How did you grow up? Poor, rich or in-between?

@dragon54u (31628)
United States
June 30, 2008 10:43am CST
I grew up with very little money, we were always struggling and although we had enough to eat sometimes we ate toast covered with gravy with a little meat. There wasn't much for clothes and such so I was never stylish and we thought Christmas was wonderful although our friends all got a lot more than we did. The result of this near poverty? I'm thrifty, I don't feel the need to keep up with fashions and material things just aren't important to me. I would rather shop carefully and buy something unique and reasonably priced for a gift than buy something extravagant that shows no thought. I know how to have a wonderful time with little or no money and since reading was our main entertainment I love to read and write. We never ate at restaurants, couldn't afford it, so I'm a creative and good cook. I think growing up with very little shaped my life and attitudes into something good. How did your upbringing affect you?
11 people like this
47 responses
@maryannemax (12168)
• Sweden
30 Jun 08
there had been those times in my family before. but my parents never gave up at all. now, they are established business man and i am proud of where they are now. anyway, what i've learned it that, poverty did not make the family grow apart. instead, we it made us closer to each other since all we had by that time was just one another. we grew up so close until now. just like you, we know how to value money. we now can buy most of the things we want even the expensive ones but we try and think first if we the items are worth buying for. anne
3 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I'm very glad your parents are successful! All those years of hard work and sacrifice have paid off at last! Yes, I think having little money makes a family closer and shows us the real value of things.
1 person likes this
@nupats (3564)
• India
30 Jun 08
hi dear i grew up in a very comfortable environment.. not very rich but surely had always more than enough.. my dad was in a government job an officer and mom was teaching so we always were well provided finacially..have not seen struggle at all..well i have my own set of hobbies but going out and partying in weekends hhas become an integral part of my lifestyle so it is just not possible for me to sit at home on weekends..i am not very brand concious though..have a nice day..
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
My kids grew up that way, thank goodness. There's something to be said for wanting at times but it's nice to be able to have what you want. You certainly don't seem to be the type of person that has suffered for it--you seem to be very nice with a good head on your shoulders and real empathy for the people around you.
1 person likes this
@nupats (3564)
• India
30 Jun 08
thank u dear friend ..we all try to do the best for our kids..u r also very sweet and i m very happy that u also put in the same amount of effort for ur children..God bless them..
1 person likes this
@golfproo (1841)
• Canada
1 Jul 08
Hi There, Your story certainly resonates with me! I grew up exactly the same way. Many times we did not have enough to eat and would have dry cheerios for supper. It has also made me very thrifty in life. I do have a good job but I will never overspend. I save a dime wherever I can. cheers,
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Being poor doesn't have to be a detriment, it can often make us better people. In your case and mine, it has improved our lives and we're more secure than most because we save.
@kingcrapper (1538)
• United States
1 Jul 08
My parents were really hard working people and we lived in a middle class situation. They owned some hunting properties but nothing that ever brought in any kind of rental income. Because of this I am a very careful bill payer. I make sure that all my bills are covered before I go out and by anything. My wife has helped me to relax a little bit but I am still very conservative when it comes to any purchases.
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I love your screen name! If everyone were like you, our economy would be healthy. Keep it up, your life will be secure and solid if you keep your good attitude toward money.
• United States
1 Jul 08
I grew up "middle class". We lived in a nice area and went to good schools. I realize now that my parents were house poor. Everything they made went into that house, and pretty much still does.
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I'm glad you had a nice childhood and wish everyone could. Learn from your parents and don't make the same mistakes like being house poor. Be as successful as you can, that will make them happy.
@tthom64 (535)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Growing up, I kind of felt like we were in the middle, at least for the place that I lived. We always had everything we needed, but not many luxuries. I had lots of clothes but they were from the sale rack - that sort of thing. As a result, I really have no intrest in keeping up with fashion trends or anything like that. When I buy things its more for function over form. I guess its just my personality more than my upbringing, but it drives me crazy when things don't work right. It doesn't have to be a name brand but it has to work! LOL That's just me.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
1 Jul 08
So you learned to choose quality over quantity or prestige. That's a very good lesson!
