Growing up poor is really, really hard. Once you grow over, however, your past makes you become much more appreciative of what you have. But people who haven't gone through it, simply do not get it.
u/WhomstdV1 asked: What are some things you'd only know by growing up poor?
That would be a bestseller.Giphy
If you send a bad check to the utilities company on a Friday you have power for the weekend.
Back in the '90s I would deliberately put my bank account into overdraft so I could have a few hundred bucks to meet some needs. It was a strategy.
We should write a book on how to be poor.
Pre-cut Christmas trees are free on Christmas Eve. I remember the Christmas tree hunt on Christmas Eve was like our little family tradition. We would drive around in the evening looking for stores that still had trees sitting out front. Nine times out of 10, when we would ask about the tree we were interested in, they would say "just take it," glad to get rid of them by that point.
Every year we had a perfectly beautiful tree and it was exciting to find perfect trees for free and then stay up late decorating it with home-made glitter pine cones and candy canes.
Gas station attendants are the real MVPs.Giphy
Most gas station attendants will not stop a small child from stealing toilet paper from their bathrooms. Who knew?
I use to work at a gas station. I looked the other way for a lot of stuff. Everyone is struggling and I don't care if a kid steals a candy bar or gets a free ICEE. One man didn't have enough money for a lighter so I said "Wait till I turn around. Go walk to the door, light the cig, throw the lighter on the ground, and walk out."
A good tip.
IDK about in other states but in MN they can't shut your power off during the winter because of the danger of someone freezing to death in their house. So that was a good time to try to catch up on some other bills you are way behind on too.
They just passed the law in Arizona where it is the other way around starting next Summer due to it being 100+ all day and night regularly. Everybody is curious to see how it is going to play out.
A real-life Miss Honey.
Libraries can save your life.
The first part of my childhood I would get home from school, usually to a vacant house. I really wouldn't know if I was even going to see either of my parents each night. No cell phones of course. But I was always afraid... nervous at least, of what would happen if they did decide to make an appearance.
I started walking to the library everyday after school and staying till they closed every night just to avoid the feeling of anxiety for a little longer. Eventually one of the librarians noticed and took a liking to me. I think she might have been through similar things in her life that she saw in me.
Gradually we got to know each other. First I started noticing there were more books being added in the genres that I liked. Then one day after the library closed, I walked over to McDonald's. I was a quarter or so short to buy a hamburger and she saw me asking people if they had any change. I saw her and was embarrassed and kinda hid from her. From that point on I think she decided that she was going to take me under her wing.
For over a year she would come by my desk at the library and just drop off chips, granola bars, pop, whatever you know? Of course, I would tell her I didn't need it, when in reality I only knew where one meal would come from each day. When I would ask her where it came from, she would just say it was extras from the break room, even though I could hear her in there putting coin after coin into the vending machine.
Eventually she would just bring dinner every night to the library and we would sit down in the break room with each other and eat. I finally opened up to her about my family/living issues and had her to talk to. Even though I was still pretty guarded, this was a huge relief.
THEN, after I had been there almost 2 years, it was the week before school started, and I headed into the library. Before I left she told me to meet her outside after close. I did, we walked to her car, and she pulled out a brand new school backpack, and inside was a new outfit, binder, and shoes (my first Nikes). That's when I broke down, and my walls crumbled. She was a single lady working off a librarians income, but she still made room for me.
For 3 years she supported me as much as she could, and she was more of a friend than I had ever experienced up until that point in my life. She is the number 1 reason I got out of that house and life. She was with me at all my adoption hearings, and made sure I was put with a nice family. She was at my graduation, and my wedding. She saw me grow up and succeed in life after coming from the bottom. She saw her work and love pay off. I went to her funeral this summer and it felt like I had lost my mother, but I couldn't stop reflecting on how much she changed my life through her sacrifice.
Truly an amazing person, and I still donate to the library every year.
Didn't know that.Giphy
Stamp paper change.
When I was a kid, if you used food stamps they would give back the change in food stamp form. My Mom was too "proud" to publicly use them so she would make up a reason to leave and I would have to pay using them - I was 11 or so.
She did it every time...I had to learn to keep my head up.
Our parents make so many sacrifices.
That sometimes your parents sacrifice everything they have, including their sanity just to see you happy. And you only learn later in life the soul crushing existence of poverty. Then you wonder how they managed to do so much with so little.
For reals. I was 30 when I realized what mom meant when she told us kids to go ahead and eat because she "ate in the kitchen".
Hunger is no joke.
What hunger really is. I remember waiting for my dad's payday for the grocery shopping trip and being absolutely ravenous when the food got there.
I don't remember which day of the week it was but we'd go on the day that the most free samples were available.
Art projects drain the wallet.Giphy
Not to ask their parents for stuff.
It also made me dread class art projects, especially in non art classes. Yea it's "only" 20 bucks worth of crafts but that's money we need for real life.
A vintage TV.
When I started college, one of my professors asked if anyone in our class remembered how you changed a channel on the TV before remote controls. I was the only person in the room who remembered turning dials and adjusting rabbit ears despite being one of the youngest students in the class, because my family had a TV from the 70s until 1995.
Same sort of thing with computers, phones, etc. If we had it at all, we got something much later than anyone else (after it got cheaper) and bought used. I got my first computer in 1999. It had Windows 3.1 and that was what I used until I was able to use my financial aid to get a new PC tower for college.