I've been conflicted about shopping these past few days, and nervous. Yes, on Wednesday, I actually felt nervous about shopping, as ridiculous as that sounds. What should I do?
- Should I buy nothing on Black Friday, like Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping recommend? (Great anti-consumerism movement, but probably not.)
- Should I brave the crowds at the big-box stores like I did in 2007 at 4:00 a.m? (Nope.)
- Should I shop locally? (Yes, but am I going to pay more if I do this?)
Incidentally, last year was my first Black Friday shopping experience. When I asked a clerk where the carts were, he looked at me like I was nuts. They were all taken, of course, within the first 3 minutes of the store opening. I think my jaw may have dropped.
My goals for holiday shopping this year were 3-fold:
- We have enough stuff we don't use. Don't buy more.
- Don't be a Scrooge. Gifts are nice. Give thoughtful ones.
- Don't go into credit card debt. Stick to a limited budget ($300). This amount is for 10 people, including all gifts for our 2 kids. I'm not sure how $300 for 10 people sounds to you. Some may think it is a huge amount, others about right, and some a pittance.
- I shopped at Target on the Monday before Black Friday and bought 3 board games. 2 for the kids, and 1 for an Adopt-a-Family donation at work. (So, it's really 11 people we bought for). I thought games would be a good toy to encourage family together-time.
- Wednesday night (before T-day), I spent the evening internet shopping at kidsurplus.com. They had some great wooden toys, games, creative toys, and science-experiment type toys. The bulk of our kids (and "cousins") toys were bought from here. Free shipping and $10 off.
Another good part? I could see the total and match it up with my budget while in my jammies. Also, I once heard that companies like UPS/FedEx are much more astute in saving fuel when delivering, as opposed to your average shopper driving. So, perhaps less fuel will be use this way?
- Black Friday: My mother-in-law went to Walgreen's to pick up a Hannah Montana guitar on sale for our daughter. Our little girl loves Disney Princesses, Barbie, and Hannah. What's a Striving Green family to do? Moderation: She'll get 2 of these types of toys. She already got a lot of these kinds of toys for her birthday a month ago.
- I woke up early to go to Half-Price Books 20%-off Early Bird sale and bought some quality new children's books (discounted) and some used items for my husband. I'm not telling what, in case he is peeking!
- Last, I went to a locally owned gift shop to get the final presents. I had a great coupon from my Blue Sky Guide, which is like a Happenings book for organic & green products, as well as local merchants. I also picked up some micro-fiber towels for myself. I'd like to break my paper-towel habit.
How about you? I'd love to hear your thoughts on your approach to holiday shopping. Are you trying to reduce your consumerism? If so, how? Feel free to share you successes and pitfalls.