Getting to buy something from the scholastic book fair.


After growing up in a home where every unexpected problem was a financial emergency, my idea of wealthy became "I just want enough money that if something breaks I don't get anxiety about how to deal with it." ​ Edit: Thank you all.


I feel this. I actually have a nice small savings account now, but in my head it’s “don’t touch” money and so I still freak out when anything breaks. I have to remind myself that savings are for spending on necessities


My savings topped out about $14k a while back. Granted I'm still in a bunch of student debt, and it was only there temporarily as I shuffled stuff around, but I saw that and just thought "wow, if I didn't have $40k debt and no assets, this would almost be enough to feel like I could afford my medicine the next time insurance denied coverage". That's my goal now. Reach that bank account or value of assets where I can get that feeling of "I don't have to get Walmart insulin the next time they deny me".


I feel this one. Whenever something I own breaks down it leads to me having an absolute meltdown. Replacing stuff can be expensive as hell.


As a adult, the first time that I had my car break down and I didn't have anxiety over whether I could fix it or replace it because I'd had a stable income with savings for exactly this sort of situation felt amazing.


I just went through that this week. I blew up the transmission in my truck. As a kid that would’ve financially ruined my family, as an adult I just shrugged my shoulders and said “shit happens” as I ordered a new one. Really made me think how fortunate my wife and I are to be financially comfortable enough to handle large unexpected expenses.


Getting new clothes at Christmas from relatives. I don't know if that is exactly a luxury or the kind of answer you are looking for, but we never had a lot of money when I was in middle school. I went an entire year wearing the same pants everyday. The funny thing was my parents didn't even buy them for me. I got them for Christmas from my Grandparents. All the kids use to give me so much shit for wearing the same pants everyday. I always told them that I had 5 of the same pair which made me feel good inside and kind of made them ease off even though I know they didn't believe me. I remember I fell on the school bus one day and the jagged floor cut a hole right in the knee cap and the panic that went over me was just insane. It was one of the worst feelings of my whole life because I knew that I didn't have any other pants to wear and that now all of the kids in my school were going to know that I only had 1 pair. Needless to say I could not wait for the last month of school to end. ​ EDIT: Just want to say thank you for all of the awards. I honestly didn't think that this comment would really mean much to anyone, but I can see that I was defiantly not alone in my situation growing up. I appreciate everyone sharing their support and stories. This did have a great impact on my life and it shaped who I am in a lot of ways. Thank you all again for sharing your stories and support.


When my paternal grandmother found out my brother (same mom, different dad) only had two pairs of pants that fit him for school that year she sent my mother money specifically to buy only him clothes. And when I'd spend my summers with my dad my grandmother would buy me and my brother new wardrobes for the school year (and plenty of school supplies for both of us) even though she had zero obligation to my brother. She refused to allow him to have no decent clothes for the school year, and she especially didn't want him to think he somehow deserved less than me just because his paternal family wouldn't do the same for him. She's been gone 15 years and he and I still talk about this. Edit: I can't get over how much love is pouring in over what my grandmother considered nothing more than doing the right thing. I thought I'd tell yall another great story about my grandmother. So my grandmother HATED my second step father; its a long convoluted story but basically he was friends with my dad's brother growing up and while my parents were married he and my mom slept together. But he was really good to me so she tolerated him. Anyway, I was about 11 when my mom was pregnant with my youngest sibling. And I specifically remember my parents worrying about not being able to afford a new car seat. I came home from school one day and my mom was crying. Turned out to be happy tears because my grandmother, who hadn't been my mothers mother in law in over a decade and didn't have the nicest feelings towards her or my step-dad, had sent my mother a $500 check in a card with the stipulation that none of it was to be spent on my brother or I, only on the new baby. She was such a wonderful woman. I miss her all the time.


That story made me smile… and cry a bit. ty for sharing it ;-; it’s nice hearing about such a good pure thing. Your grandmother was a rare and wonderful person. You are very lucky :)


As jaded as I am, I want to believe that most grandmas are that way. Realistically my maternal grandma was and my paternal grandma wasn't, but the former more than made up for the latter.


I remember having 2 or 3 pairs of pants and having to strategically wear them so that people would think laundry day was Wednesday.


Summer camp, or basically any school trips that had to be paid for. At my school the kids who couldn't afford to go on trips that happened during school hours still had to come to the school, we just sat in a room and did *extra work* like it was detention.


I was lucky. If you taught at the day camp your kid could go for free. That was just day camp though not sleepaway camp. My mom found a camp teacher who had no kids of his own and he signed me up as his kid so I could get free day camp. Did that all through elementary school.


What a wonderful man that he signed you up.


My school district put in place a policy that any school trips (teams included) must take all members even if they cannot pay. So to pay for class trips we'd do fundraising activities. It was a lifesaver, because without that policy I probably wouldn't have gone.


