22 Things Only Those Who Grew Up Poor Truly Get

It can be tricky to understand someone’s upbringing without asking a ton of highly personal questions. A recent online survey asked, “What’s a sign that someone grew up poor?” Here are the 22 top answers.

Avoiding waste

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Sometimes my dinner is just a plate of leftover bits and bobs that you’d never think to put together simply because their use-by date is coming up. But my partner will throw whole slices of pizza in the bin because he’s ‘full,’ and it drives me up the wall.”

Or just force-feeding yourself any meal you buy because you have to feel like you didn’t waste it.”

Always having utility bills in mind

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Being hypersensitive to any light left on, door left open, opening the fridge too much, running water too long, etc., because you’re trained to minimize utilities.”

Avoiding replacing things

Waiting For Something To Be Unusable Before Replacing It
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Never replacing anything unless there’s absolutely no way to use the old thing anymore, and going to absurd lengths to keep something ‘still useable.’”

“This was my grandfather with his socks. He used rubber bands to hold them up when they lost elasticity.”

Never buying anything full price

Never Buying Full-price Clothing
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Never buying clothing at full price. It just feels illegal.”

“No one should do that – poor or not. Full-priced clothes are always a ripoff.”

Hoarding things

Hoarding
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I have to constantly work against my urge to hoard things. My husband didn’t grow up poor and struggles to understand why it’s hard for me.”

“My mom grew up through the depression and won’t get rid of anything. She still has food in her pantry and freezer that are over a decade old.”

Looking for the cheapest option

Cheap Menu Selections
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Scanning the menu for the cheapest options possible when at a restaurant. ‘It’s ok. The soup is really enough for me.’”

“I was invited to go to Disney World with my best friend in high school. I did that for the first part of the week in every restaurant we went to, usually ordering a cheeseburger while my friend and his parents were ordering big steaks and all sorts of seafood.”

Checking if people have had enough food

Posting Videos on the Internet of You Helping Homeless People
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I grew up poor, and my husband grew up middle class. Whenever we have guests, I am constantly asking people if they got ENOUGH food. ‘Is anyone still hungry? I can make something else!’”

“Poor people care about the amount of food, middle care about nutrition, rich care about the experience.”

Immense financial anxiety

Financial Anxiety
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Literally. I still get anxious when I spend money on literally anything, including bills and food, which are essentials.”

“Small expenditures, like $5, that aren’t planned can trigger a meltdown.”

Always having a backup plan

Plan Dates Yourself
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I have a successful career, very little debt, emergency savings, and investments. I also have a very thorough plan for how to survive if I were to lose everything because it’s always in the back of my mind.”

“This is exactly me. I always feel like something is going to take away everything I’ve worked for. Trying not to prep for the future so much and just live in the moment is so difficult.”

Struggling to buy yourself anything

Struggle With Change
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I don’t have a problem buying things for or giving money to people. However, the moment I think of ‘gifting’ myself something, I just about have an existential crisis.”

“I rarely spend money for myself, travel, or doing anything that is a bit pricey.”

Being in awe of everyday things

Number 14 Will Shock You!
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Still being marveled by an ice maker and side-by-side doors.”

I’m in a place in my life now where my fridge has TWO ice makers, and I feel so fancy. Ice for days! No ice trays!”

Poor dental history or bad teeth 

Dental Care
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In the US, I’d say poor dental history or teeth… Dental work is a luxury.”

“As far as dental work, it was basically emergency only. I always thought that people who could afford braces were pretty well off. I paid for my own as an adult and made sure that all of my kids had them. My older sister hasn’t been so fortunate. She is missing a lot of teeth and has full bottom dentures.”

Dreaming of a nice home for your kids

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Realizing I wanted to have the house that all my kids’ friends came over to hang out at because that wasn’t really an option for big chunks of my childhood.”

“Wednesday, we moved into the house of our dreams. It’s literally 2.5x the size of the one we have been in. We’re not even unpacked. My daughter is having a play date today. I started crying when my boy started running in circles in the basement, as he’s got space to grow now.”

Lack of exposure to cultural events

America Lacks Cultural Diversity
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Missing out on experiences that others may take for granted, such as attending concerts, traveling, or participating in extracurricular activities.”

“I think my personal favorite is all my friends asking me, ‘What do you mean you’ve never been there? It’s only an hour away!’ Even traveling short distances is too much money.

Traveling out of state

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I went on two out-of-state trips my entire childhood.”

“Even now, I look at travel like some ‘too expensive’ thing. I’ve been making good money for a decade and have gone like three places.”

Expensive sports not being an option

Golf 
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Most notably skiing and golf. If you regularly engaged in these sports as a child, you were not poor.”

“In college, a rich friend once incredulously asked me, ‘What do you mean you’ve never been skiing?’ like she couldn’t comprehend such a thing. Skiing is expensive, y’all.”

Never going to summer camps

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Never going to summer camps when 99% of the other kids you know do. Lots of very lonely summers.”

“The YMCA camp where I worked had a scholarship program so that poorer kids could do it.”

Missing out on certain Christmas traditions

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Christmas stockings? Nope.”

I bought myself an advent calendar this year, and it feels like I’m living such a luxurious life.”

Eating all the food on your plate

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They will eat all of the food on their plate, even after feeling full.”

“This. And it’s not something that can be easily turned off.”

Not having paid tv channels growing up

Cable-TV Bills
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“When I lived at home, we had 5-6 channels over the air.”

On summer weekdays or if I were home sick, I’d watch a bunch of daytime soaps.”

Curled toes from too-small shoes

Poverty Toes
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I have ‘poverty toes.’ We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so shoes were worn until they died, regardless of fit. My toes are curled and with prominent knuckles from being scrunched into too-small shoes.”

“I’m so self-conscious of my feet. I’ve always suspected that it was wearing shoes too small.”

Walking around barefoot as a child

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My brother and I walked around all summer with no shoes because shoes were only for school and church, so they didn’t wear out as fast, though we did get one pair each year when school started.”

“Most of the kids where I lived were barefoot nearly all of the time, so I’m lucky in this regard.”

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Source: Reddit

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