Life when you’re well-off and when you’re incredibly poor is like night and day. The difference in your family’s income doesn’t just affect the quality of your food and how you spend your free time—not having enough money impacts nearly every aspect of your life. In ways that you couldn’t imagine.

One redditor, user Jicta, asked their fellow site users who grew up poor to share the “unwritten social expectations of your world growing up,” besides practical and widely-known money-saving measures. The responses have been heartrending. Have a read through them below, dear Pandas, and let us know what you think. Have you ever had to do anything like this while growing up? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section, dear Pandas.

The creator of the Financial Samurai blog, financial expert Sam Dogen, went into detail with Bored Panda about climbing out of poverty. "One of my main reasons for writing 3X a week on Financial Samurai since 2009 is so that I can help people for free reach financial independence sooner, rather than later. Not only is my blog free, but so is my newsletter," he said. We also reached out to the original poster of the question, Redditor Jicta. Read on for both of their insights.

#1

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Not really a societal expectation, but more of a familial one. I never once knew how closely my family toed the poverty line, thanks to how my parents ran things. My dad, though, he would volunteer me all the time to help friends, family, coworkers in need, if I was able to at all. Never let me ask for a single dollar from them, unless it was explicitly "a job" and for, say, a friend of a friend. I helped his coworker move a handful of times. I cut my elderly neighbor's grass. I helped so-and-so connect their internet, or a friend of his to replace their carpet.

I had no idea what my old man was fostering in both me and them. When I moved out on my own, his coworker called, offered to help. Showed up with antiques from his late mother as a housewarming gift for my wife and I. The man who's grass I cut? He passed away, and left me his piano, since he knew I liked to play. The friend with the carpet? Hooked me up with a decent paying job right out of college. The internet-illiterate ones? Solid mechanics, and know my vehicle inside and out.

He was teaching me something so much more than just an exchange of goods and services. These weren't I.O.U.s coming due. The man knew the value of community and friendship, and just how far people would go for someone else if they just cared, even an ounce.

It bleeds over in my day to day, now, too. I may see someone at the grocery store struggling to find a product, so I take the time to help them out. It costs me only a few minutes, and I may never see them again. Or, I find out the person I helped is the very same one standing behind the counter at the DMV, and makes my time just a little bit shorter as a thanks.

TL;DR, my pops taught me the value of kindness.

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Cecilia Herrera
Community Member
7 months ago

Your dad taught you a lesson that I have a feeling you will pass down to any children you may have or will have. What a wonderful legacy to receive and continue in your family!

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#2

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By If your neighbors were in need—you helped them. Like, Mary’s car broke down again, so my brother would go work on her car for free on his day off, and I’d get up extra early all week to drop Mary off at work and get her kids to school. Swing by in my lunch break to grab the kids after school, too. Basically, when folks are in need—you help them, and the same is done in return.

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Daria B
Community Member
7 months ago

This one is also very important. Solidarity is survival. Also, lots of items get shared. For example, you happen to have a stroller and your baby now has grown out of it? You give it to the next pregnant neighbour you know. Or sell it cheap.

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#3

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Keep your hair brushed, your clothes clean, and be articulate and polite in all circumstances. We were not going to be 'trash' just because we were poor. Also, no wearing ripped jeans, even if it's the style. We're not spending money on new pants that look like old worn-out pants.

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Mohsie Supposie
Community Member
7 months ago

Totally agree with not spending money on new clothes that are made to look like old torn clothes. What is that all about anyway? Are they actually recycled clothes?

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Sam, the founder of Financial Samurai, agreed with us that climbing out of poverty is incredibly difficult. However, there are ways to go about this and, in his opinion, anyone stuck in a difficult financial situation should focus on one thing: financial education.

"The most important thing one can do is gain as much financial education as possible to get out of poverty. If there is no internet access at home or mobile data plan, perhaps there is free internet access at the local library, pandemic-willing. We can now learn anything and everything for free on the internet," he explained, sharing that there are always ways to go around obstacles like lacking internet access.

#4

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By If you use the oven during winter, when you’re done, leave it cracked so that the heat warms up the rest of the house more.

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giovanna
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

I have always done this. Why would I let the warmth go to waste? It's also an environmental thing.

Минко Минков
Community Member
7 months ago

How waste? If is still in room will cool it self down using room temperature. Open door will cool the oven faster.