I work in a low income district and we do this too. Sometimes we’ll have teachers, staff, or families “sponsor” students for big things. We also have a discretionary fund and an internal list of “exempt” students who don’t have an obligation to pay anything at all. Kids on that list don’t even have to ask, we just pay for them. This way the kids don’t even know who is on that list, it reduces stigma. A certain percentage of our students are without homes as well so we have showers, a washer/dryer for clothes, and take home essential bags with toiletries and other things. Any student at any time can use these services, no questions asked. I sponsor a few girls each year for prom. I pay to get their nails, hair, and makeup done. Edit to those looking to help: I am in Massachusetts. We get state funding and we get paid whole bundles of money (no, really! Swear to god, this is the highest paying job I’ve ever had!). If you’re looking to make a difference in someone’s life, find a low income school in your area. Education department funding is all information that’s open to the public. Almost every school has a fundraising page. If they don’t, email the *Vice* Principal and say you’d like to donate and ask what their process is. If you email the principal, chances are you won’t hear back, unless you’re looking to donate a butt ton of money. You are all very kind and generous human beings and I love and appreciate the hell out of all of you guys. If you’re feeling a warm/fuzzy vibe right now, pass it on in your own way! Whether that’s telling an 8 year old that you like his sneakers or just not yelling at the teens playing their music a little too loud this summer. Do you, pass on the vibes, every good act is *good*.


That's a good policy. One of the worst things about being the poor kid is that it's not like you can pay your own way even if you want to, it's literally illegal for you to have a job... yet people still shame you like you did something wrong.


Or you didn’t tell your parents about the trip so they wouldn’t feel guilty for telling you no.


This hurts my childhood soul, but it’s so painfully accurate. The older I got, the more I knew and the less I asked until I stopped all together.


Ugh I was telling my husband that when we have kids I want their teachers to know that I will happily pay for a kid who can’t go on a field trip.


My husband and I both grew up poor. My son's school always had an option on payment form to pay for a child who couldn't afford the fees. My husband and I made sure to always pay extra and to do things like buy special end of year shirts etc. I wish that was a thing when we were kids.


Same. I always sat in a classroom alone, coloring something they’d hand to me before walking out. I felt like I was being punished. When I went on 2 trips due to my grades I wasn’t actually allowed to participate in activities since I didn’t pay for it. I would follow everyone there but they’d make me sit outside watching everyone until it was time to leave lol.


What the actual fuck…


It was (is?) pretty common. I went on one field trip in elementary school, and because I won it, the teacher paid for it. Otherwise, I would not have went. But, back in my day, those that didn't go, had to stay in the principals office all day.


The taking the kid along but not including them in any activities. Making them watch everyone else enjoy themselves. That is another level of fucked up!


That is FUCKED up. I'm sorry that happened to you.




I was going to write something similar. We had to crumple up the newspaper to make it softer, because we could rarely afford toilet paper. This was back in the 90s after the collapse if the Soviet Union.


Oh man, that was so normal back in the day that I didn’t even think of it as strange until I read this comment


When my grandma would come pick me up and spoil me. My parents didn't have much money and were addicts so when my grandma would come get me I would come back with new clothes, video games, toys, etc. I used to think my grandma was rich but she actually just had a stable income.


Thank God for grandma…


Lol, here it was actually the other way around; I always used to think that my grandma was poor because she was always very frugal and would always point out how expensive everything had become! Little did I know that grandma was actually a millionaire.


I was in this position when I was younger. I always thought my grandma had SO much money… but all she did was go to work everyday. Always made sure I had clothes and all my school supplies. I miss her pretty bad.


Going out for pizza was a big deal. Those free mini pizzas for reading books were huge.


Three cheers for the BOOK IT program!


Yes! Did it for the free pizza. Kept doing it because I grew to actually enjoy reading.


The system works!




Oh my god. Reading this just made me realize that my mom wasn’t just handy… there was no way that we we could have afforded a professional for any repairs. My mom (single parent) did everything herself. I always thought it was because she was just good at everything (she was!), but I JUST NOW REALIZED that she was just resourceful as fuck and figured out how to fix everything herself because she HAD TO. I always try to see if I can repair something myself before calling a professional, even though I can somewhat afford it now. I’ve saved lots of money this way, and credited it to my mom being so “naturally handy”. Wow. You really unlocked an epiphany! Edit: your comments and the stories in this discussion are amazing. My heart has grown two sizes too big. I’m going to call my mom today and share the love. She really is special. That story is a tiny freckle compared to the many, many stories of my mom being amazing, resourceful as hell, and fiercely loving. It sounds like a lot of us are really lucky to have had a grown-up (parent, caregiver, teacher, neighbour) that did the best with what they had. Also, the gratitude displayed in this discussion is so heartwarming. It’s one of the most important practices in life, and something that not everyone learns to have. Gratitude is priceless, so cheers to all of us poor kids who grew up and genuinely learned to appreciate the little things. <3


I am from a small island in the Pacific. While I mostly still take cold showers, I have always felt that a hot shower is the finest luxury one can experience. I had my first hot shower when I was 22 years old and I can never forget it.


This is the kind of luxury I think people take for granted, I always avoided showers in the winter as a kid since most of the time they where cold showers and the temperature here was around 12c° during those times.


