When we’re kids, we all feel the same—little courageous adventurers ready to soak in the world with open arms. Children have no prejudice about the world, and no sense of disparity that only emerges later in life.

When looking back at your childhood years, mixed emotions may come up. For some it’s nostalgia of carefree days, for others it’s things that they didn’t notice back then that struck a chord. Like, eating chili beans for days in a row or taking it as a usual thing not to expect anything fancy for Christmas.

In fact, these are among the tweets that people shared when Twitter user Trevor Donovan asked people “Tell me you grew up poor, without telling me you grew up poor.” The thread is an eye-opening read about growing up impoverished as told by the little details that often stay unnoticed from an outsider's eye.

#1

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Didn’t have enough food because mother spent our money on church. Paid tuition to parochial school. Put cash in 2 collection plates & an envelope for The Bishops Fund special collection on Sundays. Paid coins to light candles. Her piety kept her kids hungry & cold
I hate religion

s99_ron , Harry Metcalfe Report

Marianne
Community Member
11 months ago

This is so twisted! Shouldn't a church care for those people and not the other way round?

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#2

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) One Christmas, all three of us kids each got only a letter from my mom. Beautifully handwritten with her ink pen. I still treasure it to this day, 45 years later. I can only imagine how painful that was for her, working so hard but still always broke.

14_Trixie , -l.i.l.l.i.a.n- Report

Mohammad Ammar
Community Member
11 months ago

Not a Christian or even someone from the west, but I find gift giving on Christmas kind of materialistic. I don't like the idea of expecting something from someone at a particular time. The best gifts are the ones given with genuine consideration ,when you least expect it.

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#3

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Making lots of friends meant you could go to other kids houses and get invited to stay for dinner. I would always sneak something to eat back home for my mom. She never asked me to do that, but I knew she was hungry.

Trifeen , slgckgc Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
11 months ago

😢 sweet yet sad

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#4

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Day 1 chili no beans Day 2 chili with beans Day 3 add macaroni to the remaining chili Day 4 add tomato juice to day 3 leftovers with paprika, it becomes goulash! Day 5 spoon remaining goulash over a baked potato How to Stretch your groceries at the end of the month

aft753 , Jake Przespo Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
11 months ago

And still make it taste good. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention.

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#5

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Used to pray for clothing that my mom didn’t sew. Now that I’m older I look back and marvel at how she did all of those things for us and I just see so much love.

JadeDoubleDub , Matthew Paul Argall Report

Daria Z
Community Member
11 months ago

Yes, same...

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#6

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) We had a school uniform, so that was fine. But the occasional 'non-uniform day' would be horrifically embarrassing. I often pretended to forget and turn up in uniform anyway. Now I earn a reasonable amount, I still can't believe I can buy stuff whenever, like a book or a coffee or a new shirt. Part of my 32 year old head of department brain is still a poor 8 year old waiting patiently for Christmas.

reddit , Charlie Report

Eslamala
Community Member
11 months ago

In my country, all schools have uniforms exactly for that reason, so that kids who don't have as many clothes as others don't get bullied or don't feel different.

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#7

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Every piece of produce I ate at home, from 8-18 was grown in our backyard (and trust me we had it all). Seeds are cheaper, and weeding is a great punishment that doesn’t involve hitting your kids…

noneis , Karen and Brad Emerson Report

Eslamala
Community Member
11 months ago

This. Exactly this. And, on the plus side, you know exactly what's in your food.

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#8

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) You can skip a meal by just going to sleep.

Kriiispy , Dekcuf Report

Adam C
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

I never thought about it as a kid but we only eat twice a day in weekends since we don't get lunch in school.

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#9

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) That teachers and lunch ladies are godsends. My teachers always asked me if I was hungry, had clothes, etc. The lunch ladies always gave me my lunch and breakfast for free, with extra food, because they knew it was the best opportunity for me to eat that day.

reddit , Adrian Sampson Report

El muerto
Community Member
11 months ago

in many countries people send the kids to school mostly because they'll get fed at least ones a day...

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#10

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Have you ever had a sugar sandwich? Because I have.

thehicklife Report

Sonja
Community Member
11 months ago

Nope, never. I was a "fat child"- but when I look to the old photos from that time, it wasn't that bad, as they considered it. My mother refused to give me food to school(because "nobody gets fat if they don't eat"), which meant I was too hungry when I got home, so I ate whatever I could find. So it worked the opposite way. She was so "afraid" about me getting fat that she lied about me, that I have diabetes (I don't and never did), so nobody can give me anything sweet.

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#11

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) How bad powdered milk tastes after you've had real milk, and how good powdered milk tastes when you're truly hungry.

sculptedpixels , Marina Shemesh Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
11 months ago

This

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#12

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Going to bed hungry. Or purposefully leaving food so your parents could eat the leftovers since that would be their only meal... That hurts to think about, even now.

