Growing up, I did not get an allowance for doing chores, I did not get the new trendy clothes like others, I did not get the opportunity to have a packed lunch with all the "good" junk food.
It was expected of me and my siblings to do chores and not get paid, I got my clothes from the Goodwill near my house, hand-me-downs from my siblings. Often times those hand-me-downs were boy clothes.
I got free and reduced lunch at school because my family could not afford to pay the high prices for a lunch.
While in school, I would say I had a different experience than some other kids. I went from school to school because the schools I were in decided to pass me even though they knew I was failing. I would hear others around my school discuss how those who get free and reduced lunch were lucky because they did not have to pay for the full-priced meals.
When it came time to go on field trips I had to go up to the teachers and inform them I could not pay for the trip and might not be able to go. Some schools I went to would offer to pay for the field trip, all I had to do was to go to the office. Nine times out of ten, it was uncomfortable to do that. I was afraid they would judge me.
Also while in school, it was hard to turn in assignments that were supposed to be turned in online or typed. I would always get docked down points because I would turn the assignments in late (often times the next day). The teachers knew I did not have internet, computer, or printer for these assignments. I guess they had to treat everyone fairly so no one would feel left out or complain. Being in college now is way different. I worked all the time for me to be able to afford to pay for my college tuition so my mother did not have to worry about paying for that, putting food on the table and making sure a roof is over my sibling's heads.
I paid for my first semester of college, have been applying for scholarships as many as I could just to be able to continue my education and be the first to complete college without taking a break for a while or not even going.
Being at home was a different story. My siblings and I had to help out around the house. We did not get the chance to hang out with friends whenever we wanted. We had to earn it from doing our part. When it came time for dinner my mother did not eat sometimes so she could make sure us kids had enough food to eat. Getting groceries we used this card called a link card. Sometimes we could not go over a certain amount, and some items were not covered by the link card. If we wanted toys we had to go to the store and write down what the item was, the price of the item and where to get it.
Once we got back home we were always told to write it down on the calendar and maybe we could get it over time. Most of the time we were unable to get the item. We accepted that. As stated before we never got an allowance. We were taught that if we wanted things from others in the family or outside of the family we had to earn it by doing our part. Our part is helping out with the cooking, cleaning, and helping to watch the other siblings so that our mom could work to help keep a roof over our head.
Going from school to school was tough, but losing the place I call home at a young age was different. My family lost our first home to foreclosure. I was young at that time and did not know fully why we had to move all of a sudden and where we go. We had to be out of our house for hours so people could come and look at it, had to always make sure our rooms were clean and kept changing the way our house looked to make it more presentable for others to buy.
Bottom line, always appreciate what you have in the moment. Do not take anything for granted, do not think about the items you wish you had but cannot get, do not talk down about those who get things for free because you never know what their financial background is or what they are going through. Everything is a gift. Remember that others may not be as privileged as you.