For sure. I've never been without heated water, but I kind of annoy my wife in the winter when we shower because every time we go in I make a comment about how amazing it is to be able to just turn a knob and have hot water coming out of pipes. I mean having clean, running water at all is a miracle in and of itself, but taking a hot shower whenever I want is something not even the richest people of yester year could get


I think about that too! I have spices that my ancestors never dreamed of. I can waste potable water by washing my hair with it. I never have to wait more than a few seconds for hot water.


Bro the weirdest thing for me is that I shit in clean drinkable water everyday. I just fucking shit in it it's so abundant


I'm seeing quite a few buildings going up where I live that use recycled water for toilets and garden taps


Walked from Mexico to Canada one year. Most of the time just slept under the stars. Every couple weeks I would do a town stop and stay in a hotel. My appreciation for a hot shower now has never waned. One of the finest luxuries in life is a good hot shower.


That sounds like quite the journey. What'd you do once you reached Canadia?


Worried. Walking had been my life for almost six months. It was my new... Culture. Then I had to resettle and start a new life. I felt kind of excited but also... Lost in some way. It's everything and intense for so long and then it just ends. You arrive.


Thank you for writing this. Most of my life (I hadn’t realised) was nomadic. Cars, vans, moved cities with just a rucksack. My last 6years have been spinal surgeries, bedridden through to walking in pain permanently. Now, my family think I’m mad (once again), I bought a small caravan and have only planned my first destination “North”. This morning I wake up, parked in the van out the front of my folks (8am, 6c and foggy) yet to take my pain meds and start my slow journey. Not many understanding why a “house” was such a dirty word to me. Was starting to think I was mad, distracted myself with Reddit. Then, I read your comment. Thank you. Not only inspiring this morning. But very telling. I’m both mad and remembering who I am. Cheers mate. Edit; thank you to everyone. Hadn’t had the chance to log in and then wow…so very appreciated. I’ve had some karmatic events leading up to this, this feels like another. The journey ahead now feels completely right. Best wishes to all!


Sounds like you got some good miles ahead of you. Sometimes the only thing that can help is a change of perspective. Glad you are finding it. Safe travels.


Towels. Honestly, I was almost 10 When I realized people didn’t just put back on their dirty clothes after a shower because my family was so large (12 kids total including myself) and extremely poor. I thought towels were just for hotels or were maybe a prop on television. I went to a friends house and she asked for my help folding her towels. I remember laughing and thinking she must be rich. Long story short, I wasn’t sure which way to fold the towels, and begged my mom to buy them after I revealed that my friend, Simone, had them. She bought a box of used ones from a local auction and I walked around with them on my head feeling like a frigging empress after that, even though—-let’s be clear…these were second hand towels! 😂


Great story! We had a single towel for 3 people that was rarely washed and now I have a beautiful stack of fluffy bath towels and an obscene amount of tea/dish towels. It makes me feel very happy to fold nice clean towels and stack them away neatly in the closet.


Grew up poor and when I was a kid I used to think you were rich if you had a dishwasher and a millionaire if you had one of those refrigerators that have a button for ice McDonalds was also a luxury, a couple times a year on our birthdays


My husband also says this about refrigerator ice. We moved to a house with an ice dispensing refrigerator and he said “I feel rich now.”


My uncle renovated his kitchen recently and had an ice dispensing fridge put in… “because it’s fancy and rich like on American TV”


My uncle got an ice machine that does tiny cubes like sonic. Now that's fancy living.


As an American, I’m always tickled to see what other countries consider “like on American TV”. Mostly the little stuff like school buses and Solo cups.


Argentinian here. I have a dishwasher (very rare) and a garbage disposal unit (extremely rare. Like maybe 1 in 100 thousand households have one here). When my wife's coworkers come home for asado they always jokingly refer to us as "the Americans". The dishwasher was the very first appliance I purchased when moving out, then the fridge and then the washing machine. When you have washed dishes with ice cold water in winter every day because there is no hot water in the house except [for the shower](https://http2.mlstatic.com/D_NQ_NP_604485-MLA41972084962_052020-O.jpg) you develop a deep hatred for doing the dishes.


I'm in Belgium, we're a rich country all things considered. I have never seen a garbage disposal or met anyone who has one.


I used to ask my mom why we didn't have a dishwasher She always said "We have one!" and pointed at me.


This. I still live somewhere with no dishwasher and no fridge that makes ice. But someday I hope I'll get there.


Having the heating on. We used to go to bed in our sleeping bags in winter which was really cool back then, pretty depressing now


agree with this. the first winter after my parents divorced we visited my dad in NY (where I grew up). after the divorce, he couldn't afford to have the heat on, so we always put on two pairs of socks, an extra sweater, and extra blankets. I was 15, so I knew it was abnormal, but I helped him make it seem cool to my younger sisters. despite that, still one of the best times I've had with him. during that winter he repeatedly encouraged me to keep up my painting and always told me they were great, even if they weren't. it's the reason I'm still painting 11 years from then. ETA: I had no idea this would get so much attention. he's probably napping right now (fuck Parkinson's), but I did send him screenshots of multiple comments from you guys and will update again when he responds. I just ordered him a cat tree and a dethatcher (no idea what it does, just know that he wants one for his good days where he can do yard work). I am currently in the matching Def Leppard t-shirts we have (the Hysteria album cover, which he let me have in addition to his box of records). I feel so much love from all of you guys at this present moment, and even more from him the more you guys are having me talk about this. SECOND EDIT: I sent him a screenshot and he replied "???? what did you say?????" (yes, with that many question marks.) I said it didn't matter, but that a ton of people thought he was cool and a good dad. all he said back was "you're killing me, smalls" and "good to know". :D ok, last edit: because I've gotten multiple messages asking to see my paintings, here are some of them. this is probably a really stupid idea, even though I've cropped out my signatures: https://imgur.com/gallery/zlaTiDG


