I felt like I lived a life of contradictions. My dad was rarely home so we had a baby sitter/maid who was a lady from our church for a while. One year for my brother and my birthday (twins), we were told the present was that they were going to start a fund for a new TV. 6 months roll by and I ask how the fund was progressing to be told it had been spent to keep the business afloat. Most of my clothes until middle school were handed down from some cousins, and through middle school we were always getting the cheapest clothing or thrusting. I was really embarrassed one day when I saw a classmate come into the thrift store with his mom and I had an arm full of clothes that I was narrowing down. We never went on vacation, only visited my mom's parents, seeing my dad's parents was too expensive so I didn't really get to know them before they died. We had dialup until like 2009 despite living in the suburbs.
My parents owned a few different businesses, a psychology practice that closed when I was 8, a computerized testing center, and some tutoring franchises from a national chain. They started seeing a dropoff in business from the tutoring business in early 2006, in retrospect, seemingly an indicator of the impending economic collapse. Both of my parents took no pay for two years and lived off of savings then went into tons of debt during the recession in order to keep about 120 people employed. Each one of the tutoring businesses eventually folded but that was past the worst of it and more so had to do with bad decisions at the corporate level.