@bdugas (3580)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Although my parents both worked we was not considered rich by no means. What my family taught me also was that it is not the price of something but the though behind it that counts. But as my kids grew and had kids they seem to feel that they should give their kids the best of everything, all of what they believe they didn't get as a child, designer clothes and shoes. And I find that in their kids they have no respect for anything because it is always handed to them. When we was growing up we rode bikes and read, these kids play computers and talk on cell phones. All that we seem to want to give to our kids now adays does not show them the value of anything, and I think it makes it hard on the child when he gets big and has to go out and make a living for himself, he has no idea of how it is to not have, eating at McDonald's is not a treat but an everyday thing and we learned the value of a dollar as kids, and we learned that there really is kids poorer than us and we learned to appriciate what was given to us, or that trip to eat out, not that it is owed to them. I also shop thrifty and buy resonably, we grew our own gardens and we worked doing chores to get that few dollars to spend. Kids dont' do chores any more. I think living with less was a good thing, it showed me that I don't need the fablous to survive.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I see that we live in the same state! Isn't this a wonderful place to live? I love it! I read an article from the 40's a few weeks ago. This "consumerism" and preoccupation with material goods is very calculated and deliberate. In order to grow and sustain the economy, they needed to turn us into a nation of consumers and I believe that's responsible in part for our current economic woes and huge credit card debt. They started an intensive media campaign back then that continues today and very few people escape it so don't be too hard on yourself. It's a losing battle and we can only do our best to raise our children in a responsible manner--we have the entire world working against us!
@kenzie45230 (3560)
• United States
30 Jun 08
We were not poor, nor rich. I never really thought about our financial state until I was out on my own. We kids always had new clothes and shoes and coats. We usually got most of what we requested for Christmas and birthdays. I know, now, that my mom used credit cards a lot. She had cards for most of the department stores in our area at the time, plus Sears and JCPenney and Montgomery Ward (remember them?). Also, by the time I got to high school, she had a Visa card. She maxed most of the cards for Christmas, then tried to have them all paid off again by the time our birthdays rolled around. (One sibling had a March birthday, 2 of us had April birthdays, one had a June birthday. Mom and Dad's anniversary was in March; Mom's birthday in March, Dad's in June.) She tried to have all the birthday stuff paid off before she had to buy school supplies, then that paid off before Christmas. And so on and so on. But looking back now, I realize how much she sacrificed. She wore the same winter coat for 10-15 years. (I'm sure it was a good one when she bought it.) Her underwear often had holes. And she very rarely bought shoes or boots for herself. Dad had to have his regular work clothes and steel-toed boots replaced fairly regularly. But he wore the same suit for most of my growing up years (and guys did wear suits to church!). My mom didn't have to work, but she sometimes did. For quite a while, she worked as a secretary from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - so that she could help provide the "extras" for us...and still be home when we got home from school.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
What wonderful parents you had! I remember when men wore suits to church and the ladies and children were dressed in their best clothes. That was a great time.
• Philippines
30 Jun 08
my upbringing affects me so much encouragement to struggle for life and to have focus to my future...i still remember when i was young me and my family have just slept without eat... and we only do have a wash and wear clothes to go to school. that i why i came to a thought of one day i will do anything just to have a better life not being great but just enough that i can taste the food three time a day
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I hope that you reach that point. Poverty is tragic, especially when children are subjected to it.