Shabbatastic , Phil! Gold Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
11 months ago

When we first immigrated here back in the early 80’s, my parents of course spoke no English, they worked then went to night school, I remember my parents would have all of us 5 eat first, then whatever was left they would eat, after seeing that I only ate less to make sure they had enough

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#13

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Margarine and cinnamon on bread? Cinnamon toast! Ate that all the time growing up

sjone65 , jeffreyw Report

Sandy D
Community Member
11 months ago

I still love that, but I won't use margarine. It shouldn't even qualify as food. Butter isn't that expensive, especially if you use smaller acts per serving. Ate nasty margarine as a kid, tho.

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#14

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) McDonald's can be a place for special occasions only.

mtsiri , Mike Mozart Report

Mihai Mara
Community Member
11 months ago

39, been to McD only once to meet with a friend. Never understood the hype.

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#15

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Packages of socks and underwear and other necessities wrapped up under the Christmas tree. Funny thing was, I thought those were the standard Christmas gifts until I got married and my husband was like, what’s with the socks and underwear for Christmas?

Calabria630 , Jennifer C. Report

Samuel
Community Member
11 months ago

one rich christmas and few weeks later I noticed that some of my mom's jewelleries are gone.

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#16

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) For fun, I would go to the city dump with my grandpa to peel proof of purchase labels off cereal boxes to be redeemed for refunds or prizes. I still have some of the dolls my grandpa got for me.

RachaelMarchini , Redwin Law Report

Iggy
Community Member
11 months ago

Excellent bonding time with grandpa.

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#17

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) I am not attached to the concept of "liking" everything I eat. My son hates it, because I'm like "It's what we're having, and if you don't like it, better luck tomorrow." He's never had to learn from actual experience to be grateful he was getting anything at all.

queenejizabeth , Mark Bonica Report

Mihai Mara
Community Member
11 months ago

"Food is food"

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#18

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) My classmates used to make fun of me because I would wear the same shirt every day and my sneakers had holes in them. This is one of the reasons why we started our charity, Alice's Kids. Thanks for raising this issue, Trevor.

alicewillhelp , Carl Campbell Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
11 months ago

https://aliceskids.org/

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#19

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) The guilt and anxiety in adulthood when you buy anything for yourself.

The need to not feel like you could lose everything at any minute.

Limiting your processions on the chance that any moment you may need to gather everything and leave never to come back.

Cpoh91 , Joe Hall Report

Thay
Community Member
11 months ago

Still living like this... Had a decent run for a couple months then lost it all again.

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#20

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Got a cold? Grab a roll of toilet paper. I still feel like kleenex is a luxury item for the Queen of Sheba but my partner has chipped away at that, apparently it's not actually that expensive.

piranhabrianna , Mike Mozart Report

Pan Narrans
Community Member
11 months ago

I still use toiletpaper. It's convenient and contains storage space for used paper.

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#21

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Feeling guilty about getting Xmas presents as a child

Romeo_Jordan , Allie Towers Rice Report

TheGirlFromTheNorth
Community Member
11 months ago

This broke my heart </3

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#22

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Never answer the phone. It was always the bill collectors looking for money. Same with the front door. Go away nobody's home.

cicalino , Denise Krebs Report

Sum Guy
Community Member
11 months ago

This thread is just depressing

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#23

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) We reused aluminum foil.

MissRussell20 , Marco Verch Report

Yeah, you heard
Community Member
11 months ago

I do this. Not because I'm so poor i have to, but to be less wasteful. Everyone should reuse foil if they can

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#24

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Everything around you can be a toy. My action figure collection included a stick, a mason jar, an off brand Barbie given to me by an older cousin, and a bunch of melted green army men that looked like a giant. We had the best adventures.

thunderfunexpress , Leah Pete Kevin Report

Sonja
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

And you can dress a dough-roller in dress for dolls (made by my grandmother) and pretend it is a doll. I brought it to preschool. We weren't that poor, but my great-grandmother came from really poor family and told me about how she dressed a roller as a doll. In my eyes in those days- everybody had at least one doll, but nobody had a dressed roller. I thought it was something special. And my parents were called to the preschool and asked, if everything is ok at home, if we cannot afford a doll.. it is funny today, but wasn't funny for my parents that day 🙂

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#25

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) The only cheese we could get was the government commodities cheese ( which made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches BTW ) and the peanut butter that came with the commodities made yummy cookies

CallMeBella_74 Report

grotesqueer
Community Member
11 months ago

This breaks my heart. 💔 All these were kids had to worry about the money and wanted to / felt the need to help their parents financially.

