Black Friday vs. Buy Nothing Day

I'm off for the Thanksgiving holiday — my favorite time of year. I'll be hanging out with family and friends, and hope that you do the same.

Here are some things to consider during the next few days:

  • If you haven't already, now is the time to set ground rules for your family's holiday gift exchange. Will you be drawing names? Setting price limits? Giving gifts only to children? Be sure everyone's on the same page for the Christmas season.
  • Holiday bonuses will soon be appearing in paychecks everywhere. I recommend spending a few minutes to decide what to do with the money. You don't need to set a budget — though it couldn't hurt — but at least make a plan for spending and saving.

Also, now's the time to decide whether you'll join the fray on Black Friday — or opt out by making it a “buy nothing day”.

Black Friday

A new study from the American Research Group shows that “shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $983 for gifts this holiday season” — the most since the start of the Great Recession.

Planned spending for Christmas 2017

For many people, the Christmas shopping season starts this Friday. The day after Thanksgiving — now dubbed “Black Friday” — has become something of a ritualized cultural experience, and one of the biggest shopping days of the year. (It's not the biggest shopping day of the year, but it's in the top ten.)

Buy Nothing Day

While some of my friends subscribe to the “take the day off to find bargains on Black Friday” school of thought, I've traditionally sided with another camp. On the day after Thanksgiving, I observe Buy Nothing Day.

For the past 20 years, I've elected not to shop on Black Friday. It's one way for me to avoid consumerism. I don't begrudge others their bargains and shopping fun, but I choose not to participate. This year will be no different.

Buy Nothing Day 2017

Regardless which path you plan to pursue — Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day — please spend responsibly. Buy only what you need and can afford. Don't be lured into impulse purchases. Avoid debt. And most of all, enjoy the spirit of the season.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I'll be back on Monday.

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Binary Dollar
Binary Dollar

Everyday is Buy Nothing Day for me.

H. Wren
H. Wren

After working in retail for a couple of years, I pretty much gave up on ever going anywhere on Black Friday. Yet, even though I’m at a point in my life where I don’t buy a lot of things anymore (living in a 400-square-foot apartment will do that to you), I have made my peace with BF. It’s still an important day for my mom, my aunt, and my grandmother — we all go out for a nice, long breakfast, and then go to Target or wherever. Admittedly, since they live in a relatively small place, The Frenzy isn’t as… Read more »

Emily H.
Emily H.

Nov. 23–the day you’re supposed to be thankful for everything that you have.
Nov. 24–the day you’re supposed to be dissatisfied with all you have and spend huge amounts of money getting better stuff.

Yep. Makes sense.

But if I stay home, it’s in large part because I can’t STAND crowds.

Michael Moore
Michael Moore

I hate the huge crowds, insane shoppers, and crazy parking lots, so I don’t go. I am hopeing that NewEgg or some other online computer part retailers will have some extra sales though.

My wife needs a new computer, and I’ve had the parts all priced out for several weeks. So, if there are any good one-day sales, Friday may be the day we buy.

Maybe Nov. 24 is the day we’re supposed to be thankfull for a chance to save money (on stuff we would have bought anyways). 🙂

prlinkbiz
prlinkbiz

“If you do go shopping, please spend responsibly: buy only what you need and can afford – avoid debt” – I love it- we treat debt like drinking and driving- another thing to be extra aware of during the holidays- and really it makes sense- people can destroy their lives and the lives of those around them by mismanaging money.

On Black Friday- I have never participated- I’m with the “dislike crowds of frenzied shoppers” crew. However- I have always been tempted to go the day after Christmas!

nes
nes

never bought in with all the after thanksgiving sale hype..

i’ll be home sleeping in and being a couch potato friday =)

Allie
Allie

When I was little, my dad and I used to go get our Christmas tree (at a cut-your-own kind of farm) the day after Thanksgiving. On the way out, we would sing holiday carols and songs. On the way home we would get hot chocolate. When I graduated and moved out of the house, we stopped doing that and really missed it. We tried to go look for trees but decided we were better off with artificial trees. Save the trees and get something flame retardant at the same time. I proposed we go shopping the day after T day… Read more »

Quasi Daily News
Quasi Daily News

Everyday should be Buy Nothing Day, Earth Day, Be Polite Day, Drive Safely Day, and so on. Don’t wait for someone to declare a “Day”. Let’s observe these “Days” on a daily basis, not just once a year.

