Shopping Consciously and Sensibly on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Author: Sandy Abram Date Posted:19 November 2019
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During November and December, we spend a lot of time thinking about shopping. Not only do we have Christmas, but we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday too. Here are 5 tips to help you shop sensibly when deals and offers are so enticing and tempting...
Black Friday will soon be upon us, followed very closely by Cyber Monday. Shops, brands, high streets and shopping centres are all currently vying for our attention, showing us their wares at every given opportunity, enticing us in with early deals and money off promises.
But these kinds of dates in our shopping calendars are also often showcased by frenzied shoppers, fighting, literally, for a cut price television or bargain food processor.
What originated as an American tradition of shops putting on their sales the day after Thanksgiving to start off the Christmas shopping, Black Friday is now a global phenomenon, both online and in bricks and mortar stores.
Cyber Monday was set up in 2005 to help small, independent online companies to benefit from sales when internet shopping was in its infancy. But of course, large online retailers who also have a high street presence now jump on that bandwagon too.
It’s now thought that shoppers buy more in November than in December, so Black Friday and Cyber Monday have changed the way we shop in just a few short years.
Not only that, the week that marks both of these days, is now the biggest spending week of the entire year, a figure that’s increasing by almost 30% year on year.
So whilst all this spending might be good the for the economy, what’s it like for the environment?
The Environmental Impact of Black Friday
According to Greenpeace, we buy twice as much clothing as we did in 2000, and wear it half as long. National Geographic say we’ll buy more electronic items on Cyber Monday than anything else.
Both of these stats are saddening because of the waste generated by buying all of these things. Clothing made from polyester, nylon and Lycra all contain plastic which means their manufacture is responsible for fossil fuel usage. If not given to charity (cheap, mass produced clothing often doesn’t last very long before becoming unwearable) once they’re tossed aside, they’ll languish in landfill for hundreds of years, leaching their toxins.
E-waste is a huge problem too, with only 20% of our old phones, laptops, TVs, fridges and other electricals being recycled. The rest join all that plastic clothing in landfill, potentially leaking lead and mercury into the environment.
Ready to be brave and to perhaps say no to those deals that are too good to be true? Here's my top 5 tips for shopping consciously, sensibly and with both you and the planet in mind.
# 1 - It’s Not a Good Deal if You Don’t Need it
We think sales are great. Why would we pay full price for something when we could save ourselves some money on something we need? The thing is, the emphasis here is on the word need, not want.
Frenzied shopping, grabbing cheap electricals, clothing, beauty products and kitchen equipment when you really don’t want it, is no good for your bank balance or the planet.
The more stuff we have, the more we buy into the consumerists dream of piling it high, selling it cheap.
Nothing’s cheap if you don’t need it. We might feel like we’re saving money by buying a half price food processor. But are we really saving money if we don’t actually need a food processor? Or are we spending money mindlessly and unnecessarily, feeding the coffers of yet another shopping giant?
By all means, if your kettle is nearing exhaustion from being overworked, or you’re looking for the latest gadget as a Christmas present for a loved one, then go save yourself some money by buying it in the sales.
# 2 Make a List & Shop Sustainably
There are so many wonderful brands and products we can choose to support these days so if you are going to grab yourself a saving, try and opt for sustainable and ecofriendly products, seek out ethical brands and try to buy something that will last you a long time. When it comes to shopping, thinking like our grandparents, and buying quality over quantity is definitely something that's worth considering.
Also, making a list is a great idea. Stick to what you really need and try not to be tempted by the bright colors and flashing lights.
# 3 Cheap is Not Always Better
Not something we may want to think about too much but if something is so cheap and seems too good to be true, it may come at the expense of something else or at a cost somewhere else. There are definitely ways companies can cut corners be it through cheap labour, child labour, mass production or engaging in materials and processes that would be toxic and harmful to you or harmful to our planet.
# 4 Planet over Profits
Consider supporting businesses that give back to their community and to the planet. Wholesome Hub, like many amazing companies in Australia and internationally, is a proud members of 1% for the Planet. This means we donate 1% of all sales to non profit organisations that are making a positive social and environmental impact in our world.
# 5 - Switch Off
Don't let FOMO get to you. If you’re being swept up in a wave of consumerism, perhaps walk away for a moment, do something different, go for a walk, get some fresh air or log off. It's OK to switch off and be in the moment. Sure you might feel like you're missing out on a great shopping deal, just for a moment, but think of what you'll gain.
And if you're looking for some inspiration on what you can do besides shopping, here's 39 things we could think of to get you started...
1. Go for a walk - park, beach, neighbourhood
2. Head out to the bush and go for a hike
3. Jump into a local yoga class
4. Go for a bike ride
5. Head over to the library
6. Explore your neighbourhood streets
7. Visit a neighbour
8. Volunteer at a local community centre
What's cooking good looking?
9. Get baking and make a cake
10. Get cooking and cook up some dinners and freeze
11. Put together a Dinner Plan for the next couple of weeks
Home Sweet Home
12. Do a spring clean (and donate what you don't need)
13. Wash the windows
The Power of Words
14. Write a letter
15. Send someone a thank you note
16. Write down your dreams and goals
17. Put together a gratitude list
18. Write to a company / brand / newspaper about something you'd like to see change or something that you're passionate about
19. Write a blog
Knowledge is Power
20. Make some popcorn and watch a documentary you've been wanting to see
21. Read a book
22. Do some gardening and plant some herbs, veggies, a tree
23. Plant some flowers for our bees and butterflies
24. Offer to do some gardening for a neighbour or someone that needs help
25. Give yourself a foot bath and relax
26. Put on a face mask or hair treatment
27. Soak in the bath
28. Listen to music you love...loud is OK
Love Makes the World Go Round
29. Make a romantic dinner for two (or more)
30. Invite friends over to dinner
31. Snuggle up with someone you love
32. Have a real conversation (gadget free) about your dreams and plans for the future
33. Get raunchy
Outside the Box
34. Learn to do something new - how about knitting or crochet?
35 Let your hair down and dance around the house
36. Give a jigsaw puzzle a go
37. Pull out a favourite board game
38. Try a new language - Duolingo is great
39. Plan your next holiday - think local
40. Plan your next long weekend away
41. Plan some things you'd like to do in the future
To protect our planet, we need to be manufacturing fewer things, using fewer fossil fuels and creating less waste and carbon. By not going crazy and getting caught up in the shopping mania, you'll save yourself some hard earned money and will be helping to protect this planet we all call home. And doesn’t that feel great?