14 Things That Give Away You’re Obviously Middle Class

What’s life like in the middle-class lane, where you’re not rolling in riches but not scraping by either? It’s a unique realm, as highlighted by some insightful social media comments. Many users agree that there are experiences peculiar to this space that neither the wealthy nor the poor fully comprehend. Let’s delve into what makes the middle-class tick, with a dash of humor and some enlightening tidbits.

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#1 Financial Tightrope

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“Dude, seriously. I can’t do ANYTHING. I’m basically forced to keep moving up, or get lucky and have a parent die to leave me a lump sum. I am trapped, and it’s genuinely depressing.”

Many users suggested that being in the middle class means you’re caught in a financial limbo. You earn too much to qualify for certain assistance programs, yet your income isn’t robust enough to make expenses a breeze. It’s like you’re balancing on a financial tightrope. You’re not sipping champagne on a yacht, and you’re not collecting spare change to pay the bills. You’re in that middle zone, trying to make ends meet while dreaming of a little more financial breathing room.

#2 Vacation Budgets

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“Budgeting both the money – and the time! My in-laws are wealthy and always wanting the whole family to go on random trips. Every time they seem shocked that we can’t just drop everything and go.”

Unlike the wealthy who jet off to exotic destinations on a whim or the poor who may struggle to afford vacations, middle-class families often find themselves meticulously budgeting for their trips. It’s a delicate dance between having fun and being financially responsible, and it can sometimes feel like deciphering a cryptic code. You’re researching for the best deals, timing your bookings with precision, and ensuring that your family can create lasting memories without emptying the bank account.

#3 Counting Zeros

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Do you constantly log in to your bank app and stare at the numbers? You’re not alone. Middle-class folks often ponder how many zeros they can realistically add to their bank balance. They might not swim in a sea of wealth, but they’re not drowning in financial woes either. It’s the eternal quest for financial comfort. You’re in a constant state of working toward your financial goals, whether it’s saving for a down payment on a house, preparing for your kids’ education, or ensuring a comfortable retirement. It’s all about those zeros.

#4 Braces Payments

Little girl showing the gap of her first missing milk-tooth. Kid. Teeth.
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“I am currently paying for my own braces as an adult. Parents could only afford either a new computer or braces when I was a child but not both and the computer won haha. We teetered wildly between lower middle and upper middle my entire life. And yes, I’m now mentally ill as a result of experiencing multiple sudden upheavals.”

For many middle-class parents, it’s not a question of whether their child needs braces but how to afford them without breaking the bank. It’s a rite of passage that involves carefully planned monthly payments and a touch of orthodontic irony. While the rich might not blink an eye at the cost of perfect teeth and the poor might find it an unattainable luxury, you’re scheduling orthodontist appointments, negotiating with insurance, and keeping a watchful eye on your family budget to make it work.

#5 Homeownership Anxiety

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“The average cost of a house in my county is 1.5M…It would take me about 15 years to afford a down payment however I still would t be able to afford the mortgage on my monthly income.”

Home sweet home can turn into homey stress for the middle class. Some users shared the anxiety of navigating the elusive realm of home ownership and mortgages. The wealthy might have a mansion for every season, while the less fortunate might dream of one, but the middle class is often deep into the maze of this real estate conundrum. You’re attending open houses, evaluating neighborhoods, and calculating mortgage rates while balancing your other financial responsibilities. It’s like a never-ending game of Monopoly, with real money on the line.

#6 Cluttered Two-Car Garage

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“Or one car that doesn’t run and a bunch of your dad’s tools/family garbage stacked up around it.”

Ah, the classic two-car garage dilemma! Many users laughingly commiserated over the fact that, despite having the space, it’s often taken over by an eclectic mix of belongings. It’s like a treasure hunt just to locate the hose. You can see your car, but it’s buried under sports equipment, holiday decorations, and a collection of items that you’ll “definitely use someday.” It’s a comedy of clutter that reflects the middle-class knack for making the most of available space.

