Black Friday is a fairly recent addition to the West’s yearly consumerist traditions. It falls on the Friday before Thanksgiving and is recognised as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in America. As far back as 1952, stores began opening early and offering one-day promotions to boost their sales, and in recent years the event has stretched from a day to a weekend to a whole week of sales, not only in America but across the world and here in Britain too.
Black Friday does have its uses – it can of course be a great way of ticking some purchases off your list for a fraction of the cost. So long as you don’t get sucked into unnecessary and impulse spending, it can be really useful.
But, for the most part, it creates a lot of unnecessary pressure. Arguably it endangers smaller businesses that can’t keep up with the price cuts that the larger companies can. And people feel under pressure to spend, whether they can afford to or not, sucked into clever marketing and discount stickers giving the impression of a ‘deal’ you just can't miss.
Cue ‘Buy Nothing Day’ – a campaign on the same day as Black Friday (Friday 24 November this year) whereby people take a day’s break from spending. Partly developed out of protest, if nothing else Buy Nothing Day marks a modicum of peace before the Christmas rush really begins.
Fancy giving it a go? Here are some ideas for adapting your daily routine.
Breakfast (and other meals)
Have a good root around in the back of your kitchen cupboards – have you got any tinned goods or non-perishables that have been sitting there for months or even years? Provided they’re still in date, these could be enough to rustle up a meal or two without spending a penny.
The school run
Could you ditch the car for a day and walk the kids to school instead? The same goes for the commute into work. If it’s too far, why not car share with another family, a neighbour or co-worker? (Presuming they’re not doing Buy Nothing Day too!)
Lunch at work
Easy – swap your usual meal deal or lunch out for a packed lunch from home.
A day at home
Don’t work? There are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained for a day without spending anything. Why not read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf for ages? Get back to that hobby you’ve been neglecting? Visit your neighbour for a coffee? If nothing else, these are bound to be less stressful than navigating the dreaded Black Friday crowds.
Evening with the kids
If you think you can manage to get the whole family on board with Buy Nothing Day, encourage the kids to ditch the TV for a day and play outside, or why not go old school with a family board game?
You can still spend the evening with friends and have a great social outing. The Buy Nothing Day website suggests organising a free concert, but it could be as simple as having a friendly kick-about in the park or a pamper evening. It’s only one day, after all – make the most of it and try something different!
To find out more about Buy Nothing Day, click here. If you decide to give it a go, don’t forget to share what you have planned on Twitter using #BuyNothingDay. For more ways to spend less, budget your money and save for the future, why not sign up for a CAP Money Course? Click here to search for a course in your area.