It is no secret that many people are feeling the pinch of the current economic climate and simply don’t have money to spend on anything – even if on sale. Add to this the fact that the younger generations are driving a change in our shopping habits and adopting a culture of less-is-more, it’s safe to say that Black Friday has lost some of its shine.

If you are part of the crowd that would rather not participate in mass consumerism, below are some suggestions on what to do instead.

Moneyless Monday
Use Mondays to not spend any money at all. You can take the day to use whatever is in your fridge and house in order to make meals. Enjoy the leftovers from the weekend and don’t head out to spend anything. Keen on a coffee? Make one at home or at the office. Not only does this save you money, but it also ensures that you’re acquiring less stuff and contributing less waste to the world. If Mondays are date nights, have a date instead. Netflix and chill is a real thing, or have a romantic dinner. The key to this is planning ahead. Ensure you have enough food in the house and that you have things to do without spending any money at all. 

Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday was established in 2012 as a movement to encourage global generosity. The day is conventionally celebrated the Tuesday after Black Friday, but why not make every Tuesday one of generosity, and either give back to communities or support causes and organisations that do good.

For example, instead of buying items you generally don’t need because of the commercial appeal of Black Friday, rather buy an item that will make you look chic, while at the same time funding charities that combat hard hitting societal problems like access standards to water, basic education, Breast Cancer Awareness and conservation of wildlife.

Relate Bracelets is a proudly 100% not-for-profit social enterprise that makes and sells handmade beaded products to raise money for charities globally, while creating jobs for people in low-income communities. It gives those from under-resourced communities the opportunity to earn an income to support their families, while also raising funds for causes around the world. 

Women-owned Wednesday
Wherever you shop on a Wednesday, try to make sure that you are supporting a woman-owned business. If you end up in a big retail store, you can look for products that are from women-owned businesses. For example, Fatima Sydow of Fatima Sydow Cooks has her own range of spices available in many retail stores. And Cape Town graffiti artist Nardstar has a range of cookie tins at Woolworths, while Nkhensani Rikhotso, popular local plant mom known online as her.merakai recently did a collaboration with Mr Price Home that now offers a range of affirmation cards and plant accessories created by Rikhotso.

Thrifty Thursday
The thrifting culture in South Africa is still relatively in its infancy, but growing daily thanks to technology. If you feel inclined to shop on a Thursday, why not make it a thrifty Thursday? Shop at thrift stores, second-hand clothing markets or charity stores. Charity stores in particular sell more than clothing and often have a number of household items such as kitchenware, books, and furniture for sale. And if it’s a charity store, you are also giving back to an organisation and the causes that they support. For those who enjoy online shopping, give Yaga a try or follow local thrifters such as Bonny Lass on Instagram.

Free Friday
Fridays are for fun after-work activities, right? But instead of heading to the nearest bar or restaurant why not look for free things to do instead? Have a beach picnic with items from home or go to a park nearby for a chilled afterwork hangout. The great thing about this time of year is that the sun sets rather late so if you’re in Cape Town, head out to the mountain if you can for a hike or enjoy an after-work stroll along the Promenade in Cape Town.  In other parts of the country, there are a number of fun things to do for free, too. In Johannesburg, for example, you can pop into the Goodman Gallery for some art, while Northcliff Hill is an excellent spot to take in the stunning views of the City of Gold. There are so many free things to do all across South Africa. Use your Fridays to find a new one each week!

Small-business Saturday
Now that you’ve had free Fridays, it’s time to do small-business Saturdays where you only support, well, small businesses. Keen for a coffee? Skip the big international chains and instead head to your local coffee shop. Need new clothes? Look for a small clothing business that you can support. To find a bunch of small businesses in one place, go to a local weekend market where you will discover traders selling all sorts of products, from soaps to food to kitchenware and more. This is also a great spot for gift shopping for a loved one.

Savings Sunday
Although the concept of Black Friday is about saving on goods, many consumers find themselves spending out of their budget on the day. To counteract this, a good idea could be to start saving for Black Friday at the beginning of the year. “Usingsavings tools like upnup which allows you to round-up or add-up funds each time you swipe your card, you’re automatically putting funds aside as you spend, or you can also choose a fixed amount to save every week. Those funds are then saved and invested into cryptocurrencies which can then be used as a savings vehicle for the year ahead. At the end of each week, on Sunday evening you could do a recon of your savings for that week to keep track of your goals.” suggests Justin Asher, Head of Marketing and Strategy at upnup.

This year, instead of spending friviously on Black Friday deals that you might not have, spend in ways that make a difference – either to your life or the lives of others. It’s a great way to ensure that your hard-earned money is being used for something worthwhile.

Submitted by Irvine Partners