Every year I plan not to ‘celebrate’ Black Friday and every year I inevitably buy something – many somethings – despite my inherent desire for minimalism and my anti-capitalistic tendencies. I have always been a deal finder, a bargain hunter, a thrifty woman–not because it is convenient but because I know what it is like to have to make money stretch. Growing up poor you know what it is like to want, not get, and then feel guilty for wanting.
When Black Friday rolls around each year, the opportunity to buy so much stuff for such a good price pretty much overpowers the logic centre in my body. I have never managed a Black Friday cold turkey… but this year I am practicing a different style of consumerism – mindfulness – on the biggest shopping day of the year.
Know What You Have
Yesterday, I sorted through all my lingerie–ALL of it. My hands touched every single piece of lingerie I own. I sorted all my lingerie into four piles:
- Keep & it fits
- Keep & I hope it will fit someday
- Sell or donate
- Take to textile recycling
I took time to just take in the sheer volume of lingerie I own and dwell on a feeling I don’t get when I look at BF sales — the feeling of having, of already owning and possessing and being full. It helps to count what you have — I was certainly disillusioned by the number of bras I thought I had compared to reality! I also had a cold reality check when I noticed the number of items that don’t fit me… and that have never fit me. The number of items that still have tags on and that ended up in the sell pile because I bought them on sale during a previous Black Friday sale and they never fit, and never will. My mind then wandered over the amount of $$$ wasted…
Knowledge is a powerful weapon.
Appreciate What You Have
I know Black Friday is fuelled by what we want-want-want and what we need-need-need or think we need anyway. Advertisers try hard to always produce feelings of “what I have just isn’t good enough” when the opposite is often true.
After sorting out my lingerie, I took some extra time with the keep it & it fits group. I tried on various pieces I hadn’t worn for a while and admired the way I looked in them. Then I took selfies. The selfies act as flashcards–quick reference points for the fucking awesome lingerie that I already own and that I know fits!
Then take some time to appreciate your lingerie collection. Look at the fabrics, admire the cut, dance around in a special bra, and wiggle your butt in a fantastic pair of underwear. Delight in the cut of a bodysuit that hugs your curves perfectly. Create a positive emotional association with what you already have in your possession.
Comparison shopping is not just about comparing price tags and going with the cheaper option. Practice mindful shopping by comparing what you are buying against the best of what you already have.
Selfies are the cornerstone of comparison shopping: when filling up your digital shopping card with Black Friday deals, compare those items to the images you have taken of yourself in your best. Do you like the soon-to-be new purchases as much or more than what you already have? No? Then put it back.
I also use a secondary method for making purchases: the 1-10 scale. We can all have our own cut-off points but, for me, items must be an 8 or higher in order for me to purchase them. My Damaris bra is a 10, as are several other pieces I own. Know what pieces are your benchmarks and make sure everything you buy is equal to or better than what you already possess.
If you want a silk robe, then don’t buy a polyester robe because it is a good deal. If you dream of Agent Provocateur, then don’t buy La Senza.
I have personally found that after pages and pages of Black Friday discounts, I am often tempted to get the cheapest items. I tend to fall prey to quantity over quality. I also tend to rarely wear those items I compromised on because I never really wanted them in the first place.
Trust me, 75% off is not a deal if you are never going to wear it. Only buy what you really want, need, and love.
Maintain your Morals
I am against slave labour, child labour, unhealthy working conditions, unsafe factories, poverty wages, and exploitation. I am against chemical dumping, tainting ground water, pesticides, deforestation, and pollution.
I am for organic, fair trade, living wages, health and safety standards in factories, and the value of human life and the environment over profits.
I am against large corporations driving indie boutiques out of business by undercutting prices. I am for indie boutiques and small businesses and mom n’ pop shops.
When spending money this Black Friday, remember that “every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want” (Anna Lappe). Don’t compromise your morals for a deal. Don’t buy 20 pairs of underwear for $3 from companies known to use sweatshops. Rather, support brands whose practices align with your morals– support them today, support them tomorrow, and support them throughout the year.
Happy mindful Black Friday shopping!