People Who Used To Be Poor Are Sharing "Luxuries" That They've Since Realized Are Actually Necessities, And If This Isn't A Sign To Raise The Minimum Wage, I Don't Know What Is

    "Growing up, medicines like Tylenol were unnecessary because you can 'tough it out.'"

    Reddit user u/MetforminShits recently asked, "Those who went from poor to middle class/rich, what was a luxury as a poor person that you realize was a necessity now that you have the access to it?" Here are a few examples:

    Hands holding receipt

    1. "Going to the grocery store and not having to budget, put things back or decide between two items."


    2. "This is a little TMI but I just noticed how many 'fancy' pads I use now that I can afford them. When I was making barely enough to afford rent, I would buy the cheapest pads and try to wear them for as long as possible. Female hygiene wasn't really taught well to me and my feminine health was just never taken seriously. So, I think I used maybe three pads a day. I didn't realize that I was allergic to the material and had a lot of skin issues because of that, as well. I just thought it was part of the 'pain of having a period.'"

    A hand holds pads in an aisle at the store

    3. "DENTAL CARE!!! It is so important! The more I learn about how much dental care is connected to physical health problems, it just blows my mind. Plus, your teeth are like the one part of your body that can’t fix itself, even a little bit."


    4. "Space. I grew up sharing beds and bedrooms with three other sisters. Imagine four kids shoved into a queen bed. Now, I have a 1,500-square-foot home and only share my bedroom/bed with my husband because I want to. It's so freeing."


    5. "Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet is items in bulk. Buying in bulk saves you money, but the problem is having that 'extra' money to buy everything in mass quantities. It’s so helpful when you have multiple people using supplies and eating food but not everyone can front that extra cash in order to buy more and save money. So, they have to spend more to get less. It’s a vicious cycle and I hate it. I buy everything I can in bulk from feminine products, to toilet paper and certain foods. It saves so much and you also have to have the space to store it all. Which leads to someone else’s comment about having more space."


    6. "My dog got hurt last week. We rushed her to the emergency vet and she got some stitches. The bill came to $800. As I slipped our debit card into the pin pad, I turned to my husband and said 'Honestly, I can’t believe that’s our bank card and we’re not scrambling to check if we can split it between our remaining Discover balances.' Puppy is doing fine now."

    A veterinarian holding a dog

    7. "Being able to eat until you are full."


    "On the flip side, I love the luxury of not having to eat every last bite because 'Food is expensive, you need to eat it all up!' If I'm full, I will stop eating now."


    8. "The biggest thing for me is just free time. At one point I was working seven days a week. My weekday job barely paid enough to pay my bills. I needed the weekend job so I could afford groceries, gasoline, and other necessities. It was brutal there for a bit; the only days off I had were when one of my jobs was closed for a holiday. There’s a lot more detail about this but to keep a long story short, I was hired for a job that pays me enough that I only need the one. Having time on my weekends back has done so much to increase my quality of life."


    9. "Medicines (like Tylenol or Pepcid)! Growing up they were unnecessary because you can tough it out."


    10. "I grew up in poverty in the north of England. My dad couldn’t afford feminine hygiene products so I would have to improvise, and he couldn’t afford to keep the house stocked with food. I now love having access to feminine hygiene products whenever I need them, and full cupboards. I made do with what I could before, I was very young when my dad’s financial struggles started and just accepted that we couldn’t afford to do certain things. The heating is a big one, too. If I’m cold, I can put the heating on. More often than not there would be no money on the meter at home to do that when I was young."


    11. "I'm not even 'middle class,' but easy access to laundry. I'm not even talking about having an in-unit washer/dryer (which seems like a pipe dream, but even having a washer/dryer in the same building is vital."

    A person putting laundry into the washing machine

    12. "Gym membership. I never would have believed it back then, but it is honestly necessary. The ability to work out properly, with good equipment and guidance is priceless."


    13. "Not always having holes in my shoes is new for me now. I still get the $30-ish ones but I can buy a new pair every couple of years instead of every five or so. It took a long time to not brace for impact when it started raining or if the sidewalk was wet. Walking with warm dry feet in the rain still feels like magic."

    Old shoes

    14. "Hair conditioner and body wash. Growing up in poverty meant only having access to cheap drugstore shampoo at best, or dish soap at worst. My skin and hair are much happier for having the extra products these days!"


