First of all happy Thanksgiving to all my lovely American readers and anyone else who celebrates. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Scotland but over the last few years, the American trend of heavily discounted shopping on Black Friday has been growing here. Traditionally our stores would wait until after Christmas before reducing prices and we would have Boxing day sales. However, recently more and more stores have been offering discounts in the run up to Christmas, in particular, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I have mixed feelings about these discounts. On the one hand getting a discount on your Christmas gifts is great. If you know exactly what you need and where to get it then that 25% off is great. In the past, I’ve benefited from discounts on my Christmas gifts and electronics which I was planning to purchase. These were thought out purchases and the discount was a bonus. However, it’s the mindless spending these shopping events encourage which I don’t like. I understand it can be hard to resist money off something. My inbox has been full of 25% off, or 50% off vouchers all week and even I’m finding it hard to resist. Even though I know I don’t need anything. It’s encouraging people to buy just for the sake of a discount. I heard somewhere that people are willing to go into debt for a bargain, which is just crazy. And don’t get me started on the people fighting each other over a cheap TV!
Remember its not a bargain if you don’t need or use it
If you’re anything like me you’ll be wanting to avoid the shops and the internet on Black Friday and find something more meaningful to do instead. Obviously, if you’re in the UK, you will probably be at work but I know a lot of these discounts will run over the weekend and we still have Boxing Day to come. So I’m sure you’ll still have days you want to avoid the shops and online shopping. Here are my 5 alternative ways to spend Black Friday, which coincidently are all free or almost free. Perfect if you need to save some money before Christmas.
Get wrapped up and go out into the countryside for the day. Yes, it will be cold but that’s what your hats, scarves and gloves are for (read my tips on keeping warm in winter). This is a beautiful time of year to get out into the countryside. If it’s frosty everything has a pretty sparkle to it, or you may have a sprinkling of snow which is sure to make you feel festive. Depending on where you live you may be able to catch the last of the autumn leaves before the fall, and we all know how pretty the autumn leaves are. Going for a walk is a great way to burn off those extra calories from a day of eating. The Boxing Day walk is a bit of a tradition in my family.
What can beat a day on the sofa in your pyjamas eating leftovers and watching a box set (or 2)? This is my plan for Friday, I will be watching The Gilmore Girls revival. I binged watched all of the Gilmore Girls series back in the summer and I’m so excited for the revival. If you don’t fancy Gilmore Girls I suggest Stranger Things, Luke Cage, Suits, The Get Down, The Good Wife or Once Upon a Time.
If you’re at home all day why not reduce the size of your wardrobe instead of adding to it. Read my tips on clearing out your wardrobe and creating a capsule wardrobe if you really want to have a more minimal wardrobe. Donate your unwanted clothes to charity and someone else can get the opportunity to enjoy them. Give yourself plenty of time for this job as it can take all day (when I did my big clear out before creating my capsule wardrobe I spent a whole weekend on it) and plenty cups of tea/coffee.
OK, I get it you might be thinking Jen it’s only November I’m not putting my tree up. But how about getting it down from the attic (or wherever you store it) and checking your decorations. I love getting the box of decorations down and seeing all my pretty Christmas baubles again. Maybe instead of putting up the tree you start small by hanging some fairy lights around the fireplace. They will definitely brighten up the dark evenings. Or you could make a start on writing your Christmas cards so they’re all ready to go.
When was the last time you spent the day wandering around a museum? Probably on a school trip. It’s something I keep telling myself to do and definitely a good use of a day off. Here in the UK entry to most museums is free so much kinder on your wallet than a wander around the shops. The Museum of Scotland here in Edinburgh has a new fashion (well it’s been open since Summer) which I’ve been meaning to visit for ages so I’ll be making an effort to go on my next day off.
If you must go shopping, try to stick to local independent retailers. Support a local independent creative or store owner rather than the big corporate stores this Christmas. You’ll find unique gifts (often personalised) which are likely to be more ethically and sustainably made.
Do you have any more alternative ways to spend Black Friday? Let me know in the comments