How an Ethical and Minimalist Lifestyle Can Impact your Finances with Janina

Allow Yourself to be Uncomfortable

In today’s episode, we will speak to my friend Janina @JaninaArsenjeva, whom I have met on Twitter.

Janina is a human rights lawyer from Estonia living in Brussels with her son. A couple of years ago she has made the choice to consume and live more ethically and this has led her to live a more minimalistic life.

minimalism ethical living
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

We will talk about her discovery of minimalism, how she implements it in her daily life as a single mother and she will share practical and easy steps to get started. She will also share the benefits of minimalism and decluttering (and not only decluttering physical stuff) and to conclude we will of course look at how minimalism has affected her finances.

Read more: The Benefits of Minimalism: An Uncluttered Walkthrough to a More Intentional Life

Listen here:

…or listen on Apple Podcasts

This episode is for you if you want to know more about minimalism and if you are looking at simplifying your life as a whole (and no, it is not only about empty cupboards with 3 coffee cups, white walls, and not owning a car 😉).

Key Takeaways:

  • The Diderot effect: Do not enter the spiraling consumption cycle introduced by a new fancy piece of clothing for example. Don’t become a slave of your « new gown ».
  • Minimalism and children:
    • As a young parent, it is easy to try to buy the best for your child (herbal tea, pram, car seats,…). Be discerning, some of these items may not solve your problems.
    • Set a good example to your children, so they can see you walk the talk.
    • Is there a toy library where you live? Children do not need that many toys at the same time. Help them also find joy in free activities.
  • Minimalism:
    • Understand why you do this (not only because it is trendy) and allow yourself to be uncomfortable.
    • Take your time, do it gradually, it is a journey.
    • Be minimalist with your food as well.
    • Decluttering your mental clutter not only your physical possessions. Minimize the mental junk as well.
    • Ethical living, personal finance, and minimalism form a triangulation. Minimalism can start from different places.
  • How to start: 
    • Start with decluttering one room.
    • Mindful decluttering: Sell, exchange, donate, recycle it. It takes effort but it gives more meaning.
    • Try to get the child onboard.
    • Simplify your activities and schedule.
  • Positive consequences 
    • Reduced impulse purchases.
    • More money to save for an Emergency fund –> flexibility in case of difficulties at work.
    • Exploring financial protection and financial growth strategies. You do not focus on working hard to fund an expensive lifestyle anymore.

Little Surprise

Here is my cover of Society by Eddie Vedder (from the movie “Into The Wild”), I find the song very fitting with today’s topic 😀 .

Who is Janina?

Janina is a human rights lawyer. Since this is the kind of lawyer that traditionally does not make lots of money, she has had to become creative in making the most of her finances by conscientiously spending, growing, and preserving her wealth. This in turn has driven her to discover minimalism, which to her is a combination of a clutter-free home and, more importantly, clutter-free head (that’s the hard bit!). Janina is a parent to a five-year-old boy, who is her best teacher in minimalism and simple living. You can find Janina on Twitter where she is vocal about disability, human rights, and social inequality issues.

Janina mother son family minimalism
Janina and her son


  • Twitter: @JaninaArsenjeva
  • Book recommendation: Atomic Habits
  • Best purchase under 100 euros: A headset to listen to your favorite tunes/audiobooks/podcasts on the go!

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