The rich lead radically different lives from the poor.

But so do the middle class—and others with even less means than they.

When you don't have any money to spare, you'll find creative ways to survive.

You quickly learn that you can add cheap "bulk" to your meal by eating plenty of rice and beans.

You discover that drinking water can satiate you when there's no food around to speak of.

Redditor walterwhite997 asked:

"What is something you only know if you grew up poor?"

"Your mom..."

Your mom having to borrow money from you to pay for food/bills.


I had a friend who lived like this and they did not grow up with a healthy attitude toward money. It was heartbreaking to see.

"The embarrassment..."

The embarrassment of people comparing Christmas gifts with you when they got expensive electronics and toys. I used to hate when teachers asked the class what they got for Christmas.


Definitely not fun. Few moments really highlight the socioeconomic divide and harm a child more than that.

"You can skip..."

You can skip a meal by just going to sleep.


Sleep for dinner is the cheapest dinner because it costs you nothing.

Sad, but many live like this.


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.


This has actually been studied! Poor children know how to make their own fun and they do it better than kids with more means.

"That McDonald's..."

That McDonald's can be a place for special occasions only.


That says a lot, especially when the food is so widely available and taken for granted.

"Going to your extended..."

Going to your extended family's houses usually resulted in leaving with bags full of tinned food.


When you have no money, you rely on community.

"Knock-off brands are..."

Knock-off brands are enjoyable when you first get them but can quickly become a point of ridicule when found out.


This is true. Children can be cruel. The quality of these knock-off brands isn't great either.

"A slice of bread..."

A slice of bread = hotdog buns, hamburger buns, biscuit and gravy biscuit, makes a sandwich from any meal/leftover to make it more filling, sloppy joe bun, dip in soup...


Spot on.

A slice of bread can be used to improvise—and quite well.

"Walmart is typically 24 hours..."

Walmart is typically 24 hours and is a good place to escape the cold and riff raff of the streets when you're a homeless kid. Also back when arcades were a thing a lot of people would drop coins under the machines so that was a good way to scrounge for food money.

Also learned how to turn the water and power on in empty houses when I was willing to risk getting thrown in jail, which honestly would have been an improvement. My brother and I grew up harsh and with no support system other than each other. We still only have each other but we made it through and the experiences made us better people.


In many places, Walmart is often the only lifeline, the one place where people can find work.

"Making lots of friends..."

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.


This is heartbreaking. You were a good kid despite the circumstances.