Growing up poor sticks with you long after you have money. My family grew up on welfare and the food bank, once they started working we were upgraded to having to pay $25 a month for state health insurance as opposed to not having insurance at all. We didn't spend money on gifts or go on vacations. Luxury was going out to dinner every once in a great while.

As an adult, I'm solidly lower middle class. I don't make a lot of money, but I do have some to spare. But I still carry habits from being poor.

  • We couldn't afford regular dental visits, so I stopped going when I was 12. And those 1-800-Dentist commercials about being scared of the bill made a really big impression on me as a kid. So as an adult, I still don't go regularly enough.
  • I don't fully understand health insurance even though I have it and use it regularly.
  • I've been on 2 actual vacations in my life, both for less than a week. One was also work, because I did makeup for a friend's wedding.
  • I eat like a raccoon, if there's food available I will fill up on it and sneak extra if I can get away with it. It doesn't even matter if I have money and can afford a real good lunch. I will risk food poisoning by keeping food to eat long after it's good.
  • I won't attend things like wedding showers or baby showers because I'm uncomfortable with buying gifts for people who have more money than me. I also don't know how to accept gifts, because if I want something I will buy it myself when I have money.
  • I rarely get my hair cut or even trimmed, maybe once a year on average. We grew up with craft scissor haircuts by the dumpster.
  • I don't buy basic things like underwear or shoes until my stuff is literally falling apart.

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Does anyone else carry this stuff with them? They're hard habits to break, I don't know how to convince myself to take better care of myself.