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Forget the Holiday Specials: Here's How to Shop Consciously, Year-Round

Get the ethical deals of a lifetime, sans the guilt.

This is a week clogged with special days asking you to spend or donate money: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.

Then comes Weeping Wednesday, the day you realize how much you’ve spent.

Sure, each of these days makes for great #hashtags, fun memes or some pretty sweet sales. But all are rooted in the same thing: Sharp marketing hell-bent on getting you to spend money. As the sales saying goes, “Everyone has money. My job is to figure out how to relieve them of it.”

Truly, the spirit of the season.

But here’s a secret intrepid marketers don’t want you to know: The principles these cutesy days are promoting—big savings, shopping locally, shopping online, and giving to a good cause—aren’t just mantras for the holiday season. Some can be incorporated year-round, to your benefit and joy.

Here’s how to keep the spirit of the shopping season with you year-round, with peace of mind and without overspending or looking like a frantic nutcase fighting another consumer for a $9.99 Peppa Pig toy.

1. Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving got its name in post-WWII America, from the day hordes of workers called in “sick.” This, in turn, led to hordes of people shopping that day, which by the early 1960s created a headache for traffic police, who then started calling it Black Friday for all the extra work that tangentially landed in their laps as a result. Is it any wonder retailers started capitalizing on the natural flow of the populace? But lots of retailers have sales year-round. If there’s an item you really want, there’s no reason to battle the crowds or line up at 2am for a sweet deal at Walmart on something you really don’t need. Better to save your money and spend it with a local retailer at a later date. Even if you spend a few extra dollars, the peace of mind you save is worth it. Unless, of course, fighting Black Friday crowds for a cheap TV to put in your dining room is your jam, in which case, go for it!