#7 Book Fair Dilemmas

KYIV, UKRAINE - APR 21: Unidentified girls reading books at children booth of the 6th Festival BOOK ARSENAL on April 21, 2016. Guests of the fair were writers Lars Svendsen, Vigdis Hjorth, Etgar Keret
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“My parents would say, “We can’t afford to order books!!” They said that if we needed a new book, we could go to the local or school library. I used to borrow books from a wealthy friend’s in-home library.”

For middle-class parents, the Scholastic’s Book Fair can be a true test of willpower. Some users pointed out that it’s not about grabbing everything but making calculated choices that won’t break the bank. Choosing between adventure or mystery is sometimes harder than it seems. You’re walking through rows of books with your child, navigating their earnest requests for every title, and silently calculating how many books you can afford. It’s a lesson in prioritizing and budgeting, all while nurturing a love for reading.

#8 FAFSA Frustration

Bored blonde woman in checkered shirt sitting at workplace
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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – a bureaucratic puzzle. The rich don’t need it, and the poor rely on it. Middle-class families, as per user comments, often feel like they’re doing a lot of paperwork for limited gains. It’s like a paradoxical tax for not being too rich or too poor. You’re diligently filling out endless forms, providing financial information, and wondering if it’s all worth it. The FAFSA can be a maze of paperwork that leaves the middle class scratching their heads, neither qualifying for significant aid nor being able to easily cover education costs.

#9 Multi-Purpose Extra Bedroom

Casual upset man sitting on couch in bright living room
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“Before it was my office/the guest bedroom, it was “the room of shame” when my girlfriend bought her house.”

ONE extra bedroom that serves multiple purposes. It is a guest room/office/”home gym”/craft room/play room. With wealthy families, each of these things may have its own room. Financially unstable families are unlikely to have an extra bedroom to spare. You’re masterfully arranging one bedroom to meet various needs, whether it’s accommodating guests, setting up a home office, squeezing in some workout space, or creating a haven for your crafting or kids’ playtime. Each corner of the room tells a different story, showcasing the middle-class art of space optimization.

#10 Taxing Middle-Class

Top view of word 'tax' made of blue cards with documents on background
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Middle class folks bear the burden of paying proportionally the most taxes while also receiving the least benefits and subsidies. You’re contributing your fair share to the nation’s coffers, and yet, you might feel like you’re not reaping the benefits you deserve. It’s like being stuck in the taxation twilight zone, where you’re neither the top contributor nor the primary beneficiary. Meanwhile, the 1 percent and large corporations pay minimal taxes.

#11 Yard Work

Young woman lying on grass in the park. Smiling.
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Mowing the yard and pulling out the weeds; You’re the captain of your lawnmower, navigating your suburban landscape with pride. While the wealthy might hire landscapers and the less fortunate could wish for a yard to mow, you’re the middle-class maestro of the manicured lawn. It’s a chore that connects you to your patch of Earth, providing both satisfaction and sweaty brows.

#12 College Debt

Upset female indian student in black graduation cap. Graduate.
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“The only “aid” I qualified for was a federal unsubsidized loan but my parents didn’t have the money to pay for my tuition or anything. Even had an advisor get mad at me for working so much(not sure why, my grades were fine) and tell me my parents needed to pony up more instead of working 30 hours a week.”

You’re all too familiar with the weight of student loans that can linger for years, if not decades. The wealthy might pay for education outright, and the poor often receive more financial aid. But for the middle class, student loans are like the ghost of education past, present, and future.

#13 Saving for Retirement

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Saving for retirement is a middle-class necessity, but it can be a challenging endeavor. You’re not sitting on a golden nest egg like the wealthy, and you might not have access to generous retirement benefits like some of the less fortunate. It’s a balancing act, juggling your current financial responsibilities with the need to plan for your future, all while hoping you don’t outlive your savings.

#14 Brand New Car Dilemma

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Buying a brand new car without leather seats, lane departure warnings, moon roof, Apple Play, etc. It’s the classic middle-class dilemma – you want the new car smell, but luxury features might tip the budget. It’s the compromise between practicality and a touch of indulgence, a quintessential middle-class decision.

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