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Andy Acceber
Community Member
7 months ago

By all means, crack the oven after it's turned off, but please NEVER attempt to heat your home with an oven. A running gas oven emits carbon monoxide that could kill you. A running electric oven is safer, but it could still overheat and start a fire. Leaving an electric oven running also is more expensive than running a space heater, so it's not the smartest choice to save money. <3

Carrie de Luka
Community Member
7 months ago

These are all really good points, I'm surprised you were downvoted.

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Helenium
Community Member
7 months ago

i slept on my living floor as the kitchen was in the same room as my bedroom was too cold and i could only choose either heat or food so used the oven keep me warm, also read by torch light and i had £5 a week food money. When my now husband moved in in my fridge all i had was a few millitres of milk. thank god for him. i can eat now and have the heating on when i want.

Knoxy
Community Member
7 months ago

I do this all of the time

Raine Soo
Community Member
7 months ago

I have done this many a time because our heating system was so antiquated.

MizAdeleM
Community Member
7 months ago

I have a modest income, but as I have a big old house, I always let the heat out into the kitchen when done cooking. Did it the other day, when I took the pork tenderloin out.

Tomas Holicka
Community Member
7 months ago

I dry my kitchen towels on mine when I'm done baking. That said, some people here seem to think the heat escapes through the power socket back into the wires.

Sami
Community Member
7 months ago

Didn't do this growing up, but I sure do it now

Elisabeth Breckenridge
Community Member
7 months ago

I've already paid for that heat, might as well use it. Also it feels so nice and toasty in the cold of Canadian winters.....

Rissie
Community Member
7 months ago

That's a sweet sentiment, but that heat is also coming out of the oven and into the house if you don't open it. Just much more gradually.

Joey Marlin
Community Member
7 months ago

Gradually might not be felt in anyway that is sufficiently effective. That's the point. Short hot burst of warmth. Doesn't last as long but lovely while it does. I don't actually do this myself because I have a hot kitchen anyway and my oven is in a stupid location where the door would be in the way but I can see that if you have been cooking and are maybe doing the washing up or some other kitchen centric task then you can enjoy the heat from the oven while you do. It's a choice of high heat for a short time or low heat for a long time. Same amount but utilised differently.

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Pangolin Pal
Community Member
7 months ago

I do this, too! But I guess it depends on your situation - my oven is towards the back of the kitchen, so no risk of walking into the door. Also, my oven gets insanely hot - I have to set the temperature at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit lower than I want, or it will incinerate my food - and my apartment is always cold in the winter, so I always take advantage of the little nuclear reactor in my kitchen to heat the place up a bit more. . .

Samantha Comerford
Community Member
7 months ago

When I was a single mother, this was my only neat for our home . It was freezing and so expensive.

Tapio Magnussen
Community Member
7 months ago

If you leave the door of the oven open after cooking, the strong heat that escapes go direct to the plastic controls, front case liner, also even up to kitchen worktop... you may be accelerating degradation of these elements. But it's true the instant hot feeling when it's cold, is great. Just like when you ride in winter for a long while and you put your hands on the exhaust pipe to heat them a bit.

Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
7 months ago

We do that, too.

SirPatTheCat
Community Member
7 months ago

I've never heard of this, but I do live in a desert so that could be part of the reason haha

SeidWolf
Community Member
7 months ago

i do the same with showers, helps with both heat and overly dry air

Johanne Larochelle
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, I still do that.... and the winter is pretty cold so sometimes I stay there just to enjoy the little burst of warmth.

Petra Schaap
Community Member
7 months ago

we had a small separate kitchen when I grew up and it was always freezing cold (and we didnt have a kitchentable in it so no meals) All that heat would be gone when it reached the rest of the house, no matter door closed or open, but i understand that people leave it open when they have dinner or stay longer.

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
7 months ago

I don't know what is happening on this post. I think people are talking from different places in the world, with different kinds of oven. In my country ovens use energy to cool off, when turned off, so if you open it in winter, you just save "some" energy because it will cool off quickly and release the heat in your house. SIMPLE. If i had a toaster oven that won't even came to my mind. And i won't be mad because some others do differently with different kind of ovens, in differents countries.

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David Retsler
Community Member
7 months ago

@Daniel- Dude, haven't you caught on yet or does getting frustrated turn you on? Even I know when to give it up.