That seems like a great dad!


he still is, tbh. he's my best friend. like, he's the first person I want to tell about anything that happens, even if it's something as small as I cooked a steak to a perfect medium rare or grew celery in a jar.


Stuff like this makes me tear up. My dad was such a good guy and he lost the long battle against his own mind about 10 years ago. Cherish that shit dude :)


oh absolutely, i dont think i could ever forget the feeling of when we’d wake up at 5am freezing and trying to keep as much warmth under the blanket as possible


That inability to get out of bed because it was warm. I remember that one really well. It's kind of a comforting feeling in some ways now though


A meal out in a restaurant (not even a fancy one).


McDonald's. I knew we were living well when my parents took me through the drive thru. No Happy meals though. Its cheaper to get a hamburger and fries. You have toys at home.




Now sewing clothes is a lot more expensive than buying them ready-made. I am Mennonite, so I sew my own clothes and it can be anywhere from 3 to 8 dollars for a yard of material. My dressers take 4 to 5 yards of material. Plus the zipper might cost five dollars, and the thread might cost another five dollars.So a dress can easily cost Up to $50 or more.


Mennonites are on Reddit? 🤔


Well my church does allow Internet usage. And many of us do have Facebook. The more elderly members of my church don’t have smart phones but the younger generation does. We don’t have TV or radio but we are allowed limited Internet. And I don’t advertise the fact that I go on Reddit, lol. I live alone so I can get away with a little bit more. And I keep my Reddit viewing to just a few topics. I avoid the really icky stuff. I’m the only person in my church who has ever gone to high school or college. I’m a little bit of a maverick and they’re not quite sure what to do with me, lol. But I get away with it because I was born with a physical condition that would prevent me from doing most lady jobs, like house cleaning or working in a bulk foods store. I am a teacher. In a public school which is also another revolutionary thing. But my church is OK with it because we live in a very conservative area. So I teach at a small rural K to 12 school.


We were poor but my mum worked at burger king so burgers made up much of our food back then lol


Ha; my mom worked at a pizza place. We ate a lot of pizza.


Happy meals were a birthday treat for me. Mom didn't get herself anything. Told me she "wasn't hungry." I didn't understand until I was older.


That one dawned on me about 3 years after I had graduated college, moved out and had my own well paying job. Went to a grocery store and saw a kid excitedly pointing at a bag of chips. The mom's face dropped, then opened her purse and dug out enough coins for the bag of chips. I realized my mom had done that countless times while I was growing up, and I realized why we played a "game" to guess how much the cart was going to be before checking out. By the time I was 12 I was constantly within 50 cents off, including tax and sales.


The bag of chips story reminds me of my dad. "Cool story, bro" incoming. My dad grew up in poverty. He was still broke a lot as an adult, and he made sure I was always cared for, but the knowledge of money being tight still filtered through. He told me one day he'd seen a mother and her young daughter getting a hot dog. The daughter wanted chips, the mom opened her purse and counted her money, and gave a sad, "I'm sorry, we don't have enough." My dad paid for their meal, chips included, even though he didn't have all that much himself. It was a story, one of many he told me, that made me choose to be more like him. Years later, I'm financially comfortable, but those lessons stuck. There was a homeless woman begging near the door of a restaurant I passed by. I asked if she'd eaten and she said 'no', so I bought her dinner as well. When I was checking out, I thought for a second, then bought a gift card so there'd be two less meals she'd have to worry about. I gave her the food, we talked for a little bit, and - when I got back to my car - I heard her shout, "THANK YOU!" after (I presume) she found the gift card. My dad is still alive, but he's been "gone" for almost a decade now because of severe dementia. I sat in the car and cried after that, because I remembered the story about the little girl and the chips for the first time in decades, and it felt like my dad was sitting right beside me.


Cool story, bro. But like. In a sincere, not sarcastic way. You and your old man sound like pretty decent folk.


My husband and I do that too! I realize it started when we were so poor and were worried we wouldn't have enough money, now it's just for fun, to see who can come closer.


I think some people can just do it naturally. I explained sales tax to my daughter when she was 5 and she immediately was able to figure out if she had enough money for things. By the time she was in middle school I could tell her she could spend $50 at Kohl’s - where they always have discounts and bogos and kohl’s cash - and she would come to the register with a pile of stuff that would legit come out to $49.92. I have no idea where she got that level of skill from as I can barely do two digit regrouping.


