People Divulge Subtle Signs That Someone Grew Up Poor

Man putting a sandwich in a to go box
Photo by Conor Brown on Unsplash

It is estimated that nearly 37.9 million people in the United States currently live in poverty.

A shameful statistic, to say the least.

Challenging as it is, however, growing up poor is nothing to necessarily be ashamed of, as many influential people in this world came from humble beginnings.

Even so, many people who grew up poor and found success and financial stability in adulthood still try to hide their childhood from others. But those in the know, or who had the same experience, tend to notice the subtle, tell-tale signs of those whose childhood was anything but luxurious.

Redditor Puzzled-Painter3301 was curious to learn how people could tell if someone grew up poor, leading them to ask:

"What's a sign that someone grew up poor?"

Their Relationship With Food

"When you can’t finish a meal, pulling it apart to at least eat the meat because 'that’s the expensive part'."

"Or just force feeding yourself any meal you buy because you have to feel like you didn’t waste."

"Being hypersensitive to any light left on, door left open, opening the fridge too much, running water too long, etc, because you’re trained to minimize utilities."

"Never pouring more than 1/2 a glass of any drink when at someone else’s house (except water) because you don’t want to be seen as wasteful/gluttonous."

"Making weird snacks out of food that isn’t supposed to be a snack - ex."

"Eating dry ramen noodles like chips, Kool Aid with sugar and your finger to make your own fun dip, eating Kraft cheese slices/cold hotdogs/other things that are normally just a part of a meal."- kountryt

"Scanning the menu for the cheapest options possible when at a restaurant."

“'It’s ok the soup is really enough for me.'”- Call_the_Green_Man

"I grew up poor and my husband grew up middle class."

'Whenever we have guests, I am constantly asking people if they got ENOUGH food."

"'Is anyone still hungry? I can make something else!'"

"My husband will inquire about the quality of the food and if it is to everyone's liking."

"I think when you grow up poor, food is very much quantity over quality."- NoMaineKoonsAllowed

Resistance To Let Go

"Never replacing anything unless there’s absolutely no way to use the old thing anymore, and going to absurd lengths to keep something 'still useable'.”- boymanpal

"Odd hoarding behaviours of things you probably should have gotten rid of out of fear you won’t be able to replace them easily."

"I keep a stack of boxes broken down because there’s still this fear in the back of my mind that I’ll have to move again at a moment’s notice."

"I make a decent salary now and have lived where I am for nearly 7 years, but I still can’t part with those boxes despite the space they take up."

"Under the bed, behind the chest of drawers."

"Yeah. I still have ‘em."- Mr_Lumbergh

"Difficulty throwing things away."- OldSamVimes


"Not that wealthier people can't be sentimental.'

"But my dad, whose parents grew up in the rural South during the great depression, wants to keep every little thing of my mom's."


"He would prefer to keep her bedroom as is."

"I always wondered why he wanted to keep it like that."

"But then I realized, the only thing we have left is my mom's ashes in an urn."

"There was no funeral, no memorial, (she didn't want any and there was no one to come anyways) no tombstone."

"Nothing that feels tangible, personal, etc."

"We don't have the luxury of beautiful personal mausoleums, or headstones, or anything else in the Western death culture."

"My mom's bedroom, and all her stuff is the closest we will ever have to a memorial for my mom.'

"It's a tomb, without a body in it."- InsomWriter

Always Looking For A Sale

"Never buying clothing at full price."

"It just feels illegal."- Totally-trapped

Justifying A Purchase

"For me, I have what I call 'poverty mentality.'"

"While I can afford new shoes and clothes, they have to be falling apart for me to replace."- ciarrabobeara

Appreciation For Nice Things

"Still being marveled by an ice maker and side by side doors."- Difficult_Let_1953

"Realizing I wanted to have the house that all my kids friends came over to hang out at because that wasn't really an option for big chunks of my childhood."- sykojaz

Strictly Sticking To A Budget

"Immense financial anxiety."- natandsneks

Hiding Their Smile

"In the US I’d say poor dental history or teeth."

"Dental work is a luxury."

"Overall, I’d say many hoarders grew up poor because they are so afraid of not having something if they’ll need it so they keep everything."- Leadsingerofthebandd

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In fact, one can only admire people with an undying appreciation for beautiful things and who never underestimate the value of one dollar.

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