The most infamous shopping day of the year—Black Friday. Retailers train all year for it, and some consumers too. In fact, consumers shelled out $14.13 billion over Black Friday weekend in 2020, and that’s expected to increase to at least $17 billion in 2021.
The why is obvious. Deals—so. many. deals. Whether you’re shopping for holiday gifts, or for yourself, it’s hard to pass them up. I mean, three pairs of shoes for the price of one? It doesn’t get more tempting. But while the savings may seem to have a spell over us, it’s important to still be mindful of what we’re purchasing.
After all, overconsumption is undoubtedly linked to climate change. From the waste we create with our throwaway mindsets, to the resources used in manufacturing, it’s clear that buying less is a crucial part of solving the climate crisis.
So if you want to score your Black Friday deals, while still giving thought to the planet, read on for a few sustainable Black Friday shopping tips!
5 Black Friday Shopping Tips to Avoid Overconsumption
1. Make a list of what you need
This is a good idea whether you’re shopping with the planet in mind or not. Without a list you become much more vulnerable to impulse purchases—the candle you smell while waiting in line, the scarf they say “completes your look” at checkout. You’re much more likely to say “why not” and add to cart if you’re not shopping with intention.
Prevent this situation by planning out, at least a week or two in advance, exactly what you intend to purchase. If you’re shopping online (which you may want to do, but more on that later), save links to the exact products on your list. When the day arrives, click on them, enter that credit card number, and put the computer away.
If you’re shopping in person, enter the store, find your products, and leave. This is not a day to browse, unless you want a disapproving look from your wallet and Mother Earth.
2. Use this time to stock up on essentials
Black Friday is the perfect time to load up your cabinets with staple items. Shampoo and conditioner, skincare products, lotion—instead of buying them repeatedly throughout the year buy them in bulk on shopping extravaganza weekend. You’re able to take advantage of savings, without making unnecessary purchases.
3. Purchase from small businesses
Instead of flocking to big box stores, try supporting small or sustainable businesses. These stores often still run great deals, and you’ll be more likely to find something truly unique (you know, so Aunt Janet doesn’t end up with 5 “This might be wine” mugs this year). A couple of my favorite online marketplaces that stock a variety of ethical brands, small and large: Ten Thousand Villages and EarthHero.
4. Consider shopping online
This may vary by person, but I find it much easier to avoid impulse purchases when shopping online. I can simply search directly for the item I need, avoiding the inevitable browsing that happens when wandering through a store in person.
If you’re worried about shipping emissions, try selecting the “pick up in-store” option when possible. That way you can pick the item up at a later date, while avoiding the barrage of people and tempting discounts.
5. Unsubscribe from marketing emails
I know this sounds counterintuitive because how else will you know about the discounts?? But trust me, out of sight out of mind is better. Odds are that by Black Friday you’ll already have an idea of the items you want to buy and where to buy them. You don’t need your favorite clothing store from 2017 hitting you with the retail equivalent of a “wyd?” text. Hit that unsubscribe button (or risk panic buying peasant tops).
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