Many mothers are far greater superheroes than we could've ever perceived as kids. My mother was one as well.




And it’s the sort of thing you never notice as a kid, isn’t it? You just assume that yeah, there’s always enough for everyone, and then you grow up and realise - actually, there wasn’t, not even close, but your parents protected you from that fear.


There's an interesting memoir (and film) called "I Remember Mama," about an immigrant Norwegian family around the turn of the century. Every week when the father brings home his pay, the mother goes over the bills, breathes a sigh of relief, and tells the children that there's enough, so they won't have to take money out of the bank this time. When the daughter is older, her mother reveals that they never had a bank account. She just didn't want the children to worry.




Bananas Didn’t have them in Haiti unless it was an occasion, they were like candy Here, my roommates throw them out into the trash before they’re used


I had my birthday party at McDonald’s every year until I was 7 and I thought it was the most bougie place




Yep same here. I got so used to not eating breakfast that it's stayed with me. The only times in my life that I ate breakfast was when I was in the Army.


Pizza Hut with our Book It coupons


Pizza Hut. That nostalgic commercial they run now hits home. Going to Pizza Hut in the 80's was an event. Pan Pizza, Pac Man on a table machine and maybe Dairy Queen on the way home. Heck, eating out anywhere was an event as I was growing up.


I was homeless, then simply poor, for most of ~~the~~ my twenties. The first time I went out to a sit down restaurant in nearly a decade felt like an unbelievable novelty. I had forgotten what it was like to simply sit down and let the staff do all the labor. **EDIT:** Sorry! I meant my 20's. I'm not over a 100 years old lol.


I grew up super poor and NEVER ate out. When I was 13 and at a sleepover my friends parents took us to a restaurant for dinner I thought it was the fanciest place I had ever been so much so that I for some reason stole the thick heavy steak knife. Looking back it was a Denny's level local diner, but I will never forget that meal. I also was never allowed to have friends sleep over at my house because we didn't have enough food for the extra mouth. The summer between 7th and 8th grade my best friends mom figured that out and would send me home with grocery bags full of food she "didn't need anymore". What an amazing woman.


I still have the olive garden water glass my husband stole for me 25 years ago on a date. It was so pretty, and real glass. Solid, ya know?




All our vacations were tent camping at a nearby lake.


Ditto. I actually have very fond memories of it. Our dad would take us to go fishing and eat bologna fried on a campfire. We would get to shoot tin cans with our BB gun and my dad would always bring strips of old inner tubes for us to whittle down branches and make slingshots with. We had an old surplus military tent and it was like a big fort when I was a kid. We loved it. It was the only time we got to be away from our drunk, abusive addict of a mother.


As a Canadian I always get the : " You never been skiing?"


Skiing is fucking expensive.


I fell down a hill in the snow once.


It's basically the same thing.


Olive Garden was tier luxury growing up


Ha I was wondering if this would be other ppl’s answer. Because that was 100% for me. I didn’t care about going on a crazy vacation or something, I just wanted to get a burger and fries


It took me a long time to realize Dennys wasn't fine dining lol


People always judged me for thinking Applebee's and Red Lobster was good food and a fancy restaurant. It took me until college to realize that my family was just not well off.


Drinking clean (and enough) water and just having a decent meal, not just a piece of dry bread and tea! Yes, I come from Yemen, where we did not have a sufficient amount of water (for drinking or cleaning) and did not necessarily have three meals a day. I remember that we would not have random plants in our garden to water, that would be a waste of water. If you watch Dune, we kinda had (and still have) a similar situation!


My brother in law is from Yemen and came to the states in the 1980s. All these years later he still can’t calibrate to the insane materialism in the US. When he goes home to visit he takes all of my 4 boys hand me down clothes. That was a wake up call to my boys - how exited his nephews were to get my kids cast offs. If you’re ever in Sana’a and see I while gaggle of kids wearing Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee brewers gear - that’d be his nephews !


At the end of the season, sometimes the grocery store would have peck baskets of peaches on sale for a dime to clear them out before they went bad. And if Mom had a spare dime, she'd buy them and tell us to eat all we wanted - normally fruit was limited to one a day if there was any at all. Man, we'd hit those peaches like a plague of locusts.


“Gonna get me a whole big bunch of grapes off a bush, or whatever, an' I'm gonna squash 'em on my face an' let 'em run offen my chin.”


Was totally exprecting "Gonna eat me alotta peaches..."


Air conditioning. Whether in a house or vehicle.


We were lucky we had a car that ran. A/C would have been heaven. We fought for window seat rights, but as the eldest of six kids I usually won. Sometimes I would bestow my won seat on whichever sibling I was fond of at the time. We didn’t have A/C in the house, but we did have huge air ducts and vents for forced hot air heating. As the furnace was off during the summer, my dad put a large box fan in the basement by the intake vent - blowing cooler basement air into the upstairs bedrooms at night. A slight respite from hot summer nights.


A bowl of fresh fruit…you know, like the ones you see in still life paintings? To have food that could go bad before you had a chance to eat it all…that was unfathomable.




