People Who Grew Up In Poor Households Describe 20 Struggles They Had To Face

Published 1 year ago

The lifestyle of a kid who grows up in a low-income family is quite different from those who are highly privileged. ‘Buying kids clothes that are big so that they last a few years’ or ‘the feeling of true hunger’ are some things that rich people might not understand but these situations are very relatable to the ones who grew up in poor households.

Recently, a Reddit user asked people, “What’s a sign that someone grew up poor?”, and their thread quickly went viral, receiving numerous eye-opening answers. Check out some of the best answers in the gallery below!

More info: Reddit

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Image source: OriginalDarkDagger, vladans

“I’m a foster kid. I was always poor and pretty much had nothing. These are habits I have.

I hoard food. They’re still edible if they’re past their expiration date as long as it’s not mouldy or something. My basement is stocked for a zombie apocalypse.

I never throw out old containers unless they’re mouldy or something, clean that s**t out, good as new.

I also always have leftovers. I never waste food and eat everything on my plate.

I feel guilty when I buy something I don’t necessarily need.

I add water to “empty” soap containers so they’re full.

I cut “empty” toothpaste tubes so I get every last drop.

I reuse a lot of stuff. The “disposable” stuff don’t need to be disposed most of the time. You can reuse them.”


Image source: HovercraftThin5217, RossHelen

“Will eat all of the food on their plate, even after feeling full because they can’t waste food.”


Image source: LaymanF, MS

“I’m really surprised I haven’t seen “condiment drawer” here. When eating out, you save all of the unused condiments in a drawer. It took me until I was about 40 to finally recognize and stop hoarding ketchup and sauce packets.”


Image source: bretty666, Natallia Photo

“Having a vast skill set! trust me, when you cant afford a repair man/hairdresser/seamstress/builder/roofer/welder/mechanic etc, you learn yourself.”


Image source: ReemoDingus, Eren Li

“In USMC recruit training we had a dude in our platoon who was homeless for an extended period of time before enlisting.

Every morning at zero dark thirty the DIs would come in turn the light on, screaming, total chaos to wake us all up…. Every single morning for the first thirty days or so of basic this dude slept right through it ?. Kid said he was so comfortable in his little rack and hadn’t slept so good in a long long time. He was always exclaiming how good the food was at the chow hall. It put a lot of things in perspective for me.”


Image source: OldSamVimes, benzoix

“Difficulty throwing things away.”


Image source: AWaffleHouse, Jennifer Morrow

“Having duplicates of essentials. You develop a prepper mentality for every “just in case” situation.”


Image source: Difficult_Let_1953, rfaizal707

“Still being marveled by an ice maker and side by side doors.”


Image source: LittleRileyBao, seventyfourimagesp; 43 lokijuhyg’]

“Someone asked me if my kid was going to do dance or gymnastics. I was confused as to why. Their response was didn’t you do it as a kid. No I that cost money. I was lucky to play with a knockoff Barbie.”


Image source: Difficult_Let_1953, Kampus Production

“The mental struggle to buy anything and not feel guilty.”


Image source: Totally-trapped, RODNAE Productions

“Never buying clothing at full price. It just feels illegal.”


Image source: InsomWriter, Studio Sarah Lou

“Sentimentality. Not that wealthier people can’t be sentimental.

But my dad, whose parents grew up in the rural South during the great depression, wants to keep every little thing of my mom’s. Everything.

He would prefer to keep her bedroom as is.

I always wondered why he wanted to keep it like that. But then I realized, the only thing we have left is my mom’s ashes in an urn.

There was no funeral, no memorial, (she didn’t want any and there was no one to come anyways) no tombstone. Nothing that feels tangible, personal, etc.

We don’t have the luxury of beautiful personal mausoleums, or headstones, or anything else in the Western death culture.

My mom’s bedroom, and all her stuff is the closest we will ever have to a memorial for my mom. It’s a tomb, without a body in it.”


Image source: Another_Basic_NPC, Olena_Mykhaylova

“I was told recently I was crazy for using bread instead of hot dog buns. That’s just something I always did as it’s what we had. Burgers, hotdogs all bread fellas.”


Image source: Traditional_Yak_7231, Mike Mozart

“Only shopping in the clearance sections even after I grew up and started making good money.”


Image source: ciarrabobeara, compuinfoto

“For me, I have what I call “poverty mentality”, while I can afford new shoes and clothes, they have to be falling apart for me to replace.”


Image source: Mr_Lumbergh, cottonbro studio

“Odd hoarding behaviours of things you probably should have gotten rid of out of fear you won’t be able to replace them easily. I keep a stack of boxes broken down because there’s still this fear in the back of my mind that I’ll have to move again at a moment’s notice. I make a decent salary now and have lived where I am for nearly 7 years, but I still can’t part with those boxes despite the space they take up. Under the bed, behind the chest of drawers… Yeah. I still have ‘em.”


Image source: obaterista93, Prostock-studio

“A personal anecdote:

For backstory, I’m the primary financial provider for my wife and I, but I really don’t care what she does with our money. If our bills are paid and we have food to eat, I’m fine.

I grew up fairly poor, so I never really bought anything for myself, or asked for anything to be bought for me. A few months ago a video game I had wanted to play was on sale for like…. $2.50, and I said to my wife “hey, can I buy this?”

Not really because I wanted “permission” but because I hadn’t logged in to check our financial state and didn’t know if the money was already set aside for bills. But she looked at me and said “did you just ask permission to buy a $2.50 game with your own money?….”

So I’d say the hesitance to buy anything for yourself, regardless of how stupidly cheap it was.”


Image source: positive_express, mstandret

“When I was in elementary school a girl asked me why all my shirts were just solid color and not brand name logo shirts. Made me feel insecure. So im going to go with an obvious answer here, clothing and style. I still wear my clothes until they have holes and stains. I have the money to buy new brand name clothes, but why. I’m not trying to impress anyone.”


Image source: NoMaineKoonsAllowed, Pressmaster

“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!”

My husband will inquire about the quality of the food and if it is to everyone’s liking.

I think when you grow up poor, food is very much quantity over quality.”


Image source: jtuley77, Budgeron Bach

“I went without food sometimes when I was growing up. It took a long time before I stopped hoarding food once I could afford it. My husband always commented on how long it would take me to go through the chocolate he would bring back from his international trips. I was always afraid it would be the last time we could get it and would make it last as long as humanly possible. I am quick to shut down spending and I am much better at saving money than my husband. I also keep our heat set at 63 for the day and I am usually the last in the neighborhood to turn on our air conditioning. I still shop sales and I don’t understand things like renovating a perfectly fine kitchen just because you don’t like the color of the countertop or cabinets.”

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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growing up poor, poor people, poverty, signs indicating someone grew up poor, signs of poverty
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