@Fishmomma (11362)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I grew up on a farm and we grew our own food. Anything we didn't have we traded with somebody else, so I first went in a grocery store when I was 10 or 11. It was quite a sight, as all this stuff in one place. I told my mother this is the easy way to get food. She said "we have to pay for it". Those words have stayed with me a long time. The first time we went in with coupons and I have always used them to save money. I don't see any reason to pay more than I have to pay. We would go out to a restaurant once a week. I remember the all you could eat place because my brothers and I would eat like we had never eaten before. I know we ate 4 plates of food and even now I have to work hard at eating slower. I always worried the food that has a lot of calories would disappear. My brothers ate very fast! My parents would tell us its not a race to see how many plates of food each of you can eat. I can see a plate of fried chicken and remember Sunday going out to a restaurant and add in the gravy. I'm feeling hungry now. I was very thin and could eat anything including the chocolate cake. I think my upbringing helped me to be thrifty and save money. There is no reason to replace items that are in great condition. I'm always looking for a good deal no matter what item I'm seeking now.
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I didn't grow up on a farm but spent summers there and the family went every Sunday. Grandma (and my mom) had a garden and I loved for her to give me permission to uproot a ripe carrot. I'd wipe it off and eat it right there! Dad used to go out hunting and bring back pheasant, squirrel and rabbit. Every year, Grandpa would butcher a steer and divide it between the family. That was the best beef, he fed them special sweet molasses feed. Hey, we were poor but that food-when we had it-was better than anything they've got now!
• Philippines
30 Jun 08
i grew up in between... not too poor but definitely not rich... i was raise to be a good person and how to be productive individual inoder to have an earnings... during my child, i've been experienced hardships and sometimes cloud nines... but, one thing that that influence me for what i am now is when at an early age i live independently often away from my family. i was able to manage myself and other personal stuffs, and in terms of budgeting my weekly allowance... im not a classy person i just buy personal needs that my pocket can afford... i just understand my situation and never envy to others who had things that i never had during my childhood...
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
It sounds as if your parents did a fine job of raising you! I wish you success, you certainly have a healthy outlook on life.
1 person likes this
@sudalunts (5526)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I grew up poor, but at that time did not I was poor. My was a stay at home mom, and we had the bare essentials. Like all of the above posts, all of our friends received better Xmas gifts than we did, but again, we did not realize the situation. I am still poor, I have had my ups and now I am down. I recently lost my job, and by my husband not working, and me being the main earner, there are no savings to fall back on. Couldn't believe my ears, I just heard my husband on the phone except a job interview for tomorrow. Please let him get a job, then we will become in between poor, and when I start working again, I can finally say I can treat myself to something nice, first time in say 9 years, same amount of time I have been married.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I just said a prayer for you that your husband would get a good job. I hope this is a turning point for you! The job market isn't very good right now. We didn't know we were poor, either, although I think we were just a small step up from poor. Children are wise, they appreciate what they have!
1 person likes this
• India
30 Jun 08
I made my self by doing works from very early age, our family status is medium earnings, we are not soo poor but little upper from poor, but now it's slowly becomes stronger than earlier, I am trying to get good position in fanancial way, not soo much willing to get huge money but it should enough for us and our sarround people.
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I wish you every success. You sound like a person who knows what is valuable--people, not things.
