I have a friend in the States named Michael who is a multi-millionaire. When attending formal events, he can definitely make an impression. He is typically one of the best dressed people in the room. He is often mistaken for a celebrity or a model. You’ll never guess that he, like me, grew up in poverty. You’ll also never guess that 90% of his outfits (as well as 90% of mine) were purchased second-hand, most commonly from thrift stores.
People always wonder why he doesn’t just pay full price and buy whatever he wants at a typical retail store. After all, he can definitely afford it. But Michael, like many other multi-millionaires, lives a fairly conservative lifestyle. You’ve probably heard that Warren Buffet still lives in the same house he bought in 1958 for $31,500.
Just because these individuals make 100x or 10,000x more than your average Joe, doesn’t mean that they spend 10,000x more. Most of their money gets invested back into their business or other profit-generating opportunities. These people are constantly looking for value in all things, getting the most and the very best from the least amount spent or invested. That’s how self-made millionaires started on their path to becoming rich in the first place.
New2U Thrift Shop
One of my favorite thrift stores in Singapore is New2U, located on 96 Waterloo Street, S(187967). Managed by the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, this thrift store is open on weekdays from 10:30am to 2:30pm and staffed entirely by volunteers.
Their everyday prices are quite reasonable. But if want an even better deal, New2U will have regular monthly sales. They give 50% off on everything priced $2 and above, except for books, toys and jewelry on the following days:
- Tuesdays (for students); and
- The last two working days of the month (for everyone).
You can get blouses from $1 to $5, jeans from $3 to $8. They mostly sell women’s clothing, but they also have men’s clothing, children’s clothing, shoes, handbags, scarves, cold-weather clothing, and various costumes, formal, and festive attire.
They do not sell furniture or household appliances (I go to the Salvation Army Family Thrift Store and Cash Converters for these).
In a previous article, I mentioned my top 8 reasons why you should buy second hand. If you’re buying from a non-profit thrift store (such as this one), one additional reason to add to the list is that the proceeds of your purchase will go toward a notable cause.
In the case of New2U thrift store, your contributions benefit the Star Shelter, a safe temporary refuge for women and their children who are victims of family violence.
You can definitely look like a millionaire without spending much (and by not spending much, it will lead you closer to becoming a millionaire). Personally, I love going to thrift stores. You never know what you’ll find; it’s like a treasure hunt. I’ve been lucky enough to find branded, high-value items that I eventually sold on Ebay or Craigslist.
My friend Michael was even luckier and found a vintage diamond ring valued at US$30,000 in the pocket of a blazer. In 2012, I read a story about a guy who bought a genuine Picasso for $14 at a thrift store, not knowing what it was until he brought it home. These finds are extremely rare, of course…. But who knows, after all, it was at a thrift store that I first met Michael.