Billy The Kid
Community Member
7 months ago

He gets so frustrated i bet he is letting of a vibrant heat.

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Simon White
Community Member
7 months ago

Been there, still do that

Coco
Community Member
7 months ago

I still do this. yes.

Iggy
Community Member
7 months ago

Also handy for getting the last bit of damp out of clothes from the line (on clothes rack at a safe distance).

Lord Mysticlaw
Community Member
7 months ago

I just don't use the oven, electricity is way too expensive. I use it on birthdays and Christmas.

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
7 months ago

Oh i had an epiphany! Some people think that "energy" is not about environment. It is! I live between two nuclear devices and i have some pills for my thyroid, free, just in case, in my letterbox two times a year. It is not the cost of energy, it is THE COSTS of energy. If i may don't cost, let me be, don't lecture me as a biologist because every biologists had a physics background. Let me see how you will deal with any disaster. SMILING FACE

Boris Mohar
Community Member
7 months ago

The heat cannot be contained if the door is closed. It just leaks out slower.

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
7 months ago

My parents did this, and my father was a pharmacist, so we weren’t poor. But they were both Depression kids, and my mother’s family lost a bundle in the Crash of ‘29 (my father’s family didn’t play the stock market and fared so much better), so even though they were solidly middle class, they still did very frugal stuff—-like this. I still do this now, because I learned the habit from them.

Rebecca Renner
Community Member
7 months ago

I still do this, too. Free heat!

Daphne Williams
Community Member
7 months ago

That would happen anyway. It doesn't matter if you leave the door open.

Carrie de Luka
Community Member
7 months ago

Might as well have a short burst of intense heat and enjoy it rather than a miserly leakage that you can barely feel. That's the point being missed by a few. I know all the science but if I'm cleaning up the kitchen after I've cooked I might as well make it toasty for the time I'm in there. Sure, then the heat is gone quicker but I'm off to some other part of the house anyway.

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Mary Peace
Community Member
7 months ago

My Mother used to tell me to SHUT the oven after use, because if it was left open, someone would walk into the door and hurt themselves.

Billy The Kid
Community Member
7 months ago

I had not long ago read this tip and i do it all the time now.

Maria Lorentzen
Community Member
7 months ago

Still do this

Paul Z.
Community Member
7 months ago

We always do that...

J Michele Caza
Community Member
7 months ago

I do this all the time

Cathal
Community Member
7 months ago

Still do this today!

Red Ruffensor
Community Member
7 months ago

Hey, I have that same stove.

Brandy Grote
Community Member
7 months ago

Be CERTAIN your pilot light will not go off! There are MANY MANY cases of DEATH associated with using the gas oven for heat!!

Tami
Community Member
7 months ago

I've heard that helps the element last a little longer by cooling it down faster. But I read that in an old book on housekeeping, and don't see anything about it from a quick Google search.

Janine Hunt-Jackson
Community Member
6 months ago

But don't try to use your oven as your only heat source. Your gas or electric bills will skyrocket!

R. Lynx
Community Member
6 months ago

Always. Old college trick.

Myxomatosis
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

I realize that this goes against thermodynamics, but when it 45°f in your apartment and the landlord says, "Yeah, we shut your valve off. Turn your oven on. You're lucky we let you live here." TO A TWELVE YEAR OLD you don't give a fvck about science. My dad and I were so poor we slept in the kitchen that night while we waited for the state to get them to turn our heat - included in our rent - back on. That was a tough winter and the stress made my Dad's MS come out of remission. Edit: typos

Amanda Hunter
Community Member
7 months ago

No need to waste fuel.

Nancy Lynch
Community Member
7 months ago

I can't do this. It's a safety thing.

Sue Knerl
Community Member
7 months ago

Did that today.

Mumof1
Community Member
7 months ago

I still do this.

Charles Christopher
Community Member
7 months ago

Baking was done before bedtime so the heat would make getting to sleep easier.

JD Lee
Community Member
7 months ago

For some of us, it wasn't about being environmental, it was about survival. Two very different realities.

Argie Smith
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

I still do this

Sharon Madsen
Community Member
7 months ago

I do this!

Shari Story
Community Member
7 months ago

I still do this.

Emily Lynch
Community Member
7 months ago

Same here.

M Kate McCulloch
Community Member
7 months ago

I still do that! It makes for a lovely warm kitchen.