1 person likes this
@roxanne271 (2034)
• Trinidad And Tobago
30 Jun 08
I grew up in-between but alot of people in school would think I was a rich brat because I automatically knew how to save money and would have a couple hundred bucks on me as emergency money at a time. Only my close friends knew this fact but alot of other classmates would think I was a rich kid probably because I had this "Yeah, I don't give a crap about what you think about me." Actually up to this day I can't figure out why I wasn't liked by most of my peers. I sometimes want to feel it was because I was smart and my friend was smarter than i was and she also struggled to have friends, but she and I ended up becoming best friends! Anyway, even being middle classed, I always seem to get whatever I want even though in my head I would be determined to buy this item myself, sometimes I would end up having someone buy it for me like out of the blue. It's really strange but I am not complaining. Now I am a single child but definitely not a spoilt brat. I never grew up wearing brands and all that junk so those things don't really bother me. I usually pick out clothing that look good and I am comfortable wearing. I am not going to pay $200 dollars for a jersey or jeans because it is in style or because it has a brand name slapped on it! My ex-bf was that type of person and for a while he made me spend alot of my savings in a very foolish way. Luckily I am out of that relationship and I am in a much better relationship right now. I have to admit, I love fancy stuff when it comes to cooking. I can do without all the fancy clothes, shoes, material stuff. But when it comes to cooking and baking...I sometimes make an exception if I desperately want to try the recipe. My mother was never good at saving and my father is a master at it even while spending (just like my boyfriend!) I feel I am alot like my father when it comes to saving, I just need to have the right influence (my ex-bf knew about my savings and his goal was to get me to spend it all!) Anyway, for a middle class person I was brought up to be a content person and if I cannot afford something I leave it but if I really want it I will just save and buy it later. Sometimes by then you may realize you don't need it. But as a young person you always feel like you need something which you don't need. My dad told me that is natural and as you get older you will realize all you need is you health and strength, food on your table, a place to sleep comfortably at night, some money to spend so you won't have to beg anyone and even if it's a little old car, it doesn't matter; as long as it is taking you there and back you are all set. But he doesn't tell me such a thing to discourage me from wanting something, it is just a fact of life. He has been there (wanting all the fancy stuff or owning the fancy stuff) and now it's my turn to be there. He is just trying to say that when you are young, try to secure your future too because you want to live comfortably in your older days and not struggling, like alot of people he and I both know... I think I strayed off topic...sorry.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
You didn't stray off topic, attitudes toward money are very relevant. We often get into trouble trying to please men, don't we? Your parents were very wise and I know you're grateful to them. I think we're freer and happier when we don't want a lot of material things and stuff beyond our means.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Jun 08
I grew up in between. There was always food on the table, Mom was very inventive. She was a self sufficient woman and my Dad was pretty good at fixing things around the house.We were a family of 4 girls, wwe had things at Christmas, of course we were always envious of our friends gifts, but it passed. I think I have a pretty good attitude and I tried to teach my children values and ways to shape their lives. I always told them I did it and so could you. I don't think I missed out on too much of anything now that I think about it.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I didn't really miss out on anything, either, although sometimes I thought I was. When I was 8, my friend had a beautiful red coat with a black fur collar and I wanted one like that so much! Mom got me a cheaper one, grey wool, and I was very upset. But it's all we could afford and when the bad weather came, my friend was shivering and I was warm. Moms know best!
1 person likes this
@WATARIKENJI (1534)
• Philippines
30 Jun 08
I agree, have learned it when I was already a grown up. I used to spend all my earnings and never saved. Now, I have learned the value of saving for the rainy days.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
30 Jun 08
You'll be glad you saved. I stash away everything I can, even pennies, and now that my roof has a leak I can pay for it and not have to worry. Of course, I hate to deplete the savings account but that's what it's for--to keep me out of debt.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
21 Jul 08
I grew up in a working middle class family who acted as if it was poor or it was all my fault. It never was my brother's. I ate too much, etc. Eggs were a luxury, and we only had roasts on Sunday, the rest was hamburgers, and casseroles. We got our main clothes at Christmas, and we read Readers Digest, never the full book as they were too expensive. When I started working, picking berries, and babysitting, my father demanded I hand my money over, never asked my brother, though. Oh we did got to the restaurants once a week but we had to make sure not to order anything more than what mother ordered. So I was very confused. I do love new clothes and the newest fashion, but I am afraid of ordering anything, I feel I have keep savings. If I want something nice for myself, and buy it I feel something will go wrong. If no one is blamed for the finances, or all have to pull their load it is easier to bear, but if it is all shifted on one person, it is not.
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
21 Jul 08
That was a very cruel thing to do to you! Other than that, I grew up pretty much the same. The Sunday roast was wonderful and the leftovers were great, too. I also feel that bad things will happen when I buy something for myself--because it usually does! Then I'm sorry I spent the money because I could use it for the new emergency. I have almost three mortgage payments in my savings account right now and my goal is to save six months of expenses, just in case. This is the first time in my life I've had savings! Financial matters aren't what children should have to think about! I hope you're over that mean trauma as much as possible now.
