Kids Who Grew Up Poor Share Realities Their Rich Friends Just Didn't Understand.

There are so many differences in lifestyles between people who have massive amounts of money and those who have very little, even down to the tiniest detail. This can change people's perspective on life, for better or worse.

Below are stories of people who grew up without much money, and things that rich kids wouldn't understand. Check them out. A source to even more stories can be found on the last page.

Moving past all the usual material stuff, one thing that sucked for me growing up was that I couldn't just up and go places when invited, even if it was free or their parents covered the cost of the activity. My mother was always broke and though we had a car, gas was reserved for the work commute only. I couldn't just "get a ride" from my mom and she never had spare change for the bus. Every dollar was accounted for.

I got a lot of "come to the movies with us, and don't worry I'll pay for you just be across the city by 5:30."

It sucked having to explain yet again that no money meant no money for anything, even a ride.


Having your entire wardrobe consist of the clothes your older brother grew out of.

That and only ever getting to stay in a Motel 6 when traveling.


I've had this good old iPhone 4 for coming up on 5 years now. "Why don't you upgrade?" 

Yeah, because I just can't.


When I was young and super poor, my rich friends would get mad at me for not having the money to do things with them. From their perspective, I was just ditching them all the time.

More recently, my significant other (who comes from a wealthy family) and I are common law official and moving towards being married. He totally freaked out about the fact that I have student loans. Apparently he didn't realize that a kid who grew up below the poverty line wouldn't have school paid for them in full.

In other words: rich kids don't seem to get that money can be scarce.


The feeling of being able to afford your first pair of nice sneakers that you wanted for like a year.

Appreciating great meals and nice clothes.

But I can't say for sure since I don't know how rich kids feel about these things. Maybe they experience similar feelings.


I guess they wouldn't understand having your parents "borrow" money you saved up to pay the bills. 

That living paycheck to paycheck is an actual thing. Late payments and having cell phone/electricity/water cut off - those are real too. 

Visiting Cash Advanced stores with your parents. .

The amount of unsupervised alone time spent growing up. Both my parents worked all day and couldn't afford summer camp or anything like that. In the summers I would just hang out in the house alone or with the other neighborhood kids while the parents were at work. 

Having no money for Christmas trees/ fireworks/ Halloween costumes to celebrate holidays.


That when you turn 16 you don't get a car, you just get to be 16.


That Santa doesn't visit some kids.


It's weird also dealing with these people in your early twenties. Broke to them means only getting the cheap beer at the bar or only ordering takeout once or twice a week. No, I can't just call my parents for money when I'm stretching things pretty thin. It's mind-blowingly frustrating at times.


The overwhelming excitement when your parents can afford a new video game for you.


Not being able to do something because of a lack of money. I hate that my kids have missed out on so many things because we simply didn't have extra money to pay for it (sports, camps, school t-shirts, school photos, after school programs, school trips, pool passes, etc). It sucks. For us as parents and for them. I've seen their friends (and their friends' parents), who have more money fail to understand that we can't just pull an extra $100 out of thin air. Sure, we could, but then there would be no food that week.

The flipside is our kids are extremely grateful when we can do something extra, and I have seen some of their friends be ungrateful brats because they just expect to be able to do whatever they want because money isn't an issue. 


Being left out of an activity because you can't afford it (field trips, movies, etc.)


Getting a serious injury and trying to make it look like no big deal so you avoid people asking stuff like "how long did your doctor say it would take to heal?" If you're poor and you don't have insurance, the smallest medical expense would put your family in debt. So you just never get it checked out.

Seriously, I've broken my foot and not even bothered with crutches. I could barely walk, but I had to tough it out and act like nothing was wrong.


I went to school with rich kids. They didn't get it when I said my parents wouldn't allow me to do something or that I didn't have money.


You can tell how rich or poor someone is by how easily they spend $20.00.

Rich kids spend 20 dollars like the middle class would spend 5-10, and like how the poor would spend 1-5.


My cousin grew up rich (I grew up poor to lower middle class) and good god is he a little brat.

For Christmas I would ask for something, and if I didn't get it I knew it was probably because my parents couldn't afford it and I'd just try to enjoy what I did get. I've seen my cousin throw a fit because what he asked for wasn't in the first few gifts he opened. He also once threw a fit because he didn't get enough presents, and told his uncles he was going to close his eyes, and when he opened them he wanted more presents. His family just laughed. If I had done that, every gift I got would have gone back to the store.