Going to the grocery and feeling able to buy pretty much anything I want within reason. I still compare cents differences in name brand vs. store brand vs. sale items; or do I really need this?


Yeah when I switched jobs a few years ago I was finally able to get out of worrying if I should pay the extra $2 for a type of food. Something that was $4 or $5 for one meal took some real consideration on if I wanted to "treat" myself or not, if I could. It's not a worry now. I don't check my bank account everytime before going to the store. Big purchases are still tough for me though. I spent a year and a half deciding on whether to get a game console or not, even though I could afford it. I still don't buy new clothes ever. I think I just prefer the security of knowing that money is in my bank account because I feel like I could be broke again any second.


New clothes. Pretty much had to make everything last and while I'm not proud of it I did alot of shoplifting as young teen. I always look back and think how I really lucked out that the "dirty punk" look was super in when I was a teen. I basically based my whole style around it and people thought I was just being fashionable but I was just really fucking poor lmao.


I wasn’t too into grunge, but I sure pulled off that look without trying


Oh yep brand new clothes were rare! I still remember one birthday when I was around 12, my siblings gave me a new tee shirt (not a labelled one, just new plain) and my parents gave me another. Thought I was pretty cool wearing those the first few times.


Absolutely this. I can remember spending all my money earned from my first job on new clothes because it meant I could have my own style instead of a hodge-podge of older cousins’ castaway clothes. I can remember my aunt once taking me and my sister to the mall (already a fancy people thing for us) and buying us each an outfit from Gap Kids to wear for the first day of school at a new school when we had just moved. I thought it was the pinnacle of luxury. I adored the outfit and cried when I outgrew it.


I grew up broke and am incredibly fortunate to have money as an adult. Meals out when I was a kid were huge, I think I only really remember three in my whole childhood, so as an adult who does largely whatever I like, going out to dinner still thrills me, always get dressed up, make the most of it etc.


Same, had never tried most types of food until I went to college. Now going out to new restaurants and trying new cuisines never fails to make me happy.


Eating out, road trips, motels


Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as opposed to store brand. Soda out of a can. Any restaurant where you sit down and get a menu. Having the AC on in the car.


"But we would eat Kraft Dinner. We'd just eat more. And buy really expensive ketchups."


All the fancy Dijon ketchup


Payday grocery shopping


I lived in a shelter for a bit after high school. My monthly stipend would come in at midnight on the first of the month and I remember bundling up at 11:30 so I could get to the store and do my shopping and be on my way home for a much needed meal by 12:05. After the roof over my head I had $225/month left for everything else so by the first of the month I was very hungry.. Sorry for the ramble, just brought back that memory reading through this thread


Going to a friend's house and seeing they had stairs. An upstairs bedroom? A downstairs basement area? I thought my friends were millionaires.


New clothes! I always had hand-me-downs from our more affluent neighbors. But for my birthday, my grandparents would sometimes take me out to but a new outfit or new shoes. Always a fun adventure! Also, going out to Friendly's. We got to do it once a year when report cards came in. :)


Going to a fair, a concert, or a similar event, and buying food. Unthinkable when I was a child. Clearly people go to the summer fair just to enjoy the aroma of fried dough.




Dude, if I was that neighbor I would happily turn a blind eye as long as the kids were good about turning the hose off (flooded basements are a pain). It would only add a dollar or two a month to my water bill: small price to pay for children to have clean water.


Buying any kind of fruit I want at the grocery store.


Throwing anything I want into the cart without keeping a mental tally of the total cost.


That really brings me back to when I was young. Straight up calculating every penny sometimes. These days I'm fortunate enough to just toss whatever I want in the cart and not even really think about it. Ends up eating a lot more healthy food that way as well. Obesity and poverty are so heavily linked. It's hard to justify 5-6 dollars for a big thing of berries when you can get a shit ton of processed food for that price


We’re usually had a can of soup or beans or a slice of bread and spam for dinner. On payday mom would bring home one of those rotisserie chickens they sold at the grocery store. We were eating like the rich people. Fast food was still like eating at a restaurant to my mom and thus unaffordable.


A motel room. We stayed one night at the Pink Flamingo in Ocean City NJ and felt like millionaires


My only hotel stay when I was a kid was somewhere around nashville TN, and I almost flooded the bathroom because I didn't know the shower curtain had to be inside the tub. I was 12


Not having to worry about how to make pads and tampons stretch through the week.


This is some shit I managed to forget. They never worked great, but I got pretty good at fashioning makeshift pads out of paper towels and toilet paper taken from public restrooms. Made me really sad years layer when I found out my mom had been doing the same thing.


Oh yeah, you gotta fold the paper towel long and wrap the toilet paper around the middle gently, can get a few trips in before you need to trade the paper towel in. Fuck period poverty. :(


I've been donating to an organization for years now that tries to end the poverty cycle for kids in slums and similar situations. One of the things that money goes to is feminine products--it's very sad to think that a lack of access/money is a major reason girls can't continue their educations and get out of poverty.


