We cast our BIGGEST vote with what we spend our money on. That is our strongest power as citizens. We use our money to say what we want more of. When we stop spending money on things we don’t want anymore, corporations take notice and adjust their strategies to fit our needs. However, due to the viral, coerce nature of advertising, a lot of what we “think” we want has been conditioned by these corporations so that we think we “need” their products. But as soon as enough of us start to show companies what we want and don’t want by how we spend our money, they start to listen. This is exactly why you’re suddenly seeing Impossible burgers everywhere you go. Enough people are adopting the vegetarian lifestyle and spending their money accordingly, that the big corporations are taking notice and adjusting to fit our needs. We have the power to make the change. But, we aren’t flexing it. Instead, we drink the Black Friday kool-aid and continue to buy shit we don’t need, pollute the planet and line the pockets of greedy corporate billionaires.
I don’t know when massive, violent consumerism got coupled with thanksgiving. THANKS giving. The day we give thanks for everything we already have. It’s the most oxymoronic thing I’ve ever heard of. Black Friday is a scam. Retailers sing their siren songs and convince us we’re getting something for nothing. We aren’t. We’re paying a far greater price than we can imagine. Whatever it is we think we absolutely need to get this Black Friday or Cyber Monday, we don’t “need” it.
Of course, I don’t live under a rock. I, too, still feel the need to satiate that consumeristic impulse we’ve all been conditioned to have. I, too, want to buy gifts for my family and friends this holiday season. I, too, wait until the “deals” drop so I can take advantage of 75% off consumer goods. However, I have re-conditioned myself to become a much more thoughtful consumer. And its a whole lot simpler than it sounds.
Save Money This Holiday Season
Below are a few things for all of us to consider this holiday season. Each one is an example of how we can flex our power as consumers to impact change by reducing waste, supporting small + local businesses and sticking it to the man.
At the end of this post, I’ve put together a list of different ways you can shop smarter this holiday season. None of these links are an affiliate, just shops I genuinely support and want to share.
1. DON’T SHOP
I understand this is easier said than done, but hear me out. How much of what you’re buying this holiday season is really worth it? Those crappy plastic toys you’re getting the kids. The mugs and candles and lotions you’re buying the teachers. The socks you buy your dad every year. Think about it. Do they really “need” these things, or do you need to get them to feel like you’re expressing your love properly? Think about where you can swap out purchased gifts for quality time and experiences. And it doesn’t need to break the bank. Sure, maybe you can splurge on a surprise family trip. But you could also give the kids coupons to choose family dinner nights or weekend activities. Have a “yes day”, ala Jennifer Garner. You can spend the day with your dad doing his favorite activity. You can pitch in with the other parents in the class and buy the teacher a gift card for a spa. We don’t prove how much we care about our loved ones with the things we buy them. Read that again. And proceed accordingly.
2. SHOP USED
You guys. You already know about my love affair with the thrift stores. You have no idea how many wonderful things I find there! And I’m not immune to the rush of holiday shopping. Trust me. But you know what’s an even bigger rush? Finding something at the thrift store that retails for over $50 and getting it for $1! Yeah. True story. Ask me about my Hyrdo Flask. Thrift stores and garage sales are treasure troves for holiday gifts. I’ve already started and have found some perfect gifts for the kids and my parents. I got my daughter one of those wooden, stand-up training bicycles for $5! In perfect condition. Already built. No packaging or waste. Total score.
3. SHOP SMALL
So, you couldn’t find exactly what you were looking for at the thrift stores. I get that. The hunt isn’t over yet. I’ve always been a big shopper. I love scouring the aisles of stores finding the perfect gift for each perfect person in my life. However, I’ve stopped scouring the aisles of Target and HomeGoods and instead find small + local businesses who need my patronage far more. They produce much higher quality products. The money you spend there goes directly to an actual human being who is running that business themself. And many of them offer unique, handcrafted gifts that make a much bigger statement. This Saturday is “Small Business Saturday”. Small and local shops all over the country (and the Internet) will be hosting sales not only on Saturday, but also for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well. So, consider shopping small this season. And consider these numbers, too.
- Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes (Source: Seattle Good Business Network).
- If you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy. If you spend the same are a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy
For more statistics on why Small Business Saturday is so important, check out this article by grasshopper.com.
4. SHOP SMART
Okay, you’re still missing something. Here’s what you need to do. Get smart. Think about Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping in terms of essentials. Do you need it right now? Forget about the “deals”. These companies have sales all year long. That vacuum will be marked down to that price or lower multiple other times throughout the year. So will those sneakers. So will that stand-up mixer. The thing to consider at this point, is do you need to buy it right now? If so, then go ahead and take advantage of the marked down prices. I, for example, need pajamas for the baby. I usually get all her clothes as hand-me-downs and supplement whatever else I need at the thrift stores. But she wears zipper footie pajamas and I haven’t gotten her new ones in a while. Like she’s almost two and still in her 12 months PJs. They fit, but they’re suuuuper snug. So, I’ll go ahead and take advantage of Burts Bee’s Baby Cyber Monday sale. They’re a company with a mission I can get behind and practices I support. So, sure, take all my money.
I know I’m not the only one being bombarded with email spam from every store I’ve ever mentioned in a conversation before. They have those crazy subject lines, screaming at us, telling us they’re giving shit away for free. They aren’t. What I’ve been doing, is clicking each email and hitting UNSUBSCRIBE. It’s been a fun practice.
Spend this holiday season sticking it to the man. Spend your money as a way of casting your vote. And spend your time, quality time, with loved ones. Not all of us are close to our families. But we should still seek out close friends or community members to spend time with during this season. Keep your phone out of reach as often as possible, and plug into real, substantial experiences.
PLACES TO SPEND YOUR MONEY INSTEAD
- NW Bulk Market: Shop local, online. It’s an online farmers market. You can listen to my podcast episode with the genius woman behind this idea, here.
- Etsy.com: Cyber week deals up to 60% off!
- TheDreamerie.com: Always sharing her favorite conscious commerce finds. I also have a podcast episode with this gem of a human being. Check it out, here.
- ThredUp.com: Online thrift store. Responsible practices. And they’re offering gift cards now!
Happy everything, merry always.