Franc Esca
Community Member
7 months ago

Everyone does this. Thus is not a poor thing

Seabeast
Community Member
7 months ago

I don't know why I got down-voted for pointing out that you get the same amount of heat with the door closed. Unless you leave the range fan running full blast, that heat is still there. It doesn't run down a drain or vanish into the walls.

Seabeast
Community Member
7 months ago

It will heat up the house whether you leave the door open or not. It just loses the heat more slowly with the door closed.

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
7 months ago

I haven’t used an oven since I got a toaster oven. Ovens use a ton of gas or electric.

Kevin Camp
Community Member
7 months ago

This is how I was raised too. Don't waste the heat.

Flavia Slag
Community Member
7 months ago

Yep. Esp when the landlord won't turn up the heat and you are freezing trying to get dressed for school.

Flavia Slag
Community Member
7 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

Suebee70
Community Member
7 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

Dave P
Community Member
7 months ago

very energy inefficient and way more expensive than buying a plug in space heater, even the old ones from the 70's

Dave P
Community Member
7 months ago

when you keep it open when cooking it forces the oven to use extra fuel, and expending more energy

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Daria B
Community Member
7 months ago

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Isn't it also an actual rule for maintenance of the appliance?

Remi Flynne
Community Member
7 months ago

Why would an oven need to be left open for maintenance? 🤔 Sorry, I may be missing something here.

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Il Douchey Farker
Community Member
7 months ago

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A closed oven will emit the same amount of heat into the house as it cools, just more gradually. No extra heat, no extra savings from opening the door.

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
7 months ago

Our gas oven is still using energy after turned off in France, it ventilates to cool off, using more energy that the one used to cook, maybe people are not talking about the same ovens?

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Ciffman
Community Member
7 months ago

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No need to open the oven. All of the heat still goes into your kitchen. Science.

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
7 months ago

Or it goes out the wall against which your stove is placed. Unless your stove is in the center of the room. SCIENCE.... The wall will be reallllllly warm. Behind the stove. Wow. useful.

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#5

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Always return anything you borrow in better condition. People will be eager to loan you things.

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Sum Guy
Community Member
7 months ago

That seems like a good rule altogether

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#6

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Overall, independence at a young age. But also responsibility. You cook, clean, and pitch in before you are asked. If you’re waiting for an adult to make dinner, you’re going hungry. Also, poor doesn’t mean dirty. You keep what you have nice, clean, and well cared for.

Seriously, I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anything in the world.

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Daria B
Community Member
7 months ago

"Also, poor doesn’t mean dirty. You keep what you have nice, clean, and well cared for." This! This is a very important thing to remember. Many poor people don't look poor, so don't be quick to judge.

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Bored Panda also wanted to get Sam's take on what people who are exhausted and live in poverty should prioritize when they're forced between buying food, paying for rent, getting gas, and other important decisions.

"Paying for food is obviously the #1 necessity to spend money on. Fortunately for renters, there is an eviction moratorium in many parts of the world during the pandemic. Many renters don't have to pay their mortgage if they've faced COVID-19 hardship. However, the moratorium will eventually end given landlords have bills to pay as well. Therefore, the second focus is on shelter. Try to either work out an agreement with the landlord or make contingency plans with friends and relatives once the moratorium is over," he advised.

#7

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By People actually order take-out food like every night. I still think that's mad.

Literally once or twice a year for us growing up.

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Joonscrab
Community Member
7 months ago

In my country this is pretty normal? (Not ordering take out everyday ,I mean) but we definitely have it more than twice a year... We just cook amazing food at home and eat that lol... It saves money and makes us happy

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#8

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By My parents where great at hiding that we where poor. They made sure we always had christmas presents and a birthday present. And we would order pizza at christmas. All our clothing came from other relatives or charity shops. But when i started working full time and went to live on my own? Just then i realized truth that we poor. But still looking back i have never had the feeling of being left out when it came too other childeren. And i still thank them for it.

And now all the kids have moved out? There the most generous and loving grandparents you could wish for a kid.

But the biggest lessen i have learned is help others out. So every time i have something that i don't use or want? I give it away for free. Every time my daughter go's up a size in clothes? I give the old clothes to a charity that helps people with childeren who can't afford it. And it gives me a great feeling ever single time i do it.

