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19 Telltale Signs of a Humble Upbringing That Wasn’t Realized Until Adulthood

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Thankfully, kids rarely think or worry about how much money they have—that’s their parents’ job. Many parents do a great job of keeping money anxieties away from their kids despite the hardships they may have faced.

Children delight in simple joys, needing little to experience contentment. Even children who grew up quite poor are often oblivious because their parents helped them focus on what they did have (and they didn’t know any other way).

However, as our perspectives broaden and we meet more people from various backgrounds, we become aware of the privileges and luxuries that may have escaped our notice during childhood. At some point, you may have finally realized that your life looks quite different from others who have more money than you.

Thankfully, growing up “poor” doesn’t necessarily mean one had a bad childhood. It simply means they experienced the world differently. Someone asked online, “What’s something a poor kid would understand but would utterly confuse a rich kid?”

1. Not Being in a School with Trips And Vacations

A Group of Students and Teachers at a school trip observing Plant
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Some schools were the complete package, with trips and vacations; some kids couldn’t afford it. Others didn’t even know such things were available for school-going kids.

A user says, “Watching the rest of the class go on class trips or vacations while you stay home and/or work.”

Someone adds, “Going to a school that even offered this in the first place, lol. I had no idea this was even a thing until I was in my 20s.”

2. The Real Meaning Of New

couple shopping thrift secondhand
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Individuals who didn’t have much during their upbringing often received many “new” clothes and toys, even though they were handed down or from the local thrift shop. It wasn’t until many of them reached adulthood that they realized “new” meant unused, not just something they hadn’t possessed before, but rather something that someone else hadn’t used either.

3. Internet at The Library

A girl using a laptop in the library and sitting on the floor
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There was internet in the library, and that’s the only place some people could access it. They may not have known it, but wealthier people had the internet at home.

4. Checking Prices Isn’t “Normal”

A girl checking price tag of a shirt while standing at a shopping mall
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Some people are never bothered by the price tags; they just pick and drop things into the cart. That’s one way to know if you’re rich or not. (Although it’s always good to be aware of our spending habits, no matter how much or little we make.)

A user says, “My cousins are upper middle class, and I went shopping with them during one of the only times I spent the night at their house. Not only were these 12-year-old girls astounded that my mom only gave me $10 to spend while there, but they couldn’t at all understand why I was checking the prices on everything we saw. Their parents just bought them whatever they wanted most of the time.”

5. Food is Your Love Language

Friends eating at home
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You haven’t known real poverty until eating when hungry isn’t an option. Many adults who grew up struggling to get food (or at least the food they craved) are now very wary of hunger and will do anything to make sure other people don’t experience it.

A user states, “My entire identity revolves around food. I use my spare “fun” money on food now. I give gifts of food, I take friends out to eat; I give people their [favorite] snacks and candy bars as little surprises. We never had enough as a kid, we went hungry every da*n day. And now, I express myself through food.”

6. Helping Paying Bills

A Kid paying his bills on his own while his father is sitting beside him
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The concept of bills typically doesn’t enter most kids’ lives until well into adulthood, but some begin learning about bill payments before turning 18.

One user commented, “‘Getting a job before the age of 18 to help pay the rent’ was a clear sign that they weren’t from an affluent background.”

7. Caring About The Height Of Your Gas Tank Line

A car's fuel meter Indicating Low at fuel
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Some people have never had their car filled to a full tank or above the half-tank line. For the most part, the car would be sustained by prayers in the race to the fueling station from when the fuel light comes on.

A full gas tank was too expensive to cover regularly, so getting by on a few dollars of gas and fumes had to be sufficient until the next payday (the parents or teens).

8. Parents Helping With Bills After 18

An Old couple with their Daughter, Man Holding a Debit Card and Paying for his Daughter's Online Shopping
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For some people in the US, 18 is the age cap when parents stop sorting out their bills for them. Some are even required to move out and be independent. Imagine growing up and discovering that some people still get their bills paid by their parents, sometimes for as long as they want.

9. What Informs Your Choice Of Food

A woman buying Economical Food from a Bread Stall
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You buy food today because you love it (and need to eat), but for some people, food choice is based entirely on the price and its ability to fill your tummy.

One user says his poverty measure was “Buying food, not for taste or preference, but for the price point and how filling it is.”

10. Getting Clothes A Size Bigger

Beautiful young women shopping in a boutique for clothes.
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Poor families always got clothes they could grow into, not particularly fitting ones.

