Forget the hype and have fun on Black Friday, a national post-Thanksgiving shopping holiday. Here's my list of non-shopping, fun & frugal stuff to do instead of shopping.
1. Get more rest! Given my levels of sleep deprivation, it's crazy to get up at 4 am or 5 am to shop and save money. If I get more sleep, I'll think better. I typically wake up around 6:45 am and go to sleep around 1 am. But sleep deprivation is a dumb idea because I work smarter, save more money and work more creatively with more sleep.
And hint, when I go to those so-called holiday sales, I'm not really saving money. Maybe you save, but for me, it's all a lie I tell myself about spending & shopping. It's Enron accounting for consumers. It's self-deception. I tell myself: I'm not spending money, I'm saving money. Ha!
2. Exercise: Of course, I walk a lot when I go shopping and yes, those packages involve heavy lifting. But let's be honest. Walking through the aisles of a super big box store and jogging with a cart is not the best form of exercise. It's better for me to go on a real walk with my kids or my dog. Other alternatives: yoga, a quick run, kick-boxing or jazzercize will burn calories without burning bucks. Even washing the car or washing windows is exercise.
3. Read a book about money. Instead of spending money, I can learn about how to make money.
4. Memorize a poem. Memorizing a poem is good for the brain and the soul. Right now I'm trying to memorize two poems from E.E. Cummings called Let It Go and Somewhere I have Never Traveled.
5. Write letters to old friends, siblings, parents and other loved ones. There are a few people that I would really like to write to now. I'd tell them how much they have meant to me and how much they have added to my life and how much I will always love them. It's unconditional.
6. Open a savings account. Instead of shopping, I could open a new savings account at a bank or a credit union. I could go through the store flyers and calculate how much I might spend and then put that money in the bank.
7. Spend a day at a homeless shelter or do some other act of kindness: Not too long ago, I had a ten dollar bill in my hand. Quite frankly, I was going to buy stupid stuff: maybe a muffin and a magazine. Honestly, it was one of my non-frugal splurge moments. And then I saw this homeless woman named Marie. She's a little bit younger than me and she makes me think about how wonderful my life is and how difficult her life is.
So I just gave her the $10 bill. It was not really an act of generosity because giving made me feel better about the money that I've wasted in the past. I'm not rich; I'm struggling to pay bills, but I have so much more than maybe 90 percent of the people in this world. So I can afford to give away more. And that's how I really feel about recreational shopping. There are really, really better uses of my time and money.
8. Organize my paper piles: I'm a clutter queen, for sure. I could save money and earn more if I were better organized. There's gold buried in my paper piles. So, I plant to clean out my big purse on Black Friday.
9. Meditate. Seriously, I run around like a cartoon character. I often spin my wheels and get nowhere. I could do more if I spent more time breathing and acting mindfully. I really think clearer after meditating and deeply breathing.
10. Make a gift for someone. My mom has been making pottery gifts for her holiday gift list. It's great therapy for her hands and she's really enjoying the process.
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