Personal, Wardrobe

How Do You Avoid the Trap of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

I received a lovely email from a reader, Kim, this weekend, asking me, “As a maximalist trying to pursue more minimalist practices with regard to shopping and excess, what are your practices to avoid the traps or temptations of Black Friday shopping, either in person or online?”

This is a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately–in fact, the entire fall. I’ve been trying to be more organized in all aspects of life, but especially the holidays. It’s so easy to get off-track and either buy far, far too much, or inadvertently forget someone! I’m really committed to making this holiday a really special one, especially for my toddler, as this will likely be the first Christmas he’ll really remember. I have such fond memories of Christmases with my extended family, whether my mother’s mother, or my father’s family–I want these to be just as special for my child!

For me, avoiding the traps of too much shopping has been a multi-pronged approach.

One, I made a list of everyone’s Christmas presents and everything I/my toddler will need for the fall and winter about a month ago and I’ve been slowly crossing things off. I think “Black Friday” has somewhat extended to most of November (as noted by my friend, Nan Philip, recently!), which has definitely been tempting! However, it has also made things a bit easier as I don’t feel this huge compulsion to save up all my purchases for next Friday.

Two, I unsaved my credit card information from Firefox, and put my wallet in my purse instead of on my nightstand. This has been a HUGE help in avoiding impulse shopping, because I actually have to get up and get my credit card, so I’ve been avoiding a LOT of impulse purchases that way!

Three, I have been trying to stay true to the mission of my blog and go through the many clothes/things I do have! Of course there are still things I need that do need to be replaced yearly–cotton turtlenecks, for one. But really, my actual needs are very minimal, so I’m really lucky. I’ve also been dressing up a little more at home, which is nice, and it feels really fun to wear clothes that were once everyday wear but haven’t been during the pandemic!

Four, in regards to gifts, I am trying (and always do try!) to find meaningful gifts for the recipient, no matter the size. For me, it’s far nicer to give (and receive!) one item that’s been truly picked out for me instead of many smaller ones that aren’t quite what I want or need. In case you missed them, I did publish a series of gift guides–you can find the overview and links to all five here–of what I hope you will agree are unique and interesting gifts. No sponsored posts or affiliate links are included, just gifts that either I have given or received, or plan to give/hope to receive myself this year!

A more recent thing that has helped me was last week’s episode of 60 Minutes, where they did a segment on the frankly insane situation at the shipping ports and explained how everything is so backed up. I would really love to avoid contributing to that, which I hope I am, as I’m really trying to buy things from only small businesses and not, say, the largest corporation in the world. (That being said, I do still use that corporation, especially for household supplies, but I’m trying not to as much!)

She–and I–would love to hear how you are avoiding the traps and temptations of Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Please do share below!

(The photo for this post is a VERY old photo I took of Cartier’s–I’m not a fan of the new bow on the store!)

6 thoughts on “How Do You Avoid the Trap of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

  1. Hi! New reader here but thought I would chime in. I do not have this figured out but a blogger I follow (Kate at Naptime Kitchen) always talks about that you are not saving any money if you’re buying something on sale that you don’t need. The principle is from a book she read, but it’s something I repeat to myself often – if an item is not on my list of needs but it’s on sale, I am not in fact saving money. I am actually playing into exactly what the stores and marketing people want! To be lured into the false fantasy of a deal. Just a thought!

  2. The thing that has helped me most year round is having all my store emails going to my junk folder. I’m so used to it, that even when a few pop up in my inbox I just select and move to trash out of habit. I also typically don’t read Instagram or blog posts that will create a false sense of need (no Nordstrom sales posts or “top 5 things I’m loving at J. Crew” posts). When I really need or want a specific item, I’ll shop around until I find what I want. I think perhaps time has made this easier, though I do still make impulse purchases from time to time!

    1. I’m currently unsubscribing to all the stores sending me multiple emails about Black Friday. It’s a huge chunk of my daily email traffic, and I’m already seeing a difference! That’s a good idea re: blog posts creating a false sense of need. I honestly don’t need much anyway, so I’ll start avoiding those too 🙂 thank you as always for your lovely comment! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  3. I love all of these ideas!

    I keep a running list of the gaps in my wardrobe/household items, or things in need of replacement , and try to use that as a reminder to guide my purchases. If I’m thinking of ordering or buying something, I’ll go back to the list to remind myself of whether I truly *need* the item. That doesn’t mean I never buy anything that’s a pure “want,” but it has helped to keep my purchases focused!

    I have also been unsubscribing to store emails, especially those from bigger companies, and have unfollowed a number of stores on instagram. I can’t be tempted by a sale or a new drop when I don’t know it’s happening!

    I have found that trying to limit purchases to small/smaller businesses is also a great way to focus my purchasing.

    In terms of gifting, I try to focus on quality over quantity (it’s always so nice to receive something beautiful that you wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself, especially if you’ll use daily or often), “consumable” gifts (gourmet food, wine/liquor, stationary, art/craft supplies if the recipient has a particular hobby, plants, etc.), and books or subscriptions to quality publications (you can never have too many books!).

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Emily! I love the idea of building a list, and that’s definitely something I need to start doing.

      I have unsubscribed to all store emails and I can’t tell you how stress-free yesterday was! Such a relief!

      This year, I’m really trying to buy direct from the company instead of going through an intermediary company. I’m finding it a much nicer experience, and I love being able to support small businesses directly!

      Yes, I completely agree re: quality over quantity. It’s much nicer to unwrap something perfect than too many less-than-ideal gifts. And yes!!!!! re: books!

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