Black Friday and Cyber Monday (plus the days immediately following) are the biggest shopping days of the year. We’re sure you – being the smart, savvy, eco friendly and ethical minded person you are – probably want some ideas on how to handle this stressful time. Do you lock your doors, turn out the lights and put your phone on silent while the craziness goes on outside your door? Or, do you do what an awesome, thoughtful individual like yourself does and arm yourself with some tips and tricks on how to make the most of some great deals?
If you’re on a personal journey to shop ethically and live sustainably (kudos to you!) this can be a stressful time of year and how you choose to act or react to it can have a huge impact.
Americans are expected to spend around 731 billion dollars this year in the two month block of November and December. Compare this to 707 billion in 2018 and you can definitely see that holiday consumerism is on the rise. During this time, what you’re really doing is voting with your dollar: making crucial decisions as to which companies receive your support and get to continue doing what they’re doing.
Compare the above to how much we’re donating to charity. $428B was donated to charity in 2018, with only $292B of that figure given by consumers. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to how we’re spending our money. So, how in the world are we supposed to deal with the madness and live a minimal, ethical lifestyle?!
Listen to our podcast episode that breaks down the following tips by searching for “Good Together” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more!
Make a Budget
Think about how much you’re willing to spend over the holidays. You can take a look at how many people you’d like to buy gifts for and sort out how much you think is reasonable for each person and then follow through on the difficult part – sticking to the commitment you’ve made to yourself.
It’s also important to budget out how much you’re willing to spend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a timeframe, keeping in mind that there will probably be gift exchanges at work, holiday parties, holiday dinners and everything in between. You don’t want to over exert yourself financially, even if you think you’re doing a nice thing for other people!
Create a List of Things You Actually Need
A trap that people frequently fall into around this time of year is seeing a great deal + amazing savings and having to pull the trigger on items they didn’t really need or want, right now, just because the price is too good to pass up. Making a list of things you’ve been dying for or meaning to purchase all year. List making also works well for loved ones looking to buy you a gift.
Letting your friends and family know what you really, truly want and need means that they’re not just going to pick up whatever trinket that catches their eye in the name of buying you a gift. It allows them to make thoughtful, useful purchases too! Plus, if you haven’t had the time or money to purchase these things for yourself, it really allows them to give you a gift that you’ll truly appreciate instead of that five pack of perfumes you’d never wear or slippers from Walmart that you would never use.
Stock Up on the Essentials
Here’s a tip you might not have thought to employ to keep your purchase regretfulness at bay – I guarantee that you probably have your favorite products that you use religiously, and some of them may be more expensive than you wish they were. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to stock up on your favorite household products and staples because there are frequently great deals. It may seem like a large expense to buy a year’s worth of shampoo all at once, but the savings you get absolutely add up. If it’s product you feel great about using and would use anyway, why not take advantage of the savings while you can?
Divide and Conquer
It can be important to have the support of a community that values the same things you do. Connect with other ethical, minimally-minded people to help keep each other accountable for your purchases. Alternately, if you have friends and family who aren’t quite living that lifestyle yet, you can enlist their help!
If you’re really dying for a gray couch at a great price, let your loved ones know that you’re on the hunt for one! They may be able to find you a really great deal and having multiple people on the lookout means that you can find the best possible deal!
Shop for a Good Cause
Put your thrill-of-a-bargain impulse to good use by scoring some deals for good. Call up your local animal shelter or favorite neighborhood charity and ask them: what do you need and how can I help? They’ll most likely be glad to take extra dog beds, warm socks, etc.
I also love taking part in an Angel Tree or other initiative for families in need. These organizations typically send you out with a very specific shopping list and you get to have the fun of shopping while also providing for others!
Stay Mindful and Be Grateful
Remember the true meaning of the holidays. It’s about spending time with friends and family, not about all of the cool gadgets you can buy. Be mindful, be intentional, be grateful. Mute email messages if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the offers. Relax and enjoy the dinners and events and the time spent with the people you love the most! They don’t care if you buy them the newest, fanciest thing. Most people just want your time and full attention, so give it to them!
These tips should help you make the most out of this time and help you to make decisions that vibe with you and your values. If you’re looking for some brands you can check out to replace unethical ones you may be tempted to shop from, make sure to listen to the podcast for some amazing substitutions of quality retailers who align with your values and goals! Stay smart out there and enjoy your holidays!