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giovanna
Community Member
7 months ago

This is amazing. Your parents did a great job

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#9

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By I grew up in a trailer. In fourth grade, a girl was having a birthday party and needed addresses for invitations. The next day she told me her parents uninvited me because I lived in the trailer. That was a new thing I learned I was supposed to be embarrassed about.

I guess just expecting to have to deal with other people's sh**ty parents sometimes.

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Helen Haley
Community Member
7 months ago

Not having any friends over because where you live is too 'poor' and no one elses parents will let their kids stay over. Totally get it.

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Redditor Jicta, the author of the thread who is based in the United States, told Bored Panda that they grew up in a middle-class family but have known people who were both wealthier and poorer than they were. "I was reflecting recently on some of the social expectations of my own background and realized probably everyone experiences variants of that. So I just thought I'd ask," they told us what inspired them to create the thread in the first place.

The responses to the question they posed affected them emotionally more than they thought they would. "The embarrassment people felt as children when they couldn't afford what their classmates or other peers did was really sad to me. It made me think about how many people I interact with every day are probably facing things that they'd be so embarrassed for anyone else to know. That's not limited to financial pressures, but that's definitely one big area," redditor Jicta explained.

#10

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By You never brought the field trip permission slips home because you knew better than to make your mom feel guilty she couldn’t pay the $5-20 fee to let you go.

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howohowo
Community Member
7 months ago

Wait- some schools have parents pay to take students to field trips!?

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#11

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Being raised by a single mother, she instilled the belief that school went elementary, middle, high, then college. There wasn’t a question as to whether or not college was optional. She did everything in her power to raise two boys to live more successful lives.

My brother and I both graduated college and graduate studies (MA) and our starting jobs were both with salaries that were over double what my mom made. Growing up I wish things where different but as an adult, I cherish the values and experiences instilled by my mom.

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Vorknkx
Community Member
7 months ago

Same in my country - unless your parents are hopelessly poor, they would constamntly remind you how important it is to get a university degree, if you want to amount to something in life. Forget about leisure time - you have to study hard and get the best scholarship you can. And when you do go to college, the family would make every possible sacrifice to make sure you can graduate.

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#12

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Eating stale or close to sell by date, food. No brand-name anything. Adding water to shampoo to get it to last longer. Reuse everything. Make-do or do without. Free samples count as a meal. To name a few.

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Ozacoter
Community Member
7 months ago

To be fair we were low middle class and we did all of this too. I still prefer buying white brands unless it is a very specific thing.

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In Jicta's opinion, we can all fight child poverty on all fronts. From providing direct financial support to investing in how we educate teachers. "I really like the bailout's large child credit being proposed, and hope it stays this year and in the future. Also things like educating our teachers on how to ask questions in a way that doesn't highlight the differences between kids' experiences based on their parents' financial situations."

They continued: "And lastly if we can normalize getting sustainable financial help and learning basic financial literacy for adults, that would benefit kids. I noticed how many kids were in that predicament because their parents had such poor money management skills. But basically, we just have to be able to talk about money as a society, not pretend like it's not a thing."

#13

It doesn't matter of you don't like the (food, clothes, shoes, toys etc) take it, say thank you and be appreciative

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Ozacoter
Community Member
7 months ago

This should be a general rule.

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#14

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Turn off all lights behind you. Take as quick showers as you can. Recycle pop cans. Drive slower because it conserves gas. Plan your trip so that you don't have to drive unnecessary routes and waste gas. Be OK with the heat always at 68 or below (use a blanket if you're cold).

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TheGirlFromTheNorth
Community Member
7 months ago

Poor or not poor, you recycle pop cans. In my country at least...

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#15

If someone was nice enough to cook you a meal you better help(or at least offer to) clear the table and wash the dishes after.

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Fylo Meow
Community Member
7 months ago

isn't this what everyone should do though?

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The number of people living below the poverty line in the United States was a whopping 33.98 million in 2019, according to Statista. The number really is huge and speaks volumes about the daily suffering endured by Americans. However, the situation in the country has been getting much better recently, year by year.

Back in 2014, the number of Americans living in absolute poverty peaked at 46.66 million. So for nearly 13 million people, their living situation has improved at least a bit. Unfortunately, these are pre-Covid19 pandemic numbers. We’ll need to wait a year or more to get the full picture of how the lockdowns and massive changes to how society functions have affected the poor. Odds are, the situation might’ve gotten worse.

