxuries (my apartment neither)
  • He worked until his eighties ( I am looking forward to not having to work)
  • Mr. Kamprad’s impact on Society
  • Mr. Kamprad did to the furniture business what Mr. Ford did to the automobile business. He made it accessible to millions of people.

His focus was on cutting cost but not at the expense of quality. He wanted to offer a good quality product at an affordable price.

Before IKEA, furniture used to be heavy and expensive. Young couples had to depend on hand me downs. Out of town students had to sleep on second-hand mattresses. All that changed with IKEA. Now modern, stylish furniture is within the reach of almost every one.

Mr. Kamprad came to this world and made it better. I don’t know of any person who doesn’t have a piece of IKEA furniture in their house. As an Airbnb host, I have been at the Montreal store many times and I have memorized the maze. I can now get in and out in record time. I know where to find what I am looking for and I have learned to put together IKEA furniture faster than anyone I know.

What can we learn from Mr.Kamprad

Most of the time, success in business doesn’t come from a fantastic idea. Success comes from execution. There is nothing new about selling furniture. But if you focus on being more efficient than your competitors you will have an opportunity to beat them.

As far as frugality. We all can learn a lot from Mr. Kamprad. We can learn not to waste our money on things that don’t add much value to our lives.

  • We don’t have to buy a new car every 4 years ( I am talking to you, mother).
  • We don’t have to buy the latest electronic gadget. (My friend Raja tells me to buy a new laptop. I say “why? the old one is still working fine.”)
  • We don’t have to pay $60 for a haircut.
  • We don’t have to buy new clothes every year.
  • We don’t need to buy a house (or rent an apartment) bigger than we need.
  • The secret to wealth is still the same: Spend less than you earn and invest the rest.

Mr. Kamprad was a master in personal finance:

  • He earned millions of dollars
  • He spent very little, and

He was a great investor, he invested in his company.

Thank you, Mr. Kamprad.

This article was republished with permission from Allain Guillot.