Joana Jesus has found the secret to a happy life. She has managed to find ways to live more by spending much less than the rest of us.

By Sílvia Carvalho D’almeida

From buying clothing in second-hand shops to recycling materials to upcycling pieces of furniture and home accessories, she exudes sustainability from every pore. With the money she saves, the one thing she loves to do is travel. Last August, she went to Cyprus to volunteer and she says the experience could not have been better.

The 25-year-old explains that, as a child, she was not given everything she wanted, but she had wonderful parents who taught her to use her imagination to create, saving as much as she could. For example, when it was one of her friend’s birthdays, she would create original gifts by herself instead of buying expensive, meaningless presents.

Joana had to work to pay for her college degree, managing five part-time jobs while studying at the same time. From that experience, she says she learned to be even more creative when it comes to spending her money.

The project Peanuts Lifestyle emerged when Joana got laid off from the marketing company she worked for. Suddenly she had a lot of free time and she wanted to use it to share her experience of living happily with fewer euros in her pocket. She points out that buying less is good for the environment because fewer of the planet’s resources are being consumed. She is very rational, and before buying something, she always asks herself whether she really needs it or just wants it. She started the project with zero budget, using social media to get the word about.

As well as her day-to-day savings, she managed to travel to three countries for only 180€. She is very concerned about sustainability, and when she takes a shower, she always saves the water to flush the toilet later.

Being a marketeer, Joana is able to deconstruct the techniques used to persuade consumers to buy more and more in her social media posts. She hopes this will help people resist temptation and avoid excessive consumerism.

Joana is committed to this project full-time right now, and she is frequently asked to lecture at schools and universities about living in a more sustainable way, both financially and environmentally. She manages to live on the income she brings in, and lives independently in her own home with her boyfriend. She has time to pursue what she likes in life. Travelling is her passion and she intends to do it more, using the money she saves.

She explains how, as a teenager, her friends used to boast about how much they had spent on something, like a pair of trousers or a watch, but nowadays support her work and speak more of how much they have saved when buying something. Joana believes this might be because they are spending their own money now, and are thus more aware of its worth.

Peanuts Lifestyle is particularly focused on reaching young people and changing their habits as consumers, but everyone can have access to its content and learn how to save a few euros at the end of the month.

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