Never poor, but I also didn't get a car until I was 32. What a money pit those things are!
As a student I lived in a small 'apartment', 12 to a floor, shared kitchen, phone, no laundry. I ate at the university, bought cheap food and had the dollar cinema for entertainment. Yet living on my own was the life of luxury, plus it was in Amsterdam, cheap beer at the fraternity, coffee shop around the corner. I used to play games at the university after hours in the computer room.