#16

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By If someone buys you food at a restaurant order as cheaply as possible even if they tell you order whatever you want. Used to get death glares from parents if I ordered something 10 bucks or over at a place where average prices was 10 bucks. If you can get a burger and fries for 8 you better be eating a burger.

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Ozzie Ogawa
Community Member
7 months ago

I'm so lucky to have friend who paid for food back in college, since my allowance was much smaller. I wouldn't survive without them.

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#17

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By We were very poor growing up. You never ate the last of anything without asking first. Portions were small and limited. When I was 11 I was invited over to a then friend's house. I was floored by their house and furnishings. Very opulent compared to mine. Lunch time came. Her mom had set the table for sandwiches. Everything laid out, 3 different breads, all sorts of meats, condiments and fruit. At my house lunch was a sandwich with white day old bread with peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes we would have those land o frost thin sliced meats. We were only allowed 2 slices of the meat per sandwich. So, at this friends house, I make my sandwich with one slice of ham because it was way thicker then the stuff at home. The mom kinda freaks out..."what kind of sandwich is that? You need to put more on it, thats not enough." I explain that's what we do at home. They were horrified. Ended up sending me home with a "care package" of food. My parents never let me go to her house again because they were embarrassed I told them we were poor.

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giovanna
Community Member
7 months ago

Well, I'm sure they meant well, but they shouldn't have sent you home with food. Of course it's embarrassing for the parents. They could have invited you more to their place instead.

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#18

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By The oldest kids babysit the youngest kids.

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White Paper Tsuru
Community Member
7 months ago

And shared bedrooms. 2-3 kids in an apartment bedroom

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The fight against poverty is multifaceted and complex. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple and clear-cut solution to the problem (if only printing more money didn’t result in greater inflation…). But it boils down to society providing support and opportunities for families that aren’t well off, as well as those same families doing everything in their power to get out of the so-called cycle of poverty.

Focusing on financial literacy, improving your education, aiming for a better job, finding a home closer to work and for less rent, reaching out to the community for help, getting rid of credit card debt bit by bit—all of these are small steps that can help move a family out of absolute poverty and into the working, middle, and even upper classes. This is, of course, far easier said than done. When you’re exhausted, hungry, and beaten down, it’s hard to find the energy and willpower to make even small changes—all you want is sleep, food, and a moment of peace.

#19

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Keep your aspirations to yourself. Telling anyone in your household/social strata about your plans to get out and do better may be met with bitterness and downright ridicule. People will call you uppity for wanting to go to school or stupid for having a career goal that isn't modest and local and vaguely dead-end. People will tell you that you have no common sense simply because you refuse to see the world in terms of pure survival.

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David Retsler
Community Member
7 months ago

This is called the "Crab Bucket" mentality. Ever try to pull a single crab out of a crab pot?

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#20

You're not hurt unless you're bleeding.

If you are bleeding, don't bleed on the carpet.

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CATMONSTER2018
Community Member
7 months ago

Gar... this one strikes home...

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#21

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Going to the doctor isn't an option until your fever is sustained at 104, a bone is broken, or the tooth rotted and won't fall out on it's own.

I am in my late 30's with full insurance and still have a hangup about going for medical care.

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k1ddkanuck
Community Member
7 months ago

As a Canadian, this hurts to here. Our healthcare system isn't perfect, but s**t, you guys deserve better. We still pay for ambulances, dental and pharmaceutical care, but not going to the emergency ward of a hospital because you can't afford it is f***ing bonkers to us north of the border.

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Poverty, real poverty, can have massive negative consequences on children as they’re growing up. Lacking access to proper food can lead to malnutrition. What’s more, poverty leads to inadequate health care and means that kids don’t have the same access to education (and later on, employment) as others.

Jicta’s thread got over 56.5k upvotes and over 17.2k comments which just goes to show that the topic is incredibly important to lots of redditors. And it’s a thread full of life lessons for all of us, no matter our background.

#22

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Not eating lunch because it you either "just ate breakfast" or "dinners only a few hours away you'll be fine"

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Ozzie Ogawa
Community Member
7 months ago

Happened a lot back in college, luckily most of my classes started at 1 A.M so i could wake up late.

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#23

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Education is the only way out of the horrible situation. This was made very clear to me right from a young age. I remember everyone in my family checking in on my grades and plans for the future. Almost on a monthly basis! Helped my extensively in the long run.