A holiday. We never went anywhere when I was younger, but some of my friends did. Then when my mam got a job she told us we’d being going on holiday soon. 2 years later and we went to Wales on the ferry to some shit hole, British holiday camp. It was the best fucking holiday I’ve ever been on. We even had enough money to leave the camp and went to a restaurant in a nearby town and rode the miniature railway there. It really felt like we weren’t poor. I also remember getting brand name trainers for the first time; what it felt like to own a VCR; having a car that didn’t need a push start and being able to go to the cinema. They were all HUGE luxuries.


Just getting some god dang crafts, man. I was the kid you could entertain the rest of the night with popsicle sticks, glitter, and glue. You know what I never got to do? Crafts, because the only popsicle sticks we ever got were NONE, the glue was for school only ("don't let your friends borrow your glue/crayons/pencils we can't buy more 'til income tax!"), and glitter meant more electricity vacuuming it up. I am now a grown woman with a craft room that sparkles like a dragon hoard. I make Martha Stewart weep 😝


Christmas decorations. We used to just put tinsel on a fan and that was our tree


Dental and medical care. Dental insurance was a huge luxury. I didn't have an employer that offered that until I was in my late 20's. Needless to say, I spent a fortune on my teeth. I made sure my kids always had dental care from them on.


I went to the dentist for the first time in my late 20's early 30's. Yes my teeth are fucked up.


Me too. I went to the dentist for the first time at 27 because my wife-to-be made the appointment. Her dentist was warm and friendly and she had warned him that I was embarrassed at seeing one for the first time at my age. He took good care of me. I also remember we got yearly dental exams in school, just check ups no treatment. They would always ask me when I saw the dentist last and I would lie. They would yell at me and tell me I need to see a dentist regularly. Bitch, I’m nine years old, do you think I don’t go because I’m lazy?


saving the life of a pet because i could afford to pay the vet


Having anything I want to eat. Too many hungry days and nights as a kid. Now I feel spoiled when I order take away or go to a restaurant “just because.” I will literally try anything to eat because there is so much that I missed as a child up to my 30’s.




An air-conditioned house.


Food. We were broke, mom was single after my POS father murdered someone right in front of me with a .380 mag dump. 20 years later, my body is still used to operating on one or no meals a day. 6'1" and barely maintained 125 for most of my life. A bed I didn't have to share with my older sister (this ended at age 12 for me, 13 for her). The biggest luxury though, was actually getting time to see my mom, as she worked nonstop to support us. Seeing my mom's smile when we DID have basic needs fulfilled. I hope some day I can make her dreams come true, and fill her mind with memories of better things.


Having a house phone, heat, electricity, a working washer and dryer or clothes to even wash. We often couldn't even afford shampoo or soap in general. We mostly washed our hair using bar soap we got from local churches which also felt like a luxury cause it wasnt often. I was that kid in school that had to wear the same pair of socks over and over. Had to hand wash them in our sink using bar soap. Felt really depressing. Most of my friends were kids who had parents buying them brand new cars at 15/16 and I had to listen to them complain about the color or that it's sound system wasn't nice enough. I was poorer that fucking kenny in south park. Doing alright now though


Lunchables! Or being able to buy school lunch. Later on we were poor enough to qualify for free lunch but before that if my mom gave me the $2 it was a good day.


Fruit Rollups


My wife immigrated to the States when she was 10 and this was her answer. We bought some for our two kids last week and I know it made her feel proud.


New shoes. Clothes that don't pinch. Central hating and air. Knowing the difference between hunger pains and heartburn. That one still hits every once in a while. Eat a couple slices of pizza get the burn know it's not from hunger..smile to self. Hot cocoa. Seeing rain and being dry. Laying in a sunbeam in a cooled house.


Fast food. New shoes. If we ever ate meat. One of my brothers didn't recognize a pork chop at age 6-7. Asked my mom, 'Is this hard meat or easy meat?' He's 50 now and we still laugh about it. Syrup instead of a few canned peach slices and some peach juice on our stack of pancakes. Biggest treat? BEAN BURRITO NIGHT We got instant refried beans as a food commodity. Mom grew lettuce and tomato pot back. We would shred the government cheese. The treat was a pint of sour cream, and a jar of salsa. We would each take our turn at the table telling mom what we wanted on our burritos. (One brother only ate peanut butter and cheese burritos, and yes he did survive into adulthood). Mom is almost 80 now, but as long as us kids cut up so the ingredients and pull up a chair for her she will still roll you a 'big fatty - her words. Cue mom getting wistful and reminding us, 'I was quite the roller in my day.' The 80's were good to her lolol


Vienetta ice cream


Ah yea, for when you want a *slice* of ice cream


Anything I could live without. Especially skincare. My skin has become amazing since I've had the disposable income to buy better products. It still makes me feel bad though


I used to convince myself I was a "minimalist" and "didn't want to be vain." Really I was just poor. Now that I'm not struggling, I have been into good skincare and clothes that aren't rags. It's still hard to get over the guilt of wanting to have things without stains on them.


dinner every night


the "school lunches are so terrible haha" jokes never land with me school lunches are like, the only food that i got to eat growing up. there's nothing better than school lunches in my mind because of that.


