Let’s talk about Black Friday for what it really is: a hysteria-induced frenzy of shopping and over consumption the day after we give thanks for everything we have. Phew! Felt good to get that off my chest.
But for real. We spend Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends, giving thanks and expressing gratitude for the things in our lives that mean the most to us. Then in true consumerism fashion, we spend the next day buying all of the material things we’re convinced we’re missing in our lives. It’s too easy to flip the switch.
Of course now, Black “Friday” deals are starting days before Thanksgiving and lasting through Cyber Monday. Just last year in 2017, 69% of Americans shopped between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday (CBS, 2017). Odds are, at the least you’ll probably be doing at least some gift shopping this weekend. I know I will be. So if you’re one of the 69% who will be shopping this weekend, here are a few tips to help keep your sanity and consciousness while shopping Black Friday…week.
Black Friday is not the only day you can get a discounted price on gifts. Sales are starting earlier (many have already started) and are running longer than ever have before. This gives you an opportunity to really think through your purchases – the buy it or lose it mentality (thankfully) has been thwarted now that sales last multiple days. Especially for clothing, I’ve found that stores hold the exact same sales the day before Thanksgiving as they do on Black Friday. Head out the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds and the stress. The malls are practically empty!
It is SO easy to get distracted on Black Friday. Deals are everywhere and it feels like everything is on sale. It’s incredibly tempting to buy a few things for yourself because after all, it’s so cheap. What’s the harm, right? But if we all go in with that attitude, it quickly leads to buying way more than we actually need. Staying focused on only what you really need will prevent you from over consuming. Plus your wallet will thank you later. Write down a list before you go so you can reference it while you’re out shopping. If it’s not on your list of “needs” but you really want it, consider asking for it as a gift instead of buying it yourself. Also staying on the straight and narrow and focusing on just getting gifts for others is a good strategy, because you’re less likely to over buy for other people.
Remember that at the end of the day, products are more than just the sum of their price tag. Look for the best quality products instead of the best price products. Things that were made with care are built to last. Shopping for handmade, ethical, or sustainable gifts will stand out for being unique. You can also look for products that have the Fair Trade Certified symbol, to ensure the workers who made the item were treated and compensated fairly. After all, isn’t a one-of-a-kind gift more meaningful than just getting “the best” deal?
Do you shop on Black Friday weekend? If so, do you have any tips for managing the craziness? Let me know in the comments!