By Racheal Bola-Keji
Let’s play a quick game! Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Buy Nothing Day? Now keep your hand raised if you’ve ever celebrated this day?
If your hand is still raised, you’ve not only impressed me but kind of proven me wrong! I could end the article right here but that wouldn’t be fair on the majority of readers whose hands remained down. It’s only right I continue.
So for those that are curious about what this Buy Nothing Day is all about, this article is just for you! Grab a drink and get comfortable because we are about to dive right into it.
What is Buy Nothing Day?
For many of you whose hands remained down, I am sure the question running through your mind right now is “what is Buy Nothing Day?”. Well don’t worry, it’s pretty self explanatory! I’ll give you a hint… it’s in the name!
Buy Nothing Day is essentially a day where you buy absolutely nothing. Sounds simple right? For a whole 24hours: no money spent, no new purchases, no scrolling through the sale sections or browsing through retail stores.
Oh it doesn’t stop here, Buy Nothing Day is traditionally held on the 28th of November. If you are an avid bargain hunter like I am, I’m sure you already know what this day is. But for those who don’t, you are about to be shocked.
Since 1997, Buy nothing day has been held on the same day as Black Friday! Crazy right? A day where retail prices heavily decrease for 24hours, a day where splashing money is easily justified.
So how could I not spend this day?
Buy Nothing Day is deeper than just saving money
As simple as Buy Nothing Day sounds, on a day such as Black Friday buying nothing proves incredibly difficult. But Buy Nothing Day is much deeper than just saving money. It is a symbolic statement that draws attention to the issue of over-consumption. It isn’t a day of punishment, but a day that prompts people to think more about what they are spending and how to be a more ethical consumer.
In simpler terms, Buy Nothing Day is an ethically driven alternative to Black Friday.
How can I participate in Buy Nothing Day?
If you are interested in taking part in Buy Nothing Day, here are three ways you can participate alongside not spending:
- You could celebrate nature: go on a walk, go on a hike or even a family day out to the park. These naturistic activities cost nothing and are very fulfilling.
- Spend some time learning about consumerism. Educate yourself on the why and the message behind spending ethically. If you don’t like reading, Fight Club is a great movie that explains the merge of consumerism within culture. P.s Brad Pitt is featured in it an awful lot *wink wink*.
- Another alternative is to donate used or new clothes to charities. This invites you to give rather than spend and to repurpose rather than toss. It’s a very ethical alternative to retail shopping.
But is Buy Nothing Day really an effective alternative to Black Friday?
The answer to this question is all dependent on what you perceive and think.
If not in person, I am sure we have all seen or been a part of the hassle of Black Friday: people fighting, the long lines, the race to the shops etc. According to the latest Black Friday survey statistics, the total spend this Black Friday in the UK will increase from £5.6 billion in 2019 to £6 billion in 2020.
To think that in one day, the UK community can spend £5-6 billion is crazy. Now imagine how much more we could save if we just settled in for the day instead of bargain hunting. Days of the Year reiterate this by saying:
“Anyone who has ever seen what happens during the Black Friday sales understands all too well why it was high time that we take a step back and look at ourselves, our behaviour and contemplate the meaning of the Black Friday madness”.
An alternative view
Is spending nothing for 24 hours really effective if we spend just as much the next day? The truth is that spending money is inevitable, we live in a society where money is a fundamental infrastructure.
So it’s obvious that people are going to spend, in fact we need to spend. But what we spend and how much we spend is entirely up to us. In the words of Karl Lagefeld:
“Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping”
I think the keyword here is self control: knowing when to spend and when it’s enough. But also being wise with what we spend our money on and not just spending as an act of conformity.
The choice is yours.
It would be cruel of me to make you choose between Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day. Buy nothing day is a great way to protest against consumerism however there are still ways you can shop ethically during this Black Friday.
The choice is ultimately yours! Let me know in the comments how you will be spending November 28th this year.