17 Things You’ll Only Understand if You Grew Up Poor

Poverty is difficult and everybody knows it. However, not many people know the day-to-day struggles of growing up without money. In this article, we look at 17 things only people who grew up without much will get. 

The Thrill of Thrift Shopping

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When you shop at thrift stores, you’re on a treasure hunt. Finding something really cool or getting a great deal is exciting. Luckily, thrifting has become more popular with the increasing cost of living. In 2022, 88% of consumers said they would consider second-hand shopping, according to The Pacific Index.

Mastering the Art of Repair and Upcycling

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If something breaks, you learn to fix it instead of throwing it away. You might even take something old and make it into something new and cool. Being able to do this is really satisfying. It’s about being resourceful and respecting what you have, turning less into more.

The Importance of Education and Scholarships

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Education is the best way to escape poverty, making scholarships very important. They help people who don’t have much money go to school and learn. But it’s not easy. Poor students often have to figure out how to manage their time between studying and taking care of their financial needs. 

The Reality of Skipping Vacations

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According to Pacaso, the average vacation costs almost $2,000 per week, so many families who are poor don’t travel much. Instead, they learn to find fun and adventure close to home. They create special memories by exploring nearby places or enjoying simple activities together. This way, they learn to appreciate the happiness that can be found in their own backyard.

The Value of Hand-Me-Downs

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When you grow up not having much, you learn to be creative with what you wear. You might feel a special bond with a sweater that used to belong to your sibling. And one day, you’ll pass it on to someone else. This cycle makes these items more than clothes; they become small treasures filled with memories and love.

Making a Meal Out of Anything

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When you’re used to making do, a simple pantry turns into a treasure trove for crafting nourishing meals. Imagine opening your kitchen and finding only a few things to cook with. 

You learn to appreciate the taste of simple, home-cooked food. Eating together, no matter how simple the meal, brings joy and togetherness. It’s about making the most of what you have and enjoying it fully with family and friends.

The Luxury of a Full Fridge

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For some, a full fridge is normal. But when you grow up poor, seeing a fridge filled with food feels like hitting the jackpot. It’s a rare, treasured moment when you feel rich. You learn to store and use food wisely so it lasts longer. Parents teach their kids to value and be grateful for these moments of abundance, making them special and memorable.

Entertainment Without Technology

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Growing up poor often means learning to find entertainment in the simplest of things. Playing outside, making up games, or just using your imagination can be the best kind of fun if done right. These activities also teach you to enjoy simple pleasures and find joy outside the digital world. 

The Bond of Community Support

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When times are tough, neighbors become like family. In places where money is tight, people come together to help each other out. You might share what little you have, knowing others will do the same for you when you need it. These experiences build strong bonds and friendships that last a lifetime. 

The Art of Bartering and Trading

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Investopedia defines bartering as an act of trading goods or services between two or more parties without the use of money—or a monetary medium, such as a credit card. For some people without money, this is not a choice but the only way they can get what they want.

Understanding Financial Strain from a Young Age

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Growing up with less money means you learn about money problems really early. You see how hard it can be for your family to pay for things, which teaches you to think carefully about what you really need compared to what you just want. This kind of stress can make family life harder because everyone is worried about money.

The Stigma Attached to Poverty

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The social stigma of poverty can be a heavy burden, but it also teaches resilience and strength. When you don’t have a lot of money, people can treat you differently. They might think they know your story just because of your situation. But facing this kind of unfair treatment can make you stronger instead of bringing you down. 

Creativity in Gift-Giving

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When funds are low, creativity in gift-giving is the only choice, turning simple presents into heartfelt treasures. Instead of buying something, you might make something special by hand. It’s the thought and love you put into it that count. This shows you can still bring happiness to others without spending a lot of money, and that’s a beautiful thing.

The Experience of Utility Stress

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Worrying about whether you can pay for things like electricity and water is a big deal. If you’re always scared the power will be cut off, you learn how important it is to use less and save more. Finding ways to keep everything running becomes a crucial skill that teaches you to be careful with what you have and to plan wisely.

Cherishing Small Luxuries

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When you don’t have much, even small treats can feel really special. Maybe it’s a piece of chocolate, a new book, or a day off. When these things are rare, you learn to enjoy them a lot more. They make you appreciate the little things in life and find happiness in simplicity and the moments that make life sweet.

Lack of Financial Literacy 

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Poor people know how to save money, but they don’t have financial literacy. This only sinks them further into poverty, as IFAC reports that financial illiteracy costs poor people more than $1,000 per year. This is why it’s so difficult for such people to change their situations without help. 

The Drive to Succeed

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The challenges of growing up poor often instill a powerful drive to succeed and the determination to build a better life. Those with very little use past struggles as motivation to aim for a better life. The determination to build a better future manifests in their work and studies.

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