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How to look like you have money – even when you’re battling povertyBy Ahmad-Tijani Agbaje on January 31, 2024


This article is meant to be a fun, cheeky list of hacks to help you live your best life – or at least look like you are.

Yes, it’s vain, it might be pretentious, and there may be “better” things to focus on (debatable), but let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to look like they have more money than they do?

Pain is temporary, but drip is forever.

We rest our case.

Now, moving on from that, let’s get into how to deceive all your enemies (or just Instagram followers) into thinking you have money.

Hire a driver – kinda

We don’t need to tell you how unfashionable walking everywhere is – think worn-out, dusty shoes and trousers – and if you’re interested in looking sharper than your mother’s tongue at all times, then we need to do something about that.

Hire a cabbie to chauffeur you around. It could be on Rida or InDrive, or it could even be a public cab.

The logic is that by hiring their service for a stated amount of time and a fixed price – say, a whole afternoon as you go around town running errands – you would probably spend less than you would have on the numerous cabs/bikes/kekes you’d have used to get around.

You get to save money, time, and most importantly, you look good because you’re not stressed from lugging stuff around from your market run.

The key is offering the driver a price that’s both attractive to him, and less than what you’d have spent going around with different vehicles.

Go to fancy restaurants – but don’t eat

It’s all about the optics, really.

A great way to look like a baller is to hang out – and take pictures – where the real ballers hang out.

Don’t say we didn’t tell you.

It could be restaurants, clubs or bars, as long as it’s high standard or fine dining, most people will automatically assume you’re of a wealthier status.

Now, since we know you’re actually poor, and you can’t order the seafood platter of ₦75k (let’s talk reality things, please) without having to wash plates as payment, here’s what you’re going to do.

Order the cheapest thing on the menu.

Seriously, it could be a mocktail, a glass of water or soda, or even just a side dish of chips – as long as you can afford it. When you’re sipping your drink that’s less than a quarter of the price you’d have paid for a full meal, who will come and ask you how much it is?

Added tip; go with a good friend. Two friends dressed up and laughing in a fancy restaurant will always look better than a loner at a table pressing phone.

The rich have cliques, so, show them you’re in one too.

Also, you need someone to take pictures of you, don’t you?

Do unpopular things – mostly art

One of the reasons the big boys and girls seem so big is because they have access to/can afford things that most people don’t/can’t.

The exclusivity that comes with wealth is one of the most attractive parts of having money.

It’s also not news that the uber-wealthy love art; they have enough to spend on things that would normally be frivolities to others.

You see where we’re going with this?

If you’re really about that balling-on-a-budget life, making, participating in, and owning art can make you seem more well-to-do than the Nigerian economy will let you be.

It all comes back to exclusivity; the illusion of being privileged enough to have certain experiences.

So, here are some things that are kind of uncommon but inexpensive enough for the average Tobi to dip into.

Candle Making

It’s easy and fun – most classes offer cocktails and other refreshments for you and your friends – and you get to take your creations home. If you’re interested in classes, check out the ones at Olores Candle Club, LeLe Labs, or Paint and Sip by Fr.

Sadly, recreational candle-making classes and events are just gaining prominence in Nigeria, so you could try making your own candles as a fun and bougie group activity too. All you really need are wax, a wick, and a container. Make it a cute private event; invite your friends over, buy some cheap wine (or liquor, if you’re feeling dangerous) and pretend you’re of the elite dabbling in the creative arts.

Paint and sip

What sounds more posh than sipping a glass of wine as you paint? It could be the cheapest wine in Shoprite and the paint could be the lowest grade you found at Artworld, but at the end of the day, does it matter?


While the concept of paint and sip as a recreational activity has become a bit more mainstream over the years, it’s still a way to seem bougie and have a bit of fun in a way that is respectful to your wallet

Places like ArtFusion, Paint and Sip Ibadan, and Paint and Sip with Gabzville are great if you want to sip wine and make some art without paying an arm and a leg.

(You’re welcome)

Go to art galleries

Art galleries and museums are easy, aesthetic and usually pretty affordable places to go for a good time. Apart from learning about history and supporting local artists, there are also a million photo opportunities.

So, invite a friend (preferably one that knows how to take pictures, please), dress up and go and appreciate art.

Instagram go hear am!

Invest in personal hygiene

Most people think looking rich is about owning the latest phones and cars and wearing high-end clothes – it’s not just about that, dear.

While these are signs of wealth, they aren’t all there is to it. The first markers of affluence are how well you take care of yourself, and the confidence you exude.

