We grew up very poor, and as a child my mother always took a calculator and notepad to the store to see how much food we could afford. We made our cycle around the store, then parked our cart in a quiet corner while she ran the numbers to see what we had to put back.
My mother would sometimes apologize to me with tears in her eyes as she put back juice or cookies or some other favorite of mine, and I would always try to act like I wasn’t disappointed. “It’s okay, momma. We’ll have juice next time.”
By the time I was a teenager, we were in a much better financial situation. One day we were in line at the grocery store and there was a young mother behind us.
I wasn’t paying attention, but my mother overheard something that let her know this woman was struggling just like we had. When my mother wrote out the check to pay for our groceries (people used to do this, youngins), she handed the grocer a second check with a note that she was paying for her groceries, as well.