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Helen Haley
Community Member
7 months ago

Only if you lived near a relatively good school. If it were a school that had completely given up, great grades doesn't do much if you aren't actually learning the topic. Education equality should be a huge focus for this country.

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#24

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Museum, amusement park, skiing,and skating? That’s for rich people.

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Mohammad Ammar
Community Member
7 months ago

Aren't most museums free or really cheap for nationals?

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Reading through the thread and all of the responses can hit you like a truck. Some of us remember being in those exact same situations. While others (who had the luck of living a comfortable middle or even upper-class life) realized just how emotionally tough you have to be when you’re poor. There’s no room for whining or weakness when you’ve no money, have piling debts, and aren’t sure where your next meal will be coming from or if you’ll end being evicted.

#25

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Homemade birthday cakes, homemade pizza, we NEVER went out to eat. Fast food/restaurants were a waste of money. Soda was a treat, as was sugared cereal. You got sox and undies as stocking stuffers at Christmas. You wore your clothes 2-3 times before washing them unless they were obviously dirty or smelly. You washed and dried zipper bags to reuse. We never used paper towels to clean.

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J. Zingler
Community Member
7 months ago

I would prefer homemade everytime.

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#26

Number one rule of growing up poor. Avoid buying anything nice for yourself and feel absolutely guilty if you do.

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Helenium
Community Member
7 months ago

yeh thats me now, i glue and sew and repair all my clothes but if someone wants anything lol im throwing money at them

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#27

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By In the UK- do not answer the door. Do not answer the phone. When the man is looking through the window, make sure you can't be seen. Do not tell anyone who knocks on the door where the parents work.

This turned out to be doorstep lenders like Provident- no idea how they are still around these days.

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Samantha Comerford
Community Member
7 months ago

God I remember this well . Hiding behind the couch.

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#28

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By You get a job when you’re 15, and it becomes more important than high school.

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Helen Haley
Community Member
7 months ago

At least one. And unofficial jobs before that. Cleaning or delivery or something.

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#29

Keep your hair brushed, your clothes clean, and be articulate and polite in all circumstances. We were not going to be "trash" just because we were poor.

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Tami
Community Member
7 months ago

Take care of your teeth too. Fixing them later is crazy expensive, even if you're not poor.

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#30

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By We weren't allowed to do any kind of extra curricular activities. So, no instruments, no joining any kind of sports or girl scouts or anything that required an upfront investment for uniforms or the season. Walmart shoes.

My dad once said I wasn't really in need of glasses, that I just wanted to look like all my four eyed friends? lol (spoiler alert, totally needed them)

Off brand everything.

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MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
7 months ago

yep, i grew up poor in post soviet country, so no walmart, but can relate to pretty much everything

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#31

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Never fill up the gas tank. You don't want to be in a situation where you have gas in your car but no groceries.

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von Funnyname
Community Member
7 months ago

Never go under a quarter tank because you can't trust the gauges on older cars and it won't cost you as much as when it's on E

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#32

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Generous borrowing and “burning” culture. Everything you own is available to be borrowed by other poor people. My family had an extensive movie collection (especially when we could record movies from cable to VHS tapes), and our neighborhood friends were welcome to borrow what they needed. Games, movies, CDs. We swapped and borrowed a lot. Often times, it was only long enough to burn a copy to have for oneself.

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Vorknkx
Community Member
7 months ago

Story of my life. Also - becoming an expert on finding pirated copies of movies, software, video games (and cracks for them)...

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#33

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Most meals were "experiments" made from the food we got from the food pantry.

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LoveThePanda
Community Member
7 months ago

Survival meals that are still eaten to this day, but not so much as an experiment anymore

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#34

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Going to fast food (with any adult), you only order off of the dollar menu.

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BIG FOOT
Community Member
7 months ago

I always order off the dollar menu no matter how much money I have or if I'm with someone its just better in my opinion

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#35

35 People Who Grew Up Poor Share What Unwritten Rules They Abided By To Get By Its funny now seeing my leftovers as a bonus snack and not part of the next days meal.

Had some weird lunches packed for me. Like cream cheese and olives in a burrito wrap.

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Vorknkx
Community Member
7 months ago

In SE Europe, that would be liver sandwiches... (shudder)

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