1 person likes this
@iyah10 (4116)
• Kuwait
21 Jul 08
when I grew up with my Mother's presence in which my Father left us at the age of 16 so after graduating my High School I go to work automatically and handle all the consequences of life together with my 2 brothers and we could eat only 3 times in a day and the money that I need for my College while working so I conclude that we are still in between this life commodities of rich and poor.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
21 Jul 08
Your mother did a very good job raising you if you are that responsible with your family! She must be very proud of you. You are rich in family, only poor in money!
@iyah10 (4116)
• Kuwait
21 Jul 08
Yes you are absolutely right but God give us good grace to change our lives with the guidance with my Mother especially for Moral support and now I got married with a Kuwaiti Man with a lovely daughter and have a good work now in an English Community Magazine and through all of the effort with me and my Husband we bought a Land and a House for my Mother and I bring my brother here in Kuwait and already have a worked in JW Marriott in which I was working before and just recently my other brother next to me go to Saudi Arabia last 23rd of May and glad that he is also doing well in there with the Guidance of God......
@silkyt34 (324)
• United States
2 Jul 08
i feel like i grew up in the middle.. both my parents worked but we always had a huge garden an i remeber going hunting every day with my mom for meat.. i to am like you tho i dont believe i have to have the newest fashions and i would rather take the time to find something unique.. i have been told that i can make abe lincon scream but i think that comes from being a single mom for so long.. i too had very little at christmas but lots of love but there were 5 kids in my family so there was always love there and i think we are all very creative cooks to..lol i can honestly say that i feel i had a great childhood and wouldnt change a thing and yes it did make me the person i am today thankfully...
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
3 Jul 08
Wasn't that wild game just the best?! I wouldn't change a thing about my early childhood, either. I'm a cheapskate, too, but I'm in a lot better shape than most people I know and I'll bet you are, too.
@silkyt34 (324)
• United States
3 Jul 08
lol.. yes i am now we just bought a house but it took alot of going without to afford it because we had to get his credit report better.. thankfully all the hard work paid off and we got our dream house !!!!!
• United States
1 Jul 08
When my parents were married, I would say that I grew up materially comfortable and even a little better off than most. I always had new clothes every school year, plenty of "neat" toys, and lots of good food to eat as well as living in a nice house in what was a good neighborhood at the time. I didn't have everything I wanted, but I did have all my needs met. After my parents got divorced, money was more tight and we didn't have a lot of things. When we moved out to California, things got even more tight. I rarely got new clothes, if at all, and I had to get my own job to buy them. We often had to rely on certain food programs and forget about buying toys or books. The programs for getting things like free lunch at school had their requirements set so low that most people couldn't qualify. Of course, if you were living in Mexico and using a fake U.S. address, you could get all the free food and charity you wanted.
@dragon54u (31628)
• United States
1 Jul 08
We should take care of our own before we care for illegals. That makes me angry! Another thing that makes me angry is that the assistance programs work to keep people in poverty. They don't give you a hand to improve yourself and help till you can be independent, they push you down and keep you poor and discourage any form of self-help or improvement. When my parents got divorced we were even poorer. It's no fun, is it? We never had to apply for assistance so we were a little better off than your family but still, it's hard to be poor. You seem to have turned out fine, though. We tend to rise above our circumstances if we have the right parents.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jul 08
A lot of the people were actually U.S. citizens who live in Mexico where you can live well for half the cost of living north of the border. But, they'll send their kids to school and use a "relative" as an address for things like free lunch and other benefits. We were always about 100 to 300 dollars just above the levels that were set for a lot of programs, but they weren't flexible. I was a very sick child, too, and that cost my mom a lot of money in medical bills. But, they didn't take any of that into effect when looking at our eligibility for things.