The day after Thanksgiving, sometimes called Black Friday, marks the start of the holiday shopping season. For people on tight budgets, however, a spending spree on the day after Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving weekend is simply out of the question.
Since one doesn’t really save money by spending money, perhaps it’s time to re-purpose and re-name Black Friday. Below are six ways to save money on Black Friday, and year-round.
Greeting Card Friday: If you’re planning to send holiday greeting cards to family and friends, why not use Thanksgiving weekend to update your mailing list and start writing and addressing cards. While others are out fighting crowds in the stores, you could be enjoying quiet time for penning personal holiday messages.
Decorating Friday: Why not use this weekend to decide which holiday decorations to keep and which to toss, and to start some of the decorating? Hang a DIY wreath made from fall foliage, string some outdoor lights, and start feeling the winter holiday mood.
Tax Prep Friday: Start preparing your paperwork for Federal and state income taxes to jumpstart the chore before the winter holidays arrive. Gather up receipts; think about where you might be able to take deductions; make a list of the forms you’ll need and then download them from the appropriate government websites. However far into the process you get, the easier it will make your life come tax time next April.
No-cal Friday: Instead of dwelling on slashed prices, slash a few Thanksgiving calories with brisk walking or jogging in your neighborhood. It won’t cost you a cent, and you might find some family and friends eager to join you. Morning yoga, tai chi and meditation are other good antidotes to the shopping mania of Black Friday.
Weatherize Friday: If you live in a cold climate, Thanksgiving weekend can be timely for doing a home weatherization project. The savings in heating costs can make it well worthwhile. Caulk and weather-strip any cracks around your windows and doors. Make sure that your attic and the floor above your basement have enough insulation to keep your house properly warmed. Check that pipes in your plumbing system are properly insulated, to prevent them from freezing. More weatherization tips can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, by clicking on the “Energy Saver” tab.
Cleaning Friday: Another productive way to spend the weekend after Thanksgiving is to clean your home. You still may be picking up after a big Thanksgiving dinner, but don’t stop there. Take some time to clean out the attic or basement, or choose a closet or junk drawer that needs attention. Completing even a small cleaning project can create a sense of accomplishment and make you want to stop buying and collecting more things that you’ll just need to clean.
Does your family have another affordable alternative to “Black Friday” shopping? Share your traditions with us on Facebook.