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Being poor was a good thing
Old 12-30-2016, 12:49 PM   #1
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Being poor was a good thing

I never really realized that when I was growing up I was considered poverty level. Being raised in a very rural small community of 700 people life was great as a child (upper plains). My parents both worked but I'm sure it wasn't even minimum wage. We always had food, home, car and were clothed to the best that could be. We weren't any different from the rest of the people in the area. I look back now and everyone was in the same boat with some having it better but no wealthy people for sure.

I never got the impression ever that we were poor. We had everything that we needed all the time. We may not have had the luxurious but we didn't know any better any way. lol I do know I learned to be conservative from growing up and there was no waste.

I remember my mom and dad when they got married they both had a car. Well they didn't need both cars so they actually traded one car for a house. They lived in that house till the day they died. We really were rich and my childhood shows it today how blessed I was being so poor. It showed me my way and I had that foundation of love, work hard and being conservative.

When my parents left the work force I believe they had around 100K. My dad even RE and did part time work in the summer for a few years. They did start SS right away and lived a very nice and comfortable retirement life. They were always happy and loving with what they had.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:27 PM   #2
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My take on this is your parents were happy with what they had and didn't want more. Very different from the way things are now.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:36 PM   #3
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... We weren't any different from the rest of the people in the area. I look back now and everyone was in the same boat with some having it better but no wealthy people for sure...
One should learn to look down, not to look up, to see that there are people having much less, and they still manage to live their life.

Else, one can still be unhappy even if he has one billion, for that is just a small fraction of what Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have. I read a biography of someone like that.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:37 PM   #4
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I never got the impression ever that we were poor. We had everything that we needed all the time. We may not have had the luxurious but we didn't know any better any way. lol I do know I learned to be conservative from growing up and there was no waste.
Pretty much the same here. We knew others had "more" but it didn't bother me, "it is what it is" kind of thing. But we also had a home (by today's standards very small) but we had indoor plumbing and central heat. Plenty of food, decent clothing but the budget for that was not large. Unlike some others who have posted here I never wondered where my next meal was coming from. Our cars came from the junk yard and we did the maintenance/repairs to keep them running.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:41 PM   #5
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Oh please! You guys had it easy...


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Old 12-30-2016, 04:59 PM   #6
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I agree with the sentiment, in general. I was raised on the poor side of town, but never experienced crushing poverty and I do think that it motivated me in positive ways. Had we been poorer and had I had fewer role models, I can see where it could have been a real trap.
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:12 PM   #7
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We did get plumbing and had lights but never had a shower just a tub. Lol I remember not even asking for some things because I knew we just couldn't have it. It didn't make me upset and my parents would not of scolded me for asking I just knew I can do with what I had.
I also seen a couple families that I do know had it worse. You just know and I always felt bad for them.
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:54 PM   #8
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.......... I remember not even asking for some things because I knew we just couldn't have it. It didn't make me upset and my parents would not of scolded me for asking I just knew I can do with what I had. ...........
Same here. Looking back, it was just accelerated maturity in that respect. Real life means there are things you can't afford so you don't even go there.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:31 PM   #9
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I know we never felt poor and I assume most of that has to do with you either do it yourself or barter ie we never starved because we had a massive garden, we canned or froze everything, we raised 500 chickens and traded them for anything else we needed, fish/deer/beef/pork/milk, there was always someone wanting to trade. Cars could be $500 beaters, you just fix them yourself, you do your own home maintenance and if its something big, you get your whole social circle together and you bang it out. We never bought furniture as there is always someone tossing something out, always a rummage sale, always a way to replace what you need. Money goes a long way when your not using it the traditional way and when you can be crafty and re-purpose and those skills have been lost over time. If we bought what we needed, we would have starved.

