You’ve probably already noticed it in recent years – the tide is turning against Black Friday. Public perception of the shopping-focused holiday has soured, largely due to a growing distaste for consumerism and concerns about the welfare of retail workers.

If you’re on the fence about Black Friday, you might be interested in National Buy Nothing Day. We’ll explain how it works, and offer some ideas on how to celebrate.

What is Buy Nothing Day?

A few years ago, when Black Friday started expanding to Thanksgiving Day and beyond, some retailers and consumers started protesting the changes. That’s when Buy Nothing Day started to gain wider recognition. Originally started in 1992, Buy Nothing Day is exactly what it sounds like: a holiday that is celebrated by not spending money, both in physical and online stores.

Consumers have different reasons for celebrating Buy Nothing Day, including environmental and ethical concerns. Others may also use Buy Nothing Day as a way to avoid the emotional pull of shopping on Black Friday.

How to Celebrate Buy Nothing Day

Here are some ideas on how to integrate Buy Nothing Day into your life this year:

Cancel Subscriptions

The average person spends $273 a month on subscription services. If you subscribe to various streaming and physical services, consider how many of those you actually use regularly.

Go through your bank account and credit card statements to identify the recurring subscriptions. Then, separate each subscription into three categories: regularly use, sometimes use and rarely use. Be honest about your consumption and enjoyment of these services. If you can’t remember the last time you watched a movie on Hulu, consider canceling it.

Pro-tip: Mint app will automatically detect subscriptions to help you detect the ones you have and remind you about subscriptions you may have forgotten about.

After cancelling the subscriptions you rarely or never use, look at the subscriptions you sometimes use. Can you reduce those services or find a way to consolidate or spend less on them? Many subscriptions let you pause for a month or two. Try doing that to test how much you actually miss the service.

Once you cancel or reduce your subscriptions, decide what to do with the extra money. Some ideas include saving for a down payment, investing for retirement or paying down debt. Set up automatic transfers or payments with the exact amount you’ve cut from your budget. This allows you to funnel the money saved into your highest financial priorities.

Declutter Your House

If you’re like most people, you probably have too much stuff in your house. Use Buy Nothing Day as an opportunity to Marie Kondo your space – it might even lead to unexpected benefits for your mental and physical health.

After decluttering, you can donate the items to a charity, put them on the curb with a “free” sign or sell them. Sites like Poshmark, eBay, Craigslist and ThredUp are popular places to list your items, allowing you to earn some extra cash from your clutter.

Get Outside

Another great option on National Buy Nothing Day is to get out and literally do anything else. That hike you’ve been talking about going on? Get out there! The dog park you keep saying you’re going to take your pup to? Grab the ball and let’s go! Or even a chill day at home relaxing. Namaste in. Whatever you decide to do we hope you find joy in celebrating National Buy Nothing Day.

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Zina Kumok (152 Posts)

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins.


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