According to Vanessa Van Edwards – a human behaviour investigator -, it takes on average seven seconds for people to form first impressions of others.

That’s seven seconds to look you up and down and decide what they think of you.

Don’t you want to use those seconds wisely?

Keeping your appearance neat is a marker that you have the time and luxury of self-care.

Tulipbodycare, Teeka4, and Hdskin are skincare/body care stores we love, you should check them out.

Do your hair, get a manicure and pedicure, use deodorant (please), remember to moisturise, and invest in a nice scent or two… show that you care about yourself, and people will care about you too.

Dress up – never be caught unfresh

The saying goes, “Stay ready so you don’t need to get ready”

Truer words have never been spoken.

Looking well-groomed at all times is another marker of “wealth”. It shows that you have the luxury of time to care about your appearance, and it doesn’t require loads of cash.

We aren’t saying you should put on a suit to go and buy bread down the street, but you definitely shouldn’t wear that faded T-shirt with holes in it either. Your aim should be to look like you’re always put together, no matter what you’re doing.

This means adding elements of style to everyday outfits, whether that be accessories, silhouettes, textures or colours. Just make sure your outfits range from extremely fly, to moderately stylish – but nothing less than.

Even if you don’t know what to wear or don’t have the trendiest clothes, thrifting, affordable online stores (like MAKA) and apps like Pinterest will probably give you some premium-looking – and budget-friendly – ideas.

Take care of the clothes you have

It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s too important to be omitted.

Even if you can’t afford to buy new clothes often, you should at least try to take care of and get maximum use out of the clothes that you already own.

Dry cleaning (if you can afford it), washing, and ironing your clothes will go a long way in making you look like you didn’t eat just bread and water this morning.

People with money are generally well-dressed, and those clothes are well-maintained.

So, whatever your account balance is, a crisp white shirt will make you look ten times better than a wrinkly one with yellow pit stains.

You too, check am.

You sef check am now

Quality over quantity – invest in good basics

Stop buying clothes just because they’re cheap and trendy.


While this might be nice once in a while, they almost certainly never last – they fade or rip or go out of style.

Rich people usually invest in timeless classics. A crisp white button-up with sturdy jeans and leather slippers or some sneakers will always look good, no matter the current trends.

The hack is having good basics – that is, a good pair of jeans, some high-quality neutral-coloured T-shirts, a durable pair of sneakers… These are called basics because they are the building blocks of your wardrobe, and if you don’t have the money to buy designer pieces yet, you should be investing in your basics.

They might not be as flashy or eye-catching as the latest Prada imitation, but good basics will take you farther along the fashion pipeline than cheap trends will, as long as you know how to style them.

Plus, they make not wearing very trendy or designer pieces look like more of a choice and less of a limitation.

After all, being rich is about having choices – and this article is about making you look like you have those choices too.

If you want to know more about this concept, google “Capsule Wardrobe” and thank us later.


So you see, not looking like your struggles can be inexpensive – if you know how to do it. And with all the pearls of wisdom we’ve shared here, you better bookmark this article.

Now that you have, let’s get to our “Fake it Till You Make it” Index, where we’ve put together businesses, places, people and services that you can use to deceive the masses.

This is between you and us o.

The Fake it Till You Make it Index




RSVP - Lagos
Gusto Restaurant - Kano
Concave Lankafushi – Port Harcourt
Canes and Lemon – Abuja
Tin City Cafe – Jos
The Outback Grill – Uyo
Ocean basket - Lagos
Rift Valley Grill House – Kaduna


Olores Candle Club – Lagos
LeLe Labs -  Abuja
Paint and Sip by Fr – Abuja
ArtFusion – Lagos
Paint and Sip Ibadan
Paint and Sip with Gabzville – Port Harcourt

Art galleries

Nike art galleries – Abuja, Kogi, Osun, Lagos
Rele Gallery – Lagos
Topfat art gallery – Ibadan
Delaroke Art Gallery – Port Harcourt
Thought Pyramid Gallery – Abuja
Yenwa Gallery – Lagos
Gidan Makama Museum Kano
Self-care and personal hygiene

Mink Doll Artistry (lashes)
Elan salon and beauty care
Estevan parfums
Perfumes by Scent Vault


Easy Thrift 
Thrift Shop
Thrift the drip
The Black Sheep Company


Whether you’re a veteran smoke and mirrors artist, or you just want to get into the trade, we want to hear what you thought of this article (and if you have any tips too…).

We love reading comments, so don’t be shy to drop one for us.

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