An online contributor says, “I remember when we would go shopping for school clothes, it was at Walmart or Kmart and it was always the sale items and 1 size up so we could grow into it.”

11. Where Do You Find Hamburgers?

A hamburger and Fries at a Wooden Plate at a Table and Plain Background
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Some people are so rich that they have hamburgers in their houses. Not everyone could afford this, as one user narrates. Meat is often a high priced commodity that no everyone can afford to have at home regularly, or at all.

They say, “When I was a kid, I thought hamburger buns were available only at places like McDonald’s.”

12. Laundromat Boredom

A woman staring at the dirty shirt while washing the cloths
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Spending hours at the laundromat on the occasional weekend when everyone’s clothes were ripe and ready for a good rinse is something rich kids will never understand.

Finding something to do at a laundromat before phones and the internet was quite the task, too. A deck of cards or a large dose of imagination was necessary to pass the time.

13. Constant Money Anxiety

old man counting money at desk
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Always being one step away from financial ruin is a feeling many families deal with on the regular, barely making it from paycheck to paycheck.

One user shares, “Every time you get a little bit ahead, an extra $100 dollars or so, and being able to relax and breathe a bit. Next day something goes catastrophically wrong with the car, or an appliance, or an unexpected late charge on something you forgot about. It never ends. One step forward, two steps back.”

14. “Sandwiches” for Dinner

Children Eating simple sandwiches during lunch at the school
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Parents have to be creative when their bank account is at zero. One writer recalls, “Sugar sandwiches for dinner. Butter, sugar and bread. We thought it was like dessert for dinner but my mom told us recently it was because we didn’t have any food.”

15. Powdered Milk

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Fresh milk in a jug can be too expensive on a strict budget; many poor families settle for instant carnation milk, which can last a long time in the pantry. If you grew up drinking this, your family probably struggled with finances on some level.

16. Candle Nights

A hand of woman Holding a Burning match stick and Lightning up the candle, Dark Background
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Not being able to pay the bills and getting utilities cut is a surefire sign of money struggles that kids may not realize until they’re older.

A user writes, “Being really young and getting excited about the “power cut”, lighting candles etc. when really it was because we couldn’t afford electricity.”

17. Buying Your Own Shoes

A boy Checking the new pair of shoes to buy, wearing a black jacket
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One man recalls a friend’s confusion when he explained that he couldn’t afford a new pair of shoes at the moment, even though his current ones were “ugly.” His friend wondered why his parents couldn’t just buy him a pair.

18. Missing Out on Adventures

A sad boy sitting IN front of a house, Boy sitting at the Entrance stairs
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Oblivious rich privilege can make kids with less money realize they’re missing out on a lot of fun and activities.

A user shares, ”How bad it feels when a non-poor kid (even up to adulthood) mentions doing something expensive casually or worse, makes a big deal about you never doing it.”

19. Watered Down Shampoo

A mother applying shampoo to the head of his baby, baby sitting in the bath Tub
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Need toiletries to last longer? Try watering them down like some families did to stretch their dollars. The same goes for other other household items like fruit juice (if there’s any in the house).


20 Things Poor People Waste Money on, According to Suze Orman

money guru Suze Orman
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If you’ve ever watched her show, you know Suze Orman pulls no punches. She’s all about calling out bad money choices, urging people to take control of their financial destinies and ditch those pesky spending habits that derail progress. While her advice can be blunt, she aims to empower folks to build wealth and protect their financial futures.

It’s important to note, Suze Orman gets flak sometimes for being too harsh. She’s not shaming people, but highlighting how certain expenses can sabotage big goals like homeownership or a comfortable retirement.

20 Things Poor People Waste Money on, According to Suze Orman

12 Traits of Unsuccessful People Who Never Do Anything with Their Lives

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Scared of lagging behind or staying in the same position? Well, let’s talk about it! In this article, we’ll find 12 common traits of unsuccessful people who never do anything with their lives so that you won’t be one of them. 

12 Traits of Unsuccessful People Who Never Do Anything with Their Lives

12 Culturally Acceptable Habits That Leave Americans Drowning in Debt

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The average American household carries over $103,000 in debt, including mortgages, credit cards, and car loans. While there are various factors that contribute to this staggering number, there are also certain culturally acceptable habits that have played a major role in leaving America drowning in debt.

12 Culturally Acceptable Habits That Leave Americans Drowning in Debt


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