15 Behaviors That Are a Dead Giveaways Someone Grew Up Poor


Many people who grew up poor don’t exactly want to display this information for the world to see. However, it can come out in a wide range of behaviors that make it obvious that the person grew up lower class or in poverty.

Many people have habits that they picked up during those years that they haven’t let go of yet.

Taking Free Food With You

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If there’s free food available, such as at a work event, some people will take a few with them in their bag for later. This stems from being food insecure earlier in life and wanting to guard against it now.

Having Trouble Buying Nice Things

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If you grew up poor, buying something nice was out of the question. When you become an adult and are better off, it may still feel like nice things don’t enter the equation, even when you can easily afford the item.

Having Backups to Your Backups

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Running out of something may give you anxiety when you’ve had experience being poor. Many people make sure they have backups to what they have and then have backups to those backups just to make sure they won’t have to go without.

Saving Everything

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When you have a history of going without things, you may not want to let go of much. People with a history of being poor may start to hoard items because they’re afraid to throw things away and not have the items they need later.

Talking About Prices

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People with money rarely talk about it, but poor people often talk about it. If someone gets a compliment on their shoes, for example, they may then talk about the price of them and the sale price and savings they got.

Keeping Disposable Kitchenware

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When you go to someone’s home and find that they’re eating out of an old butter tub and drinking from a former pasta sauce jar, it’s easy to tell that they grew up poor. Many people grow up in homes that use these disposable items as permanent dishes.

Reusing Plastic Bags

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From plastic baggies to store bags, these bags can often be seen as a great resource for once poor people. They often clean out and reuse baggies and keep grocery bags for a variety of purposes.

Saving Money Instead of Investing It

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People with a poor background often want to know that they have money in the bank, just in case. This can lead to having a sizable savings account instead of using that money to invest for a larger return.

Eating Low-Quality Foods

junk food.
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Much of your taste in food is formed in childhood. People who grew up eating bologna and mac and cheese often develop a taste for inexpensive, highly processed foods that carry into adulthood.

Not Using a Dryer

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Using a dryer costs you in many ways. They use a lot of electricity, and they cause your clothing to wear out faster. Many people who grew up with line-dried clothes also like the smell of clothes dried outdoors.

Being Nervous Around Nice Things

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If you didn’t grow up with anything nice, you may get some anxiety from being around them. You may worry that you might damage the items and/or have to pay for them.

Unwilling to Buy New Items

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Some people who grew up poor find it too hard to buy something that’s brand new. They may shop mostly in thrift stores or on eBay to find the cheapest items possible, even when they can now afford new items.

Keeping Everything Until the Very End

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If you keep a shampoo bottle that’s almost empty and hard to get anything from, you may have grown up poor. You might even add a little water to the bottle to make it last even longer.

Unable to Manage Money

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Growing up in a household with little money often means you were never taught how to manage it well. People who grew up poor may have a problem handling their money and knowing how to budget it properly.

Always Being Ready to Be Poor Again

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Many of these habits stem from a fear of becoming poor again. People with a background of poverty or near poverty may stay worried about what will happen if they suddenly lose everything and are right back where they started. They may hold onto every dime they can, just in case.

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Author: Lizz Shepherd


Lizz Shepherd is a freelance writer living in Alabama.

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