Now my parents may have been frugal to a fault. The neighbor was getting rid of his garage to put up a 3 stall one, my dad asked if he could have it.. of course, saved the guy money not having to pay to have it torn down and dumpsters, etc. So every day us kids went over and took off each board, using that tool to take out each nail, saving every little bit of it so we could merge his garage and our garage and build a bigger/better garage. Now my dad got it in his head he had to re-use EVERYthing. I sat and re-bent nails straight for days that summer. So for the last 20 years, the roof has been leaking and its because of those nails... every time he complains I just shake my head.. he could be cheap on everything else, but re-using nails is really never a good idea.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:42 PM   #10
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... he could be cheap on everything else, but re-using nails is really never a good idea.
In the old days, nails were forged one at a time by a blacksmith.

However, I do not think your dad would be that old to value these expensive handmade nails.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:57 PM   #11
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This thread reminds me of a guy I worked with 30+ years ago. He told the story about saving money and buying food for the church to give baskets to the poor. On Thanksgiving morning, HIS family received a basket. They didn't know they were poor. Some things are relative, and if you are safe, secure, have food on the table, and in a loving family then poor is very relative.
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Old 12-30-2016, 07:33 PM   #12
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I grew up in a 4 BR / 2.5 BA / 2200 sq ft / full basement / .3 acre house in a 99.9% white suburb. All of my childhood friends had similar houses (some a bit more, some a bit less). I didn't perceive my family as either rich or poor. We did have a black cleaning lady who took the bus from downtown to clean our house. If I had ever had the chance to see how she lived, perhaps I would have considered us rich. However, this never happened. 😟
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Old 12-30-2016, 08:10 PM   #13
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I did not grow up poor, but both my parents did and it greatly impacted how they lived their lives in terms of diet, attitude toward money, what was important, etc. Dad actually became a successful businessman twice in different trades, but it did not make that much of a difference in how he lived. It definitely rubbed off on me. Call it poverty ne generation removed and it is definitely a gift.
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Old 12-30-2016, 08:28 PM   #14
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+1. While my grandparents survived the Great Depression and were unusually frugal, Dad was very successful but you wouldn't know it by how he lived or treated others. After he died I found out about some good deeds that he did to help out some friends and family in difficult times but he never talked about it. Very proud to be his son
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Old 12-30-2016, 08:34 PM   #15
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I grew up poor by 1980's standards. I remember grocery shopping at the food pantry for years. I rarely had new clothes. Despite that, I was in better conditions than my parents had and they were better off than their parents. I do think that seeing my parents struggle with money is what made me so frugal. I never had much growing up so I never missed having stuff when I got out on my own. I never made much money but when I peaked in the $40Ks/yr I was able to save around half of that and not feel deprived.
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Old 12-30-2016, 08:44 PM   #16
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Same here. Looking back, it was just accelerated maturity in that respect. Real life means there are things you can't afford so you don't even go there.
+1

One of my favorite quotes this week

So true! Seemingly obvious to see this in writing, but so many have yet to accept this reality.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:38 PM   #17
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Pops had a good phrase for it; "It's good to want things"

He used it many times when I said I wanted this or that.

Some of them I got and others I didn't. Just like life.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:38 PM   #18
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I would not say that I grew up poor or poverty, more just typical middle class. One thing that my parents did, that had a fairly strong influence on me, is they did not live on credit. If they wanted something they saved until they could pay cash. So no real payments on anything, besides the mortgage. I am similar, hate to have any credit debt.

Once I was out of the house and graduated from college, my father did move up into mgmt positions where their std of living was higher. Being first born, I did not get many of the same things my youngest sister did. I don't feel any animosity toward youngest, it was just my parent's ability to have more at that time.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:09 PM   #19
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I know it sounds like Monty Python, but - you had food ?

We were so poor I was send to the butcher to get chicken wings (they were thrown out back then in 70s) and we ate them all summer. That and free soup bones for the "dog" meant we had lots of soup as well.
Naturally when we fished, we ate all we could keep, none of this catch and release stuff.

Around 1975 I bought a used color tv so my parents could stop watching their b&w tv in the livingroom.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:19 PM   #20
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Heck, my father became an orphan during WWII, in his late teen years. What's the problem with food? He had to dodge bullets and fend for himself, after burying his parents.

It was not here in the US. American soldiers suffered greatly during WWII, but civilians only faced shortages, and did not have to watch for bullets and bombs. Not elsewhere in the world.
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