Growing up poor is inevitable for many Americans – sadly, that’s the hand many people are dealt. While having less than others is nothing to be ashamed of, there are telltale signs that someone grew up poor in today’s society. Recently, people met in an online discussion to reveal all the dead giveaways that say, “That person must’ve grown up poor.”
1. Constant Buyer’s Remorse
Second-guessing every purchase – whether a small item or a big-ticket product – is a surefire sign that someone grew up poor. There are feelings of guilt at play here to go along with feeling unworthy, which causes these instances of buyer’s remorse.
2. Uneasiness About Being Offered Free Things
There may be an explanation if you have a friend who gets anxious when you offer them something for free. “My theory is that receiving the free good/service feels great, but the recipient gets anxious about how you repay the favor/good/service if you’re poor,” explains one man. “There’s a compulsion or expectation there that’s difficult to resolve.”
3. Not Eating Three Meals a Day
Many people who grew up poor never had the privilege of eating three full meals a day. This fact makes for some awkward office banter at times. “I don’t always eat lunch during the day, and I once told my boss that going through the day hungry is something that you kind of get used to. He stopped me immediately and said, ‘You grew up poor, didn’t you?'”
4. Everything Seems Too Expensive
When you’re broke, everything seems too expensive because, from your perspective, they are! Many people who grew up poor express this sentiment: No matter how successful they become, most potential purchases feel out of reach.
5. Holding Onto Things
It’s common practice to hold on to things – and even hoard items – if someone feels they could become valuable. People who grew up poor confess to doing this constantly, leading them to wash single-use plastic bags and keep items around the house that most people would’ve thrown out long ago.
6. Putting Luxury Brands on a Pedestal
Curiously, some people who grew up poor admit to being envious of others with luxury goods like jewelry, handbags, and cars. Consequently, many of these people put these items on a pedestal and define their self-worth on whether they’ve “earned” them later in life.
7. Taking Paper Napkins Home From Restaurants
There’s nothing wrong with taking a few extra napkins home from your local fast food joint (or salt and pepper packets or straws) – many people think this practice is one of the savviest life hacks ever! However, many people do this out of necessity or habit, which could indicate a lower-class upbringing.
8. Few Extracurricular Skills
If you grew up poor, your family probably didn’t have the money for activities that the middle and upper classes enjoyed. “They have few skills that come from extracurriculars, such as knowing how to play the piano,” comments one woman. “Poor people had very few, if any, extracurriculars growing up.”
9. Feeling Guilty When They Have Money
Conventional wisdom suggests that when people finally come into money, they would be overjoyed at finally having wealth. But, often, the opposite seems true: Countless people confess they didn’t feel happy when they finally had money – they felt guilty. It’s one of the most common signs you grew up poor.
10. They Overeat
Growing up poor and growing up hungry go hand-in-hand for millions of Americans, and as a result, one of the common signs someone grew up poor is when someone is a member of the clean plate club! “Finishing every scrap of food on their plate regardless of their hunger level is a telltale sign of being poor at one point,” reports one woman.
11. Shaking Gallons of Milk
People who didn’t grow up close to the poverty line will never really understand the hardships that less fortunate people go through. “My father used to always shake the gallon of milk, and I never understood why,” confesses one man. “It wasn’t until years later that I realized that it’s because he grew up extremely poor and his family could only afford powdered milk, so it became a habit to shake the container to make sure that it was all mixed up.”