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What It's Like Growing Up Low-Income Family

Money ain't all that.

What It's Like Growing Up Low-Income Family
Clariza Adao

Many people have faced financial struggles at some point in time. Some people overcome financial struggles, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, it is hard for some people to completely overcome them—especially if one of the factors is being in a low-income family. Low-income families consist of parents or guardians make less than $ 50,000 per year. Each family struggles differently, and I am here to talk about my experience of living in a low-income family.

When I was little, I did not think about the power of money. I did not know my parents were struggling financially at that point. I was just enjoying my life as a child. Growing up, I thought everyone lived the way we did. I thought it was normal to have a small apartment. I thought it was normal that we had to wash our clothes in the sink. I thought it was normal to not have a lot of toys. I did not know I was "poor" until I got older when I started to compare myself to the other kids at school.

Throughout elementary school, we always went on field trips. I always looked forward to going on field trips: my parents did not have time to take us out most of the time. Therefore, my sister and I always stayed at home with our grandparents (rest in peace, Lolo) while our parents worked. Again, I thought this was typical. Anyway, on the day of field trips, I vividly remember my parents telling me to have fun and only giving me $5 ($10 if I was lucky that day) and a sack lunch, and of course, I was happy and appreciated what my parents gave me and went on my way.

It was not until we came across a food stand or gift shop that I started comparing myself to the other kids. I noticed them picking out what they wanted and going to cashier with no hesitation. I dreaded this part of the field trip. I spent extra time figuring out what fit my budget, but the results did not change: I either always left the gift shop empty-handed or ended up sharing food with a friend. I guess you can say that I was jealous because I wanted to leave with a cool toy just like everyone else did. Eventually, I got used to not buying a lot on the field trips because it could be a waste of money.

The older I got, the more I noticed my socioeconomic status. Even though I was young, I was fully aware that I did not have all the money in the world. My parents argued about finances and always had to call the companies to give them an extension for bill payments. You would think with all the time they spent working, they would be making bank, right? WRONG. I wish that it worked that way, but that's not life works.

A common misconception about people who do not have a lot of money is that they are lazy.

I'm here to tell you that this is not true. Both of my parents are hard-working: My dad is a driver for Lyft and Uber and my mom works at TJ Maxx and the front desk at a condo complex. I know my parents don't make a lot of money, but I honestly respect my parents for somehow setting aside money for food, shelter, and education for my sister and I.

Unfortunately, there are some people who ridicule low-income families. To those people, you are inconsiderate and too ignorant to recognize your own privilege.

Before, I used to ask myself "why am I poor?" Now, I recognize my mind is so rich with values and lessons taught by my hard-working, dedicated parents money can never buy.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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