PCP
PCP

I tried to go to KB Toys & the line was super long, since I needed only 3 more presents. I decided to go home, my list of presents was short since I had started shopping much earlier around July.

But I didn’t go out shopping anywhere else this time. I also hate the ideas of seeing good deals & thinking I may need it so it was much better to stay home with the kids.

Steve S
Steve S

Here’s a Black Friday tip:

For those extremely limited quantity big-ticket items (TVs, computers, etc.) the stores will now hand out vouchers to those first in line to prevent shoving and trampling on the way back to the display case.

My brothers and I waited out in front of Staples this morning for less than an hour and got vouchers for their $349 laptop, which we promptly sold to the highest bidders at the end of the line.

Thanksgiving, capitalism, being frugal and not buying the computer yourself…what’s not to love about this story?!

Ash
Ash

I love the idea of a buy nothing day. I too am an anti-consumerist.

The 76K Project
The 76K Project

I detest Black Friday and will spend the day actively avoiding stores.

Thanks for the reminder re: ground rules for holiday spending. Some of my family members are pretty over the top when it comes to presents. This year, I’d love to see all of us spend less and give presents that are more meaningful (like experiences, or homemade gifts).

lmoot
lmoot

I will never participate in black Friday shopping. I’m all about that cyber Monday.

rosarugosa
rosarugosa

No holiday shopping for me, except for the few tins of cookies and some amaryllis bulbs I’ve already picked up. I wouldn’t dream of shopping on Black Friday, and I don’t really think I’ll need to buy anything on Cyber Monday either. How about we change over to Frugal Friday, Saver Saturday, and Solvent Sunday?

Paula
Paula

Not a fan of Black Friday shopping! I hate crowds and would rather shop online. I buy a few gifts for my husband and son when I get my Christmas bonus check but that’s it. We enjoy other things about the holidays like music, movies, and being with family more than just getting presents.

Accidental Fire
Accidental Fire

I will be going on a 60-mile bike ride on Friday which has become an annual tradition with my cycling buddies! Might buy a Clif bar at a gas station 🙂

Maria
Maria

I’m so glad you got the blog back, J.D. I used to read it back in the day, and was thrilled to check in a few weeks ago and see that you’re posting again! I’ve never been one for shopping (on Black Friday or any other day) if I can avoid it, and I’ve been a fan of Buy Nothing Day for a long time. I was thrilled when REI launched their #optoutside initiative, closing their stores on Black Friday and telling everyone to go play outside. It’s a great day to go outside to find your Christmas tree or… Read more »

Michele
Michele

It is pretty surprising that black Friday still exists now that there is a cyber Monday!

Lady Dividend
Lady Dividend

Happy Thanksgiving! Is it weird that I feel like I’ll miss out if I buy nothing today? Even so, that’s just what I’ll be doing!

I’ll be spending that money going out with a dear friend tonight.

lmoot
lmoot

Just finished an 11 mile Black Friday hike. Annual tradition of my hiking group.

Charlotte
Charlotte

Believe it or not, your post in the past about “buy nothing day” prompted me to check the GRS site today. What do you know??? You are back here for good. Congratulations! Welcome back and looking forward to being a regular reader again.

Ms99to1percent
Ms99to1percent

For us, we prefer to shop online, we are too young to die trying to shop offline on Black Friday ?.

We replaced our 5 year old smart-turned-dumb-and-slow and 1 laptop. We use the items for personal but also business purposes. They will help us be more productive.

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