The Ghanaian symbol for twins is q Siamese twin crocodile
and means “Unity in Diversity.”
“Same, same. But different.”
This is a saying that is heard often in Ghanaian pigeon English, referring to something being both the same and different at the same time. That would be how I would best describe my twin sister, Darcy, and my experiences and relationships with money.
While we are identical twins, how we manage and deal with money is more often than not pretty different. I guess it speaks to the nature versus nurture question. I think we’d both say it is hard to pinpoint where things went differently, but would both agree on the marked differences.
To understand our differences today it is helpful to look back at our earlier influences around money. We both thought that the penny candy mini-tootsie rolls and Jolly Ranchers at the only store in our small rural town was a smokin’ deal, even if our mom wasn’t thrilled with heaps of candy. But somewhere after that we started to diverge a bit.
Even in high school I would have been pegged as the saver and Darcy as the spender. Me, unwilling to part with money for cool environmental t-shirts or CDs. My sis couldn’t get enough of either. When I did spend money it was definitely saving up and then spending it all at once.
College was definitely a defining periods around money for both of us. I opted for a more expensive liberal arts school, Lewis & Clark College, that I could barely afford. Darcy went to Oregon state schools as well as a year in Denmark. We actually both came out of undergrad with pretty close to the same amount of student loans (thanks to grants and paying tuition through on my side and a year in Denmark on Darcy’s side). However, while we were in school, Darcy got money back from her financial aid package and lived relatively cheaply while I worked two jobs to pay for a more expensive education.
Saving to spend was a trend that I kept on through college, where I worked two jobs throughout and saved during one semester to pay for the next semester of tuition. What I had leftover would go towards travel, saving and saving and saving, and then traveling until I was down to the end of what I had. All to start over again. I definitely recall returning from more than one trip running on E.
While I could go on about our various differences, I think the thing that intrigues me most is that from the outside we look pretty similar. Even if you spent some time around us, the differences would be subtle at best. It reminds me of how our underlying feelings toward money manifest themselves in our day to day approaches towards money, even if we don’t take the time to think back as to how those developed.
We are in the process of reflecting on those experiences, and will be sharing our money stories in a series of posts.
Miel (and Darcy)
Sustainable Family Finances
Growing abundance while living down-to-Earth