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#26

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Drinking a lot of water before or during a meal makes you feel much more full

PopCanPipe , Gideon Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
11 months ago

And the food digests slower so you're not feeling hungry for a longer time.

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#27

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) The generic isle at the grocery store. White boxes with black lettering.

eyeswideopentx Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
11 months ago

Oh man memories, back then our Pathmark super market had their own black and white label brand , was called no-frills

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#28

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) My parents dumpster diving at the mall for birthday presents for us.

BlueWaveCollect , Oran Viriyincy Report

Adam C
Community Member
11 months ago

we dumpster dive for furnitures in 80s

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#29

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) When you're at the end of your pay it is possible to live off instant coffee and biscuits stolen from the office tea room just so your cat can have food.

ratdarkness , jgbarah Report

Adam C
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Two colleague from Poland was in London for training for a week. Company would pay for the food if you get receipt. Course-leader only said there's only 1 vending machine. So they never had lunch they just had some free biscuts from hotel. Day 3 I found a food truck and you'll get a receipt.

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#30

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) being excited to watch a Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network show at a friend's house

reddit , camerazn Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
11 months ago

Even the ads were exciting, sky tv ads! (Sky=cable)

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#31

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Picked up soda bottles from along the roadside to turn in for the deposit money.

StorchDiane , ella Report

Marianne
Community Member
11 months ago

This is a common thing people in Germany do, not only poor folks.

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#32

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Our Christmas toy was from the S&H Green Stamp store. New PJs & underwear completed the gifts. Fridays was soup Mom made from little bits left over during the week. It was pretty random. It emptied the frig, Sat was grocery day. She knew the price of everything in the store.

twodogsmama , Wikimedia Commons Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
11 months ago

My mother was a faithful S&H Green Stamp saver! I remember her stamp books, and how happy she’d be when the6 were finally full.

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#33

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Good hygiene isn't always an easy thing to have.

FrogginBullfish_ , Jim Winstead Report

MellonCollie
Community Member
11 months ago

I want to refer to a deleted comment about how personal hygiene is not a difficult thing. For someone who does not know anything about poverty, it may be difficult to understand that it can in fact easilt become a difficult thing. Dental care for example can be expensive, and the fear of needing an intervention can keep people from making an appointment, leading only to more problems and more fear of the costs. People in poverty do not always have access to the necessary information that seems so obvious to those in a better situation. This lack of access (or even knowing you can access this information) can lead to all sorts of missed opportunities. Good hygiene is not always an easy thing to have, and that's a sad truth.

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#34

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Used plain bread for hotdog AND hamburger buns. Also had a big container of powdered milk in the pantry for the kids to use.

EllistonScott , tracy ducasse Report

Sonja
Community Member
11 months ago

Do you know that you can make a soup from old bread? Oh yeah, we did it at home..

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#35

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) We cut open the toothpaste to get every last drop out of the tube.

CynicalMother , Fuzzy Gerdes Report

Samuel
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

I'm still doing it, no waste!

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#36

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Did you have lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches? On a good day we had bologna on it, too.

VioletaQSmith , justapinch Report

Daria Z
Community Member
11 months ago

I eat lettuce and cream cheese sandwiches for breakfast because I love them :)

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#37

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Nothing was name brand. Instead of Fruit Loops we had Fruity O's
Instead of Fruit Punch we had Red Juice (gallon with a sticker on it that said Red Juice), instead of Chip Ahoy we had Captain Chipleys.

JoieJoliette , Robbie Sproule Report

Slinkman
Community Member
11 months ago

I still get the cheaper knock-offs when they taste good. Some of these even taste better then the product they're based on. Not al that is more expensive is automatically better or tastier.

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#38

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) My mother washed aluminum foil.

TMo4Cards , Public domain Report

Daria Z
Community Member
11 months ago

We washed plastic bags and reused them.

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#39

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) How to invent foods based on the limited amount of what you already have

EggsAndBeerKegs , Luz Report

Sonja
Community Member
11 months ago

I will always admire my great-grandmother (that survived 2 world wars and a long period, when there was not enough of almost everything). She was scrappy, resourceful as nobody I ever knew. She made soup from carrot, beetroot and potato peels. She made spinach from early grass and nettles. She made "schnitzels" from elderflowers...and thats how we found I am alergic to them. Almost died, if she didn't ran to the nearest house with phone (not everybody had phone at home) and called for an ambulance. She was over 90yrs old that time, but ran for my life. Still miss her.

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#40

People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics) Boiled wieners for lunch... wiener water soup for dinner

sunnylass_17 , Mike Mozart Report

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
11 months ago

I think I threw up in my memory just now. My sister would drink the hot dog water on egg noodles. ....

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