12 Stories From People Who Can’t Forget What it Means to be Poor, Even Being Already Adults
Remembering childhood moments when your parents couldn’t afford extra things due to a lack of money can be tough. It’s like looking back at a time when getting special treats or toys wasn’t easy. Those memories might bring a mix of feelings, including a sense of longing or even a bit of sadness.
- We were very poor, and I was always hungry. In middle school my friend invited me to their house. They had a huge taco spread for dinner. I took advantage of having food available to me, so I pigged out. They noticed and teased me for it, which was totally innocent, but I was mortified. I stopped eating and refused dessert, I was so embarrassed. © indecisive_disorder / Reddit
- When I was maybe 9, my mom bought me a bunch of second-hand clothes and said she had a coupon for fabric, so she was going to make me some shorts to go with. They were super-duper ugly, and I whined, saying, “Jessie says that she gets $50 at the beginning of the school year to buy her clothes, and she can buy whatever she wants. Why can’t I do that?” My mom burst into tears and said, “Because I don’t have $50 to give you.”
I have still never felt as guilty as I did when she said that, and I made sure that I never said another bad word about the clothes she made me. My mom was a rock star of a mother despite all her flaws. © chantilly_lace1990 / Reddit
- 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. Walmart shoes. © march_rogue / Reddit
- I will never forget dating a guy in high school whose father own a huge construction company. They lived in a gated community with all the elite in my small town. I lived in a trailer park out in the country. He used to get mad at me for not wanting him to come over for dinner or drop me off after a date. But I just couldn’t stand him seeing our washing machine on the front porch because it leaked. © nutshell612 / Reddit
- I remember my dad always getting really excited about very cheap, mundane foods like plain puffed rice cereal, bologna sandwiches, and unflavored steel-cut oats. He would get us all amped up about it, and we would want to eat it instead of the more expensive stuff we really wanted because of how much he talked it up. Now that I am older (and as a father myself), I don’t think he actually loved all these things that much. Instead, my parents just didn’t have the money to buy all that expensive food to feed three growing boys. They sure made the best of it, though. © Rebelsoul3480 / Reddit
- When I turned 15, my dad kicked me out of the house and said, “Don’t come back until you have a job.” Little Caesars was hiring that day, thankfully. Looking back, I realized he needed the money, and I wasn’t getting the message.
Throughout high school, I always gave him my paychecks while working two jobs. The money was supposed to be “for college,” but it was actually to help pay rent. I didn’t know that until I turned 40. © jawshoeaw / Reddit
- I grew up in a trailer. In fourth grade, a girl was having a birthday party and needed addresses for invitations. The next day, she told me her parents uninvited me because I lived in the trailer. That was a new thing I learned I was supposed to be embarrassed about. © ohnoooooooooooooooo / Reddit
- We grew up in a rural area with no city water, and our well was hand-dug and over 100 years old. At some point, I guess the water table shifted or something, so it was challenging. We didn’t have water to spare. I grew up taking “baths” with about 2–3 inches of water in the tub, max.
There was no shower. Sometimes, we’d get some kind of algae in the well, and have to dose it with chlorine bleach. Then, we couldn’t drink it or cook with it for a while, but would still bathe in it. After I left home, it was a real shock to have long showers. © DontCareTo / Reddit
- I was invited to a sporting event with my friend and her family when I was about 10. She told me the ticket was $7, so I rounded up all the change I could find. I barely had the $7 and no extra.
We stopped on the way to the game to eat, but of course, I didn’t have enough money to eat. I just told everyone that I wasn’t hungry. It was fine; I was just happy to be going along. I kept waiting to give her the money for the ticket, but she ended up never taking it from me, even though I offered a few times. © aswoff / Reddit
- My mom and I used to search for coins around our apartment, so I could go to the pool a few kilometers away with friends, on a gifted bike. My mom also used to cry during nights because we didn’t have any money. Then, my mom didn’t eat much for a few months because she wanted to buy me an Atari, so I could be a programmer. I’m now a successful programmer. © Unknown user / Reddit
- We used to visit people right at dinner time. Growing up, I always thought Mom had some ridiculous timing. Turns out, they couldn’t afford to feed my sister and me dinner, so we’d pop in on some close friends that had enough. © beegeemeegee / Reddit
- I remember my mom crying one day about how she had to get silverware out of the trash that she found for us to use. I didn’t know about this, but it was really upsetting to find out as a kid just how bad things were. I couldn’t buy all of the $1 items other kids got at school during book fairs or extra items for lunch. I’m really grateful for everything my mom has done for me now, though, and I try to do as much as I can to support her. © LtWolf926 / Reddit
These experiences also shape who people are today, teaching them about the value of things, resilience, and the importance of appreciating what you have. It’s a reminder that even in challenging times, love and togetherness can make the simplest moments special.