I know what you mean. There have been several times in my life that we could have qualified for free lunches, food stamps...whatever. As long as we weren’t actually starving I never would have thought of it.
My kids wore fake name-brand clothing that I made for them, sometimes I even asked others for their old tags from things and sewed them in. Christmas was always great, I made sure it was and my children didn’t even have a clue that times were tough.
One time my son heard my husband and I talking very seriously about money and came to me later and asked if we were poor. I told him “Heck, no, we’re just broke.” I explained to him the difference, our position was just temporary and we were working hard to fix it, poor is when you see no way out or seek no way out.
Poor is when you constantly have your hand out expecting someone to fill it. Poor is when someone else buys your children Christmas presents. Poor is when you expect the government to support you. And finally, poor is when seek nothing better for yourself or you children.
I like your attitude. An uncle and aunt of mine raised three children and kept their family fed often with food they raised themselves. They had so little money that they used baking soda and salt for toothpaste, yet they made certain that all three of their offspring finished college with graduate degrees. That must have been a very motivational upbringing because all three of my cousins are now members of that despised group, the wealthy. The daughter, who learned how to sew from her mom, has her own clothing business. The oldest son made a fortune in real estate and the other son is a high priced corporate lawyer. I once asked the oldest one why he bought properties. He said that when he was a kid he would hear his dad and mine say "If only we had bought that land for $10 an acre in 1935, we'd be rich today." He determined he was never going to have to say that.