For those who haven’t received the billions of emails about big price drops this week, we have some news: it’s Black Friday.
It’s a US import, of course. Black Friday is to Thanksgiving what the Boxing Day sale is to Christmas, with the fun starting the day after the big event as retailers drop prices on goods and people queue for hours to buy said goods (which they never really needed).
Slowly but surely Black Friday fever has swept the globe and now this day of consumer worship is “observed” in the UK too. If you’re sick of the hype and want to avoid spending hundreds of pounds on things you don’t need, here are some other (more wholesome) things you can do instead...
1. Organise a clothes swap.
You’re in the market for new clothes but don’t want to spend a load of money you haven’t got on new items, and fuel fast fashion in the process – am I right?
So shun the Black Friday sales altogether and set up a clothes swap with your mates – better for the environment and your wallet. Plus you get to spend extra quality time with people you actually like. Set a time and a place, tell them to bring a bag of clothes they don’t want and enjoy the absolute rummage fest that ensues. Wine is optional.
2. Donate to charity.
If you haven’t got capacity to do a clothes swap, why not carve out 10 minutes to go through your wardrobe and have a much-needed sort out – after all, what better reminder that you don’t need to go and buy ANOTHER jumper than throwing four away? Fill a bag with the stuff you don’t use anymore, take it to your local charity shop and be filled with a warm glow from doing good (rather than the cold regret of spending money you don’t have).
3. Buy a hot drink for a homeless person.
The weather’s cold and while people are indoors, nice and cosy, surfing Amazon for the latest deal on electric toothbrushes, there are dozens of people sleeping out on the streets. Why not use the time you’d otherwise be spending surfing the internet to buy a cup of tea or a sandwich for a homeless person. Remember to ask first if they have a preference though, as some homeless people can’t eat or drink certain things because of toothache.
4. Buy stuff, but make sure it’s useful.
OK so buying tat isn’t great and you should avoid doing that at all costs. But there are certain things you could try and get a decent bargain on this week which could actually be better for the planet. If, for example, you find yourself buying coffees every day on your way to work, purchase yourself a keep cup to reduce the amount of waste you’re throwing away. Or if you use a lot of single-use cutlery, why not invest in a bamboo set?
5. Call your gran.
Spend the hour or so you’d spend mindlessly scrolling through deals calling your grandparents (or another family member) instead. Chances are they’ll a) be absolutely delighted to hear from you and b) you’ll feel far better for it. Winning.
6. Sign up to volunteer.
There are so many charities in need of volunteers and you can offer as much, or as little, time as you want to them. “There is evidence to show that people who volunteer and donate to charities are more satisfied, have more positive self-esteem and generally have a greater sense of wellbeing,” psychologist Anthony Cassidy previously told HuffPost UK.
7. Make an effort to recycle.
If everyone made an effort to properly recycle their plastic and cardboard, it could make a huge difference to the amount of rubbish ending up in landfill each year – here are 10 common recycling mistakes you’re probably making and here’s a guide to recycling contamination, which we should all be getting on top of.
8. Help refugees.
The Choose Love shop has re-opened in London today – it’s the world’s first store where you can buy real gifts for refugees. You can shop for practical items like tents, nappies and sleeping bags. But instead of taking them home, each purchase buys a similar item for someone who truly needs it. Leave the store empty-handed, but with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. You can shop online too, here.