Black Friday; An Ethical Shoppers Perspective

“Save 100% on Black Friday by buying nothing!”

Black Friday is a capitalistic event that happens once a year here in the states. It’s an opportunity for corporations to make huge amounts of money and for consumers to spend more than they anticipated.

Shopping only from ethical brands is expensive. That’s why personally, I shop during Black Friday. The event gives me the opportunity to purchase from brands I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. In the past, I bought a pair of Avarcas Pons sandals for more than $20 off and this year got a similar discount when shopping for rain boots at Alice + Whittles. That being said, it’s still so easy to get distracted and to overspend. This year I came up with a few guidelines for myself that others may find helpful for future Black Fridays and other tempting sales.

Side note: I only shop online during Black Friday. This further helps keep me from buying unwanted and unneeded stuff!

Make a list of what you need prior to the sale:

Take the time to decide if an item is something you need or something you want. It’s ok to buy things that you just want, but be sure to prioritize what you need and budget accordingly. I like to think about if I needed the item in the past day (toothpaste), week (warm sweater), or even year (rain boots) depending on what it is and how often I use it. This helps me decide if it’s something I need or just something I desire. Once you have your list, stick to it.

This year, my list looked something like this: Rain boots, knitted beanie, skirt.

Next, research where you’re going to buy your items:

It’s important for me to support ethical brands whenever possible. This means I usually have to do more research than the average consumer. It’s important to do this before Black Friday so you don’t get distracted by the sales other companies that you didn’t plan to purchase from are having.

I found boots from Alice + Whittles, beanie from United by Blue, and skirt from Urban Outfitters (not ethical, but i’d borrowed it from a friend before and decided it was worth breaking the moral code for)

Reduce exposure to advertisements if possible:

Corporations bombard us consumers with advertisements year round, but especially when it comes to the holiday season. Reduce your exposure by unfollowing brands on Instagram, unsubscribing to emails or cutting down on TV time. Or, just be aware that they are targeting you and be mindful of how that effects you. Again, stick to your list.

On the big day; only visit sites on your list:

The night before Black Friday, pull up all the sites you’re buying from and leave the page open on the item you’re buying. That way you can’t get distracted by other deals (which will cost you more money, even if you’re saving a few $). Don’t look at other sites! At all!

This year I fell for an email advertising 25% a native american brand i support which had just dropped new products that day. I don’t regret my purchase because I’m happy to support the company, but I did end up spending $50 more than I had planned.

Check for sales:

These days, Black Friday is more like Black Week. Sales can start as early as Monday and last till the next Monday. Personally, on Black Friday I’ll check the websites I’m buying from to see if they have sales. If they do, I’ll go ahead and buy the items. If they don’t, or if it’s not a very worthwhile sale, I’ll check back on Cyber Monday.

This worked great for Urban outfitters this year. They offered a Bogo 50%, but I only wanted to buy the one item. I ended up waiting till cyber monday and they offered a $10 off coupon when spending $50 which worked for me!

Remember that at the end of the day you’re really only saving a few dollars. Hopefully, the savings help make ethical shopping more affordable, but don’t over extend yourself trying to get those deals. If you want to feel a part of Black Friday without the cost, try thrifting. I know Goodwill gives Black Friday discounts!

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