    15. "Healthy food. After my parents got divorced and my brother and I moved away with our mom, we had Kraft mac and cheese literally four or five days per week that first year. It wasn’t really something we questioned, and we liked it well enough. But fast-forward 20 years, I just finished my medical residency and am now a physician. I make more money than I need, and my family and I eat an enjoyable and nutritious whole foods-based diet. Not Whole Foods the store, even I can’t afford that place. But, like, I mean good meats, a variety of veggies and fruits, cheese and nuts to snack on, that kind of thing."

    Forks tossing a salad

    16. "Warm clothes for winter and a good winter coat."


    17. "Doctors appointments: Not just for emergencies, which we rarely went to unless it got out of control or we were dying, but I mean check-ups, shots, antibiotics for infections, etc. We typically healed, but I have some lifelong damage from others."


    18. "Car insurance. I was able to buy a beater after years of savings but spending $70 a month was damn near impossible. I drove like a little old lady and still have a fear of traffic cops even when I’m doing nothing wrong."


    19. "A social life. That sounds dramatic but I was paying for my own toiletries and clothing by the time I was 12. I remember looking around at my classmates in high school and thinking they were 'silly' and 'immature' because I left at noon to go work at McDonald’s and help feed my family. I wasn’t in clubs, I didn’t go to my prom, I just worked. Now I graduated college and have a decent job and for the first time ever I can regularly hang out with friends or just read a book or something. Rest and fun are not luxuries. They are necessities."

    Friends hanging out outside

    20. "Having clothes that fit. Growing up most of our clothes came from yard sales or stores that sold 'irregular' clothing. My bras never ever fit and most days I would have welts on my skin from wearing them all day. I didn’t have new clothes until I started making my own money."


    21. "Laundry detergent. My mom would do laundry like three times a month, tops, and frequently we wouldn’t be able to afford detergent and she’d use the shitty dish soap in the washer which did very little. Especially when the machine is over full and [she added] water to the dish soap bottle to stretch it."

    A hand pouring washing detergent

    22. "The ability to pay an expert to do things for me. For instance, my sink broke recently and I was able to pay a plumber to come to replace it instead of having to do it myself. I picked the sink I wanted and within an hour it was installed and everything was cleaned up. It would have taken me a day or two to figure everything out myself to make the repairs, and the work wouldn't have been done as well. There are so many things I learned to do because I couldn't afford to have an expert do them and being able to trust a professional to install things is such a huge relief. There are a lot of tweaks I want to make to my house, and I can plan and budget to have a professional build a pantry or install drywall, and the results will be so much faster and nicer than if I have to do it myself. It's a huge change from being poor and having to do things clumsily with the cheapest possible materials and hating the results."


    23. "I wouldn’t consider myself middle class but, having a thermostat. I grew up in an old building that had a radiator stuck in a little corner, it would make so much noise and not heat up a damn thing. I’m so thankful that I don’t wake up freezing during winter anymore."


    24. "Therapy. I think it's complete BS that the US completely disregards mental health. If anything, that should be the priority over bodily health in my opinion. If your brain is healthy, the rest will follow. Therapy should be covered by insurance, too."


    25. "Sick days! Being able to have a paid day off work (or even just being able to afford losing pay for a day) and then recovering five times faster as a result!"


    26. "Allergy skin testing. In my ENTIRE life, I could not go more than 12–14 hours without showering because my skin would always get hot, itchy, and inflamed. I suffered from bad dandruff and nothing seemed to work. I had extreme flare-ups where it felt like bugs were crawling under my skin and it would cause such intense itching that all I wanted was to crawl out of my own skin. Once my career kicked off and I found myself with top-notch healthcare and passive income, another flare-up happened. This time I went straight to a renowned allergist in my city and found out that I have a severe allergy to phenoxyethanol. My allergy skin test revealed that I had chemical burns from this preservative. Guess what? Turns out phenoxyethanol is in almost every soap, shampoo, lotion, etc."

    Allergy testing at a doctor's office

    27. "For me, it was pillows. As a little girl, my family stuffed newspapers inside plastic bags for pillows. The day I bought my own first-ever $5 pillow from Target was the best day of my life. Now as an adult, it is one thing I over-indulge in. I've spent a lot of money on the best bed and pillows money can buy."


    What's something that you used to consider a luxury that you now realize is actually a neccessity? Tell me in the comments.