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Woman who grew up in poverty highlights differences in habits between herself and upper-class husband

Michaela keeps jars because she was taught to ‘never throw anything away,’ while her husband recycles or throws things out when he’s done with them

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Monday 02 August 2021 10:19 BST
Woman who grew up in poverty highlights differences in habits between herself and upper-class husband
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A TikTok couple has highlighted the differences in behaviour they exhibit as a result of growing up in different economic classes.

Husband and wife Michaela and Alex, who go by the username @cuddleswpuddles on TikTok, recently discussed how their early circumstances influenced their behaviours as adults in a three-part series. 

In the first clip, Michaela prefaced the series by explaining that she grew up in poverty and experienced homelessness and food insecurity throughout her childhood and early adulthood, while her husband Alex grew up upper-class.

According to Michaela, the vastly different economic backgrounds mean she and her husband have developed different habits when it comes to such things as food and money, with her then using the ways they eat as an example.

“When eating a meal, I always finish my plate because I was not allowed to leave the table until finishing my plate and was told I was wasteful if I didn’t,” she said as she showed her plate in comparison to her husband’s. “My husband will eat until he’s full like a regular human.”

Michaela then revealed that she keeps all of the receipts she receives from purchases “in case there is something wrong with something that I bought and I have to return it,” whereas her husband does not keep receipts as he follows a mindset of: “If there is something wrong with what he bought, he’ll just buy another one”.

The differences are also apparent when it comes to reusing, with Michaela revealing that she has a “collection of jars” in case she can reuse them, as she was taught to “never throw anything away”.

Her husband, however, has no problem throwing away or recycling things when he is done with it.

The differences also became apparent when the couple grocery shopped according to part two of the series, where Michaela explained that Alex would always purchase name brand products before she taught him that “storebrand is just as good with a few notable exceptions”.

According to Michaela, her and her husband had different experiences when it came to cleaning as well, as she told viewers that Alex was better at “picking up” because he then relied on a cleaning service growing up, while she had to learn to clean because “if I wanted something to be clean I had to do it myself”.

The couple’s wealth disparities are also evident when it comes to ownership of electronics and other luxury goods, with Michaela explaining to viewers that, although they are both 26, her husband has “never bought a car, laptop or cellphone himself”.

“And I have purchased every car, laptop, and cellphone that I have ever owned,” Michaela continued, adding that the differences were even apparent when it came to pets, as her husband grew up with purebred poodles, while her “childhood dog was a mutt from the pound”.

In the third part of the series, which Alex narrated, he then shared some of the interesting habits he’s noticed, such as his wife keeping all the plastic utensils, napkins and sauces that come with each takeout order.

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“She also keeps all of our gift bags, which is great for holidays, birthdays, and gift-giving,” he said, adding that it makes it “a lot easier”.

Michaela is also strict when it comes to saving electricity, with Alex explaining that his wife will turn a light off immediately after he leaves a room, even if he plans on going right back in.

According to Alex, another food difference between the couple is in regards to leftovers, as he told viewers that he likes to finish leftovers while his wife will “not finish the last of anything in the fridge,” which he explained is a “byproduct of her growing up with food insecurity and not necessarily knowing where her next meal would come from sometimes”.

Despite their differences and idiosyncrasies, the couple ended the series on a sweet note.

“Everyone has differences in how they grew up, but if you can figure out the big things, then the small things will work themselves out,” Alex concluded.

The series has since gone viral on TikTok, where one of the videos has been viewed more than 4.8m times, and where it has resonated with many viewers.

“The [for you page] is getting oddly specific lol. We have the same dynamic,” one person commented.

Another said: “My partner and I are exactly the same! I’ve noticed a lot of these differences but didn’t really put it together until now.”

As for why the couple felt it was important to create the series, Michaela told BuzzFeed: “​​These things aren’t discussed very much, and I think many people don’t even realise how their socioeconomic status growing up shapes their personal habits as an adult.”

The Independent has contacted Michaela for comment.

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