A woman who grew up in poverty and became homeless shares what it’s like to be married to a man who grew up in a high-class family.
In a series of three thought-provoking TikTok videos, Michaela and Alex Akins explained how their upbringing in two vastly different economic classes has led them to develop certain habits and idiosyncrasies that contrast sharply.
“These things aren’t discussed much, and I think a lot of people don’t even realize how their socioeconomic status growing up determines their personal habits as adults,” said Michaela, 26, of Los Angeles. BuzzFeed News.
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Candid: Los Angeles-based Michaela and Alex Atkins opened up in a series of TikTok videos about what it’s like to be married to someone from a different economic background
Habits: Michaela, 26, grew up in poverty and was homeless. She explained that she will finish everything on her plate no matter what, while Alex will stop when it is full
Contradictions: She also likes to save leftovers to Alex’s chagrin, who prefers to finish them before they spoil
Growing up with food insecurity and homeless in her childhood and early adulthood, Alex attended private school and had a cleaning service come to his home.
“I wanted to highlight some of the differences in living together that I noticed because of the way we were raised,” she explained in the first video, which shows how their upbringing has affected their eating habits.
“When I eat a meal, I always eat my plate because I wasn’t allowed to leave the table until I cleared my plate and was told it was a waste if I didn’t,” she said. “My husband will eat until he is full like an ordinary person.”
Michaela went on to say that she will keep all her receipts in case something is wrong with what she bought and she needs to take it back, but Alex will simply throw them away and buy the item again if it is faulty.
Looking back: Michaela grew up with food insecurity, which affects her eating habits
Mindset: Michaela saves glass jars, plastic utensils and takeaway spices because she has learned not to waste
No Savings: Alex, 27, grew up in an upper-class house and went to private school. When he’s done with something, he throws it away or recycles it
‘I have a collection of jars in case I can reuse them. I’ve learned never to throw anything away,” she continued. “Alex will throw things away or recycle things when he’s done with them.”
One of the most unexpected differences is that Michaela likes cold lunches, because she ate them as a child, but her husband didn’t.
“Alex only likes a hot lunch because he ate his canteen lunch at his private school, which costs more than all his four years of college combined each day,” she said.
In the second video, which has been viewed more than 4.8 million times, Michaela discussed their different shopping and cleaning habits.
“When he went shopping, Alex always got the brand name,” she said. “I had to teach him that the store brand is just as good with a few notable exceptions.”
Go Generic: Michaela said Alex tends to use branded foods, and she had to teach him that most store branded items are just as good
Having Help: When it comes to cleaning, Alex is better at picking himself up. His family has had a cleaning service all his life
Comparison: Michaela noted that she has paid for herself all the major expenses in her adult life, while Alex has never just bought a car, laptop or cell phone
She noted that her husband can take better care of himself than cleaning because his family has had a cleaning service all his life.
“I’m better at cleaning because if I wanted something clean, I had to do it myself,” she said. “But I’m naturally messier than he is.”
Michaela went on to point out that she and Alex are the same age, but that he “has never bought a car, laptop or cell phone herself, while she has made all the big expenses in her adult life.”
Even the pets they had were different: Alex grew up with purebred poodles, while Michaela’s childhood dog was a pound mixed breed. However, they found agreement when they adopted an appit bull mix from a shelter in Atlanta.
For the third video, the couple switched it up, with Alex walking viewers through his wife’s habits.
No waste: Alex pointed out that Michaela saves gift bags, which he admitted he finds really useful
Self-life: Alex grew up with purebred poodles as pets, but he and Michaela adopted a pit bull mix together
Love: “Everyone has differences in how they grew up, but if you can think of the big things, the little things will work out on their own,” said Alex
“First, Michaela keeps everything from every takeaway we’ve ever ordered from,” he said, moving the camera toward the plastic utensils and packets of spices on the table. “There’s a drawer full of this stuff.
She also keeps all our gift bags, which is great for holidays, birthdays, gifts. Makes it a lot easier,” he admitted.
Michaela is a proponent of not wasting electricity after growing up pinching pennies and always putting things off on Alex.
“Every time I leave a room and leave the light on, she’ll turn it off—even if I go back to that room in a minute,” he said.
Alex also noted that he likes to eat their leftovers, but his wife will leave them in the fridge for next time, and they end up going bad.
“This is a byproduct of growing up with food insecurity and sometimes not knowing where her next meal would come from,” he explained.
“Everyone has differences in how they grew up,” he added at the end of the video, “but if you can discover the big things, the little things will work out.”