It rubs me the wrong way when people complain about the free lunches at the school where I work. My dad only took half a smushed peanut butter sandwich and my mom had nothing. They would have killed for these lunches. And so many kids in the world are starving.


I occasionally marvel at my full fridge and pantry. We had some pretty thin meals growing up. I remember being a real piece of shit about it too. My parents did their best.


Corndogs Yeah , I said it. Corn dogs Especially, the breakfast ones at school.


The concept of going to a restaurant and deciding on food you actually wanted, not just the cheapest thing on the menu, was wild and a hard lesson I still grapple with. Restaurants were special but my family did this odd thing where when we were expecting things to be extra tight for awhile we would go to a (cheap) restaurant as a kind of final hurrah before things got really bad for awhile. So I associated restaurants with sad/hard times coming, and would always order the cheapest thing to help save money. This extended to even a friend's family taking me out. Even now my partner asks me if the thing on the menu I chose was what I actually want or just the cheapest thing. They didn't grow up poor so they were very confused by some of my "odd" behaviors.


Shoes that didn't come from the $2 aisle at K-Mart...once a year.


The Shaq shoes? That's what I got from Kmart. And I remeber my mom be pissed when I ran out of the them, as in, my foot went through the front. After the 3 time of this is in a row we saved for the cheapest pair of Nikes we could get. I finally had shoes that stayed with me until I grew out of them.


Shaq shoes get shit on by people that have never had to get a new pair of shoes as cheap as possible. That habit followed me into adulthood. I would get a $10 pair of shoes from Walmart, they would last about 4 months and become yard shoes as I threw the now very worn old yard shoes out and I would go get another pair. Keep in mind that I didn't have to do this; this was just all I knew to do. I did that until three or four years ago when my wife convinced me to go to a "nice" shoe store and find shoes. I told her we should leave after seeing the cheapest price tag was in the $90's. She convinced me to stay and I got a pair of shoes that lasted me up until this April. Old habits die hard. I went back to the same shoe store, got a pair of the same shoes (different color so that counts) and now the old ones are yard shoes.


I have cerebral palsy and have trouble with my feet and walking. I always had to buy slightly more expensive shoes. But I would always wear them out within a year. In 2019 I was going to a foreign country and so I needed shoes that were gonna be good for walking. I went into a shoe shop and ask them what they had that would be good for walking on cobblestone streets. They suggested Merrells. I ask if they would last me at least a year and they said, “oh yes definitely.” It’s now 2022 and I still wear them almost every day.


Going to someone's house when they had a sectional sofa. The pinnacle of luxury.


Branded products always felt special


I remember my nan freaking out at 7yo me because I bought crisp n' dry instead of no brand cooking oil - but I loved the song on the advert and was tasked with collecting from the store. I still remember being disapointed that it made no noticable difference.


Oh yeah. Especially toiletries like shampoo etc. I’m 38 and still feel special when I get a brand new Old Spice shampoo/body wash with a new scent.


For me it was Elios pizza. Rich kid food.


Hamburger and hotdogs buns.... we always got the universal white bread.


buying something you want right away as soon as you see it


And then feeling guilty even though you can afford it, questioning yourself if you really need it.


That's still a luxury.


Actual beds. Not just mattresses on the floor.


For a few years, I slept on an air mattress that eventually finally gave out so it was just plastic holding sheets and pillows. I went absolutely feral when I got an actual mattress with a bed frame.


$5 to spend at the book fair. I never let go of that one and now I send my kids off with $40 to spend at the book fair with the idea that my kids will walk out of there covered head to toe in book fair drip after telling their middle school crush "just get whatever you want, it's all on me."


Ugh, nothing else could remind you how poor you were than the Scholastic book fair. For me it was just a forced 'window shopping' experience, I hated them something fierce.


Toblerone chocolate


Drinking something other than tap water with a meal. Like juice or squash. We never, ever did this, and if I ever do it in adulthood it feels wildly luxurious - like, you already have the flavour from the food, why do you need flavour from the drink as well?


Not having to think about if my parents can afford my school trip expanses.


A house. If you lived in a house, I considered you rich.


Renting a VCR player for a special Saturday. You could watch a movie whenever you wanted, and *pause* it. And no commercials. I know, it sounds too good to be true. That's why it only happened a few times a year.


Ice cream once a year on my birthday


We would go to the movies from time to time, but we went to AMC once and the concrete/pavement outside the building had reflective specs in it. Pair that with street lamps, and a darkening sky and I thought we made it.


Being afraid to break, damage, run out of, or lose something. I have to consciously tell myself that I can replace whatever. If I use up all of the laundry soap I can get more. If a can opener breaks, I can buy a new one. Still working on my fears about this. I have to tell myself that it’s OK to eat three meals a day because I can buy more food. The only time I ever ate three meals a day was the year that I was in foster care as a teenager. I’m well past my teenage years and still don’t eat three meals a day. But I think I need to start


Cable. For 15 years my only South Park experience was on VHS tapes


Here we've come full circle. I canceled our cable about 12 years ago not because we couldn't afford it but because we never used it enough to warrant the $200/month. My kiddo will prob splurge on it when he moves out because we never had it at home..