He took it for granted that when they went to the store he'd get a toy. I knew not to even ask for a toy unless we were in the Dollar Store.

He would constantly tell us our house and cars were worse than the house and the cars his parents drove. He asked why my parents couldn't just get good jobs and buy better stuff.

During one family vacation, he and his older brother asked to fly to their summer home in Virginia because they didn't want to go on the long car ride. So their parents bought them plane tickets.

On one occasion he wasn't being awful, just genuinely confused. It was a really hot day during the summer and he was at our house. He asked why we didn't have the AC on and we explained that running the AC was expensive, so we only turned it on when it got into the upper 90s. He couldn't understand why we didn't just pay the bill.


Rich kids can never understand the pain, humiliation, helplessness and sadness of seeing your mom walk in the door with a box of food that you know she had to beg the food-bank to let her have.

Thinking about this now still makes me upset, but when I was a kid it was a fact of life that I was too young to embrace the burden of. Times like that made me grow up way too fast. While other kids might've just complained about frivolous stuff, seeing my mother go through that really left me feeling upset and helpless.


How good beans and cornbread really is.


That graduating from high school or going to university is a really big deal for some people.


This isn't always true. But I have lived in poor neighborhoods and rich ones.

I've noticed that poor people are very close to their family and friends. They have to because that's how they survive.

When a rich person's car breaks down, they can just whip out their cell phone, get it towed to a mechanic, write a check and move on with their life.

When a poor person's car breaks down, they have to call Uncle Ted. because Uncle Ted sometimes knows how to fix cars.

Rich people can have a stay-at-home nanny to watch their kids. Poor people have to drop off their kids with a family member while they go to work.


That they have some opportunities based on their parents' wealth and not always on their hard work.


No, I can't spend a semester in Europe.


When I was little, my parents bought things for me on birthdays, but we definitely were not rich. Nothing was better than saving to get a new pack of playing cards and rifling through it to see what new ones you got. Two of the richer kids in my class got cards all the time, but they didn't mean much to them since they could have new ones whenever. They'd lose them and damage them and it killed me.


Not having anything to eat except Kraft Dinner and canned soup.


The suffering of needing something you can't afford: medical treatment, new clothes/shoes, adequate nutritious food, etc. Growing up, you may feel you "need" a lot of things, but when you REALLY need something, you know because when you don't get it there is acute suffering. 

That suffering is walking to school in shoes with no soles that you repatched with duct tape, not because it was cool, but because you literally had no other option. Going through a winter with a coat that was cheap when first bought, secondhand when you got it two years ago, and it doesn't really fit anymore so you can't zip it shut. Living on school lunches (at least when I was a kid, they were free) but still coming home starving and feeling lucky to eat ramen. Losing teeth because your parents can't afford to get them fixed. Suffering in sickness because you can't afford medical care. I've seen both my mother and my sister almost die of disease: pneumonia and scarlet fever because we couldn't afford medical care.

Children suffer the most from this kind of inhumane legislation prohibiting universal healthcare. Adults have fully formed immune systems. Children don't, and they don't understand what's happening to them or their parents, and they don't understand why their parents can't stop the suffering.


How awesome it is to buy a cheap Honda that'll run forever.


If I break this, my family cannot afford to just buy me another one.


Filling out FAFSA without the help of your parents.


I once had a conversation with one of my wealthier friends and she couldn't comprehend that we didn't have maids. At one point she asked, "Well then who does all the house work and stuff?!" Completely flabbergasted. When I explained to her that we all pitched in when I was growing up she groaned.


Trying to cook and serve dinner loud enough to cover up the sound of your mom crying in her bedroom because she can't afford to pay the electricity this month. 

Putting on a cheerful face and acting super chipper for your younger siblings as you pack your bags to stay at a roach-infested motel because no electricity will get you all taken away by CPS. 

Walking five miles round-trip to buy dollar-store groceries on your food stamps because your mom can't afford a car or the bus. Walking seven miles round-trip to see the Medicaid doctor after being without your medication for three months because that's how long it takes to get an appointment. 

Having to pack everything you've ever owned into two bags, trying to decide what portions of your life can go in the garbage can, because your landlord died and your family got evicted.



"It wasn't me!"

There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.

Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked:

Redditors who were once considered suspect of a crime they did not commit, what's it like being held under suspicion and how did it affect your life?

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