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I immediately need to talk about the 17 things that made you rich as a kid in Australia.

I know I'm late, but I've made an important observation:

Raising children is... criminally expensive.

It's only now as a 30-year-old woman that I look back and realise how bizarre it is that my parents, who were both in their 30s during my early childhood, were expected to feed, bathe, clothe, entertain, educate and provide shelter to four children?? Like with WHAT MONEY?

Heh? 

FROM WHERE?

Not all of us are millionaires?

And then there was Christmas! And birthdays! And school holidays! And Easter! And weekends! And school uniforms and the canteen and netball and other people's parties and it must be so painful just handing out all your money to little people who don't understand that they're being financially supported while living at home and being heinously unemployed.

Having four kids in our family, we got used to standard, middle class spending habits. 

You got your shoes at Payless. You got your clothes at Kmart or Big W (not Pumpkin Patch), or hand-me-downs from another kid you met at a barbeque once. You got a big packet of chicken chips to share on a Sunday afternoon and when Jessie ate them all you yelled in her face and genuinely thought you might make her spit them back up so you could have some more. 

And when other families didn't live like this, you noticed

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These are the low-key things that definitely meant you were rich as a kid. 

A fridge with an ice dispenser

I'm still really excited when I go to someone's house and their fridge has filtered water and an ice dispenser. Like I'm sorry but your fridge makes ice?? Whenever I want it? Yeah, I'll be having a cup of ice for fun and might take some home for later.

HOW. Image: Getty. 

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A dishwasher with a cutlery tray

There's always a moment where you think they don't have a designated space for the cutlery. In their dishwasher. Which seems odd, given the overall standard of the rest of the home. 

Then you find it. Hidden up the top. Like some kind of organisational hack. That only rich people would ever think of.  

Shopping at Myer or David Jones

Those kids were elite. I'm sorry, but are you intending on buying good quality clothing? Even though you'll grow out of it? That feels like a waste of money, but okay.

'Gran bought them and no one knows where from.' Image: Supplied. 

Flying Qantas

I mean, flying generally was very rich. I didn't get on a plane until I was 18. But flying Qantas was - and still is - very fancy. 

Families who fly Qantas also have swimming pools and trampolines and good quality bikes.

Buying lunch during a day out, instead of packing it from home

I remember going to the Easter Show and Mum insisting on packing ham sandwiches from home. She also brought Pop Tops, and yes they were warm. 

Eugh. Image: Woolworths. 

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All I wanted was that stupid stick with chips on it. Or a ridiculous drink filled with 17 tablespoons of sugar. 

WAS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!

Knowing how to ski

Yes, well. Only certain types of families went on skiing holidays. 

When I went to uni a lot of people seemed to know how to ski, which confused me initially. 

But then I realised their family holidays probably hadn't consisted of driving from Sydney to Adelaide to see distant relatives. They were... different. 

Oh. 

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A house with a name

If you had a plaque out the front of your house with a name on it, congratulations. You were wealthy. 

Having a bath not attached to a shower

Don't even get me started on clawfoot bathtubs. I'm sorry, is this a suburban home or a palace in France?

Buying snacks at the movies

When we went to the movies, Mum would obviously take us to Coles or Woolies to buy snacks from there for a quarter of the price of what you'd pay at the candy bar.

But. 

Snacks just taste better when they're stupid expensive? A packet of $14 Maltesers is all I ever wanted.

That marketing tho. Image: Event Cinemas.  

Then you'd go to the movies with a friend's family and they'd buy a frozen coke and a plastic cup of lollies and you realised: This is how the rich live.

This is why capitalism exists.

Cans of soft drink instead of a 1.25L bottle

I remember going to a friend's place and his mum ordered pizza. With the pizza came several individual cans of soft drink. 

What.

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How had she? Did that mean? I got one to... myself?

For me? How?  

Our family only ever shared a huge bottle. And we fought over it.

A separate drinks fridge

Speaking of soft drink cans - some families had a SEPARATE FRIDGE in their garage/rumpus room (a rumpus room was a rich kid thing) that was stocked with drinks. I think for special occasions?

But it's like: if we had that fridge in our house it would be empty within three hours. And someone would probably break the fridge. And Dad would yell about the electricity bill.

Giving out lolly bags at parties

Kids with lolly bags at their birthday parties were loaded.

Imagine... giving a gift... to other children... simply for coming to your birthday. Who has that kind of cash?

Getting more than one show bag at the Royal Easter Show

Firstly, the Easter Show was crazy expensive and I think we only went because my uncle could get us discounted tickets. 

But we were strictly allowed one show bag. And I always made a terrible choice and immediately regretted it.

Then you'd walk around and see these kids walking around carrying 7??? And it's like, isn't that illegal??

'I can spot 6 show bags, and I only have one that I already ate.' Image: Getty. 

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Buying a Magnum

So. It's a hot day. You're at the park or the public pool. Everyone's getting an ice block.

Then one kid casually buys a Magnum Classic. 

Is your mum the Queen of a foreign country because where did you get that kind of money? That's like at least $3?

Having individually wrapped snacks in your lunchbox

Kids whose families were 'doing well' would have mini packets of Smiths chips in their lunchboxes. 

Then there was my lunchbox, where Mum had clearly bought a family sized packet of chips, taken a handful, and put them in a snap lock bag.

One per child. Probably for two to three days in a row. 

FFS.

Nutella

Nutella was a rich kid thing.

I refuse to elaborate.

Having brand name school shoes

I use the term 'brand name' loosely, but I mean anything that wasn't Payless. 

Clarks, for example. These were not Clarks:

Fml. Image: Supplied. 

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Look. These observations are niche. But they're goddamn true. 

In fact, the next time I see a kid with a Magnum, I'm going to a) ask what their parents' combined annual income is, and b) arrest them. 

Because that level of wealth should be against the law.

For more from Clare Stephens, you can follow her on Instagram or Tik Tok

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.

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