Picture it: Atlanta, 2007. I was working as a sales associate at my local Macy's, and I took a look at my schedule for the month of November. Everything was cool until I saw my arrival time for the day after Thanksgiving. That's what I had always called it: "the day after Thanksgiving." I was scheduled as a store opener, which meant I had to be there at 5:45am. I was a college student at the time, and I didn't even has classes scheduled before 10am, so the thought of having to be at work that early threw me off. But... I was a college student at the time, which means I couldn't afford to not go to work, so I got up and had my first taste of the shopping madness that occurs on the day after Thanksgiving. 

By the same time next year, I had landed a full-time desk job, but I was still working part time at Macy's (again, I was a college student livin' on a prayer - without student loans). One of my Macy's coworkers mentioned how all associates were required to work on Black Friday - no exceptions. Someone else asked "what's Black Friday?" and I quickly put two and two together before she explained how the day after Thanksgiving is basically a shopping holiday.

It made sense. When I would visit my family in Michigan for the holidays, my sisters would always get out early that Friday and shop the morning away. I always went because 1) I'd never turn down the chance to hang with my sister, and 2) duhhhh, shopping. I can still remember the 90's television commercials raving about the great "day after Thanksgiving" deals. Deal! Deals! Deals!


Now it's commercially known as "Black Friday," and man is it a whirlwind. I'm over it.

I logged into my Bloglovin feed this morning to loads of posts titled "My Black Friday Picks!" and "The Best Black Friday Deals!" and "What I'm Buying this Black Friday!" (all posts were, of course, loaded with affiliate links). I just marked everything as "read" and kept it moving. I can't. I just can't.

I've spent a good deal of the past year learning to be more conscious when it comes to spending and money management, and I'm still learning to find the balance between frugality and lavishness. That point where you're not so tight with every penny that you don't enjoy the things you can reasonably afford, but where you're not being financially wasteful and careless either. That being said, this mentality that Black Friday is a day where all the deals and all the sales must be browsed, shopped, and taken advantage of has me super frustrated. Half of the "sales" aren't even that great of a deal.

So today, I'm in the mood to share some of my shopping rules. Because as much as we all love to give charitably, and as much as we truly do try to help those less fortunate than us, we mostly have this first-world shopper's mentality. We like to buy stuff.

Last year I bought some boots, earrings, and perfume. The boots have gotten lots of wear and will continue to serve their purpose, fashionably and sensibly; I wear the earrings almost every day, literally; the perfume is all used up, so this year, I'm buying more. Which brings me to...

Rule #1: My first (unspoken) rule is to not buy anything unless I 100% love it. If I'm on the fence, it goes back on the shelf, and sometimes that means walking away and realizing a few days later that I was 100% about it, which is fine because that let's me know I'm sure about the item. That goes for books, movies, and music too. I like to try before I buy, and between my local library, spotify, redbox and Netflix, there's a free or low-cost digital way to make sure I love a piece of entertainment before I hand over more cash for it. 

Rule #2: If I add an item, or two, or three to my closet, I have to get rid of an item, or two, or three. Before I could put this rule in place, I had to purge my wardrobe. Now it's super simple and curated, and I wear alot of the same pieces over and over again, but that works for me, and it keeps my closet humble.

Rule #3: See if it's cheaper online somewhere else. I don't always do this, but it's a good practice for larger ticket items. It only takes a quick google search, and even though I'm not a fan of online shopping, sometimes it's worth it to just wait and have it shipped. I also don't mind checking apps like Poshmark or Depop to see if there's a gently used option out there. It's like having access to a handheld consignment shop. Which brings me to...

Rule #4: Don't sleep on the consignment and/or thrift store! I found a few favorite places around town that are clean, well-organized, and stocked with really good inventory. Not only is it cheaper, but buying second hand is slowly becoming my new norm, ethically. So many big brands have questionable labor practices, and thanks to The True Cost (on Netflix) I'm woke. Seriously, WATCH IT. The first-hand accounts of the factory workers broke my heart and ate at my conscience. Now that I'm fully aware, I can't just choose to ignore it.

On that note, Verily recently posted a list of "Anti Black Friday" companies that use Black Friday proceeds as a way to give back to the people who actually make the clothes. Pretty dope, right?

That's all I have really for today. I'm super thankful to be fortunate enough to even have shopping/spending rules. That wasn't always the case, and that may not always be the case in the future. So I thank God for all the goodness and consciousness. 

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