THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE MY DISCLOSURES. FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Growing up in poverty can be a daunting experience for any child.
It can leave lasting scars that can manifest in adulthood.
The effects of childhood poverty extend well beyond financial struggles.
They often create emotional and mental barriers that persist long into adulthood and can become difficult to recognize.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the subtle yet significant signs of childhood poverty that show up in adulthood.
#1. Financial Anxiety
This issue can take many forms.
For some, it may mean avoiding the stock market because you are too scared to invest.
For others, it could mean simply hoarding cash in a savings account.
However financial anxiety shows up for you, know that many others who grew up poor have their version of this trait.
#2. Ordering the Cheapest Item On The Menu
Even if you have money now, if you grew up without it, you might still look for the cheapest items on the menu when eating out.
It’s not that you can’t afford the food, it’s that it has been ingrained in you that money is tight, so you must find the cheapest things to eat.
For some, this even extends when eating out and someone else pays. Your natural instinct is to order the cheapest item, so you don’t appear wasteful.
#3. Saving Money On Utilities Is A Priority
We all know it is a waste to leave lights on in a room we aren’t in, but some people who grew up without money take saving money on bills to the extreme.
Lights must be turned off, doors closed, and more.
You must be aware of running water so you don’t waste it.
Sometimes, you might wait until it becomes unbearable in your house to turn on the heat or air conditioner.
#4. Turning Down Social Occasions
When you have no money, you often choose not to go out.
One reason is that you cannot afford it. Second, you are embarrassed and don’t want others to know you are struggling financially.
This can cause many issues, as socializing is a critical part of happiness.
#5. Eating The Expensive Parts Of A Meal
What if I told you that, growing up, the most financially savvy thing you could do was to go straight for the expensive part of the meal?
It might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out.
When you come from a background where money is tight, you learn to savor every luxurious morsel.
You learn to prioritize the good stuff, to relish in the moments where you can splurge.
When you grow up without money, you save everything because you never know when you can use a part or piece of it for something else.
My grandparents lived through the Great Depression, so my parents grew up thinking there was no money. As a result, even if something was broken, it was held onto because you never knew when you might be able to make good use of it.
#7. Poverty Mentality
This ties into the idea above.
You are financially stable, but you still act as though you are one paycheck away from living in poverty.
As one person said, “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.”
#8. Refusing To Waste Food
Food is critical for survival, and when you are poor, you try to stretch your food dollars as far as possible.
This could mean constantly clearing your plate so that nothing gets wasted.
Or it could mean ensuring you eat leftovers so that you don’t have to throw food out because, to you, throwing out food is like throwing away money.
#9. Saying ‘That’s Too Expensive’
As a kid, you probably asked your parents for many things. If you didn’t have money, they usually said, ‘that’s too expensive.’
While it seems innocent, that small phrase can have a lasting impact, usually negative, on our lives.
As one person said, “I didn’t actually grow up poor, but my parents always said ‘no, that’s too expensive’ to most of the things I asked for until I was probably 14, and by then I was unwilling to ask for things, or apologized profusely every time I did ask for something. So now I debate for months before buying anything over $100, but will buy several things that cost $5-10, on impulse, over the course of a week.”
#10. Using Food Storage Containers As Storage
Many use Tupperware and Pyrex to store leftovers in their refrigerator or freezer.
But for people who grew up with little money, these storage containers were also used as basic storage.
You might use a small container for loose change or odds and ends.
How to Get Free Money
The idea of free money sounds like it can’t be true. But it actually is.
There are many ways you can get free money, from playing games, to watching videos, and more.
Here are the best ways you can get free money without having to work for it.
47 Ways to Get Free Gift Cards
Nowadays, people are looking for every means possible to make extra cash. One unique idea is to get free gift cards. Gift cards are a great way to help pay for the things you need without spending any money.
You can earn free gift cards for completing simple tasks in many ways. This includes getting paid for simple online tasks like playing games, completing surveys, and shopping.
Here is a complete guide on how to get free gift cards so you can spend less money on the things you buy.
How To Get Free Food With No Money
If you are short on cash, not eating doesn’t have to be a reality.
There are options out there that allow you to get free food, even if you don’t have any cash. Here is what you need to do.
How To Save Money When You’re Broke
When you have no money, the idea of saving sounds impossible. In fact, for many people, the idea never crosses their mind because they are only focused on getting money to survive.
But there are steps you can take to actually save money even when you are broke. Doing so will help you change your financial life faster than you thought possible.
Turn Coins Into Cash
Do you have a pile of spare change laying around? Maybe you collect it in a jar.
Instead of letting it just sit there an collect dust, do something with it.
Here are the best ways to turns your coins into cash.
This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.