If you grow up with little or no money, you were instilled with a different set of codes and rules than people who were more fortunate.
Some things that relatively comfortable folks took for granted seem totally foreign to them and there were certain things that they just had to deal with because of their situations.
People who grew up poor talked about the expectations and unwritten rules they had on AskReddit. Let’s take a look.
1. Hide it away.
“Hide money or it will be “borrowed.”
Also, don’t get attached to anything because if it’s any good it’ll be sold in a yard sale, and if it has any value it will be pawned.
I got the same CD player for three Christmases and birthdays in a row…out of pawn for birthday, pawned again a month later, out of pawn for Christmas, pawned again by March, etc.”
“I am the second of 8 kids of high school dropout parents.
“It doesn’t matter of you don’t like the (food, clothes, shoes, toys etc) take it, say thank you and be appreciative.”
“You can do anything you want, as long as it’s free.”
“You will survive. If someone needs it more, let it go.”
“Never tell anyone you are hungry or need something, it makes you seem weak and needy.”
“The second you become working age, 10+. You will help with bills. You have no choice. Your money is everyone’s money.” Which is fine, until you realize the new tattoo mom has and dads new tv.”
3. On the down low.
“Keep your aspirations to yourself.
Telling anyone in your household/social strata about your plans to get out and do better may be met with bitterness and downright ridicule. People will call you uppity for wanting to go to school or stupid for having a career goal that isn’t modest and local and vaguely dead-end.
People will tell you that you have no common sense simply because you refuse to see the world in terms of pure survival.”
4. Be proud of yourself.
“Stand up straight and speak with confidence.
It was so easy for people to look down on the poor kids, so we made it just a bit harder for them.”
5. How sick are you?
“Going to the doctor isn’t an option until your fever is sustained at 104, a bone is broken, or the tooth rotted and won’t fall out on it’s own.
I am in my late 30’s with full insurance and still have a hangup about going for medical care.”
6. It’s all a secret.
“Never tell your friends that you couldn’t afford food or give them any clue about what it’s like at home.
My mother used to ask me if I told anyone how we live and that’s when I started questioning our situation.”
“Not eating lunch because it you either “just ate breakfast” or “dinners only a few hours away you’ll be fine”.”
8. Don’t waste anything.
Mum had a dish called mixed-up stew which was basically a little mince beef, mashed potatoes and any leftovers from the fridge.
Good menu planning – she never called it that but one meal led to the next with last’s night leftovers included. Failing that, she always had a soup on the go using bones from chicken, dried barley and, yet again, leftovers.
Thing is they were all delicious, but that could be me just remembering her fondly.”
9. That sucks.
“We weren’t allowed to do any kind of extra curricular activities.
So, no instruments, no joining any kind of sports or Girl Scouts or anything that required an upfront investment for uniforms or the season.”
“We were very poor growing up.
You never ate the last of anything without asking first. Portions were small and limited. When I was 11 I was invited over to a then friend’s house. I was floored by their house and furnishings. Very opulent compared to mine. Lunch time came. Her mom had set the table for sandwiches. Everything laid out, 3 different breads, all sorts of meats, condiments and fruit.
At my house lunch was a sandwich with white day old bread with peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes we would have those land o frost thin sliced meats. We were only allowed 2 slices of the meat per sandwich. So, at this friends house, I make my sandwich with one slice of ham because it was way thicker then the stuff at home. The mom kinda freaks out…”what kind of sandwich is that? You need to put more on it, thats not enough.”
I explain that’s what we do at home. They were horrified. Ended up sending me home with a “care package” of food. My parents never let me go to her house again because they were embarrassed I told them we were poor.”
11. A tough one.
“You never brought the field trip permission slips home because you knew better than to make your mom feel guilty.
She couldn’t pay the $5-20 fee to let you go.”
12. Sounds miserable.
“A/C was only for company.
I lived in South Florida and didn’t know I could use the air conditioner without having someone over until I moved out of my parents’ home.”
13. Advice from Dad.
“My father was constantly driving these two things into my head since I was old enough to remember: 1). Hard Work will set you free 2). You WILL NOT get anyone pregnant.
He never meant that hard work would make you rich. He meant that if you’re willing to work hard, you can always work some sh*t job that puts food on the table, and you’ll be so exhausted by days end, you can rest. In my father’s eyes food on the table and a good night’s rest was all a person really needed.
The pregnancy thing was totally about shame. He grew up in the deep south with a Baptist preacher father. My father was around 6-7 in the early 1950’s when his oldest brother (15) got a girl (18) in the church preggo. The resulting shame and shunning from the community that ensued drove my father’s mother to suicide.
I’m sure to some degree he blames his current life on the pregnancy that he had nothing to do with.”
Did you grow up poor?
If so, what were the unspoken rules that you understood and that were expected of you?
Please share your stories with us in the comments. Thanks!