Buy Nothing Day

by Katy on November 24, 2022 · 37 comments

For most Americans, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, a day dedicated to shopping, a day to take advantage of one-day only deals. A controversial day when customers crowd the stores and trample one another for cheap electronics and consumer goods.

Black Friday prompted the day known as Buy Nothing Day, described as “a day for society to examine the issue of overconsumption.”

I follow The Compact, and thus buy only used; although frankly at this point I hardly buy anything beyond consumables and the occasional second run movie ticket. So yeah . . . I won’t be pitching a tent outside Walmart as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away.

My problem with Buy Nothing Day is that it’s a single day event. Buy nothing this one day, then shop normally the other 364 days. Yes, it gets people talking about our consumer society, (and that’s a good thing) but it’s still just one day.

One day is not enough.

I propose that people treat the day after Thanksgiving as just another Friday. A day when you have the day off from work or school, a day to ahead and luxuriate in bed a few extra hours and then eat pumpkin pie for breakfast. (Did I not just describe the perfect day?)

Buy Nothing Day should be replaced with 365 days of conscious consumerism. An entire year where we make deliberate decisions about the purchases they make and how those purchases effect this world we live in. Only buy products produced by companies that provide their employees a living wage and safe working conditions. Companies who do not engineer planned obsolescence into everything they manufacture.

So yes, go ahead and choose to buy nothing on Black Friday if that’s your inclination, but don’t then with abandon the other 364 days just because you abstained for that single day.

Shop deliberately. Shop thoughtfully. Shop responsibly. Shop less.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy November 24, 2022 at 9:30 am

I have been buying almost exclusively used for 12 years! Love the items I find, the price I pay’ How it helps my mental health and Mother Earth’s health. Will never go back!


Katy November 24, 2022 at 9:42 am

There’s almost nothing that can’t be found used.


SC in MN November 24, 2022 at 10:54 am

Amen to that!


MB in MN November 24, 2022 at 10:21 am

A hearty “heck yeah!” to this message of conscious consuming and living.


Heidi Louise November 24, 2022 at 10:35 am



Cathy November 24, 2022 at 10:35 am

I haven’t done any Black Friday shopping in decades, always contemplate for a long time before buying anything and nearly always search for used first. Thanks for your inspiration! A few years ago I did shop at Goodwill on Black Friday and that was a great bargain hunt for tins to gift baked goods in and a few other items that were used to create other gifts. There were no crowds and it was a pleasant day to come home and eat leftovers and , of course, it had started with the best breakfast food ever…pumpkin pie!


Katy November 24, 2022 at 12:11 pm

Pumpkin pie is 100% the best breakfast!


Donna November 24, 2022 at 11:44 am

Yes and yes!!!
It is not a one day deal. It’s a 365 day living it consciously each step.


Linda In UK November 24, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Absolutely agree with you. We should all only buy what we really need because the previous item is broken and can’t be repaired or is totally worn out. Just buying because it’s on offer cheaply is awful. Unfortunately this Black Friday Hype hit the UK a few years ago. I don’t know how popular it is here as personally I’ve never used it and don’t know anyone who has but some people must otherwise it would have bitten the dust by now! Long live Charity Shops and passing things along to friends and neighbours!


Katy November 24, 2022 at 1:33 pm

Sorry to hear that our insanity crossed the pond.


Linda In UK November 25, 2022 at 3:42 am

Unfortunately not the only thing to travel over here. Halloween and Father’s Day spring to mind.


Heidi Louise November 25, 2022 at 11:00 am

Yet Boxing Day is not practiced in the U.S., at least not that I have ever seen for giving, just for after-Christmas sales.


Crunchycon November 24, 2022 at 2:17 pm

The last four sentences could be a mantra.

When my parents were still with us, we used to spend th Thanksgiving weekend with them. One of our favorite “traditions”, being early risers, was to spend Black Friday morning drinking coffee and watching the local news’ yearly human interest story interviewing the Black Friday pre-sunrise shoppers and giggling at their craziness.


JC November 24, 2022 at 3:12 pm

I haven’t shopped on Black Friday in years. I only went one time and it was just too much.
I don’t need anything that means putting myself thru that ever again.
I would much rather stay home and enjoy my family,
We have gone to consumables and gift cards for gifts, IF someone has a special “want” it is never anything that is hard to find or expensive. We have everything we need.
When the kids asked me what I want this year my answer was a can of spray Liquid Wench penetrating oil. No one laughed, they know I was serious. LOL


Lindsey November 24, 2022 at 10:33 pm

I always ask for toilet paper and now, 30 years after I started making that request (we were living in the bush, there was no Amazon and it was incredibly expensive to buy), friends and family still send us cases and I am always beyond thrilled. And my hackneyed thank you card always says, “And your gift went immediately to waste.”


J November 25, 2022 at 10:53 pm

“Liquid Wench” haha, sorry, couldn’t help myself!


Ruby November 24, 2022 at 3:32 pm

Preach it, Katy! Next month kicks off my third year of a secondhand life. Last year I bought cat litter on Black Friday because we needed cat litter, and that was it.


Katy November 25, 2022 at 9:53 am

Hmm . . . now I need to see if there are any amazing deals on cat litter.


Ruby November 25, 2022 at 11:24 am

Our 16-year-old cat is particular about what litter he likes, so I watch for a good sale at the feed store and stock up. This involves enlisting one of the men in the family to help, but it saves a chunk of change.


Cindy in the South November 24, 2022 at 5:00 pm

Love this! I plan on walking at the local park. It is over 70 degrees here!


Selena November 24, 2022 at 7:47 pm

IMHO, if you have to get a “deal”, you really can’t afford to buy spending. Yes, a lot of items can be had pre-owned (doncha love that marketing term) but at times not. And that is okay – if you wear an odd shoe size, by all means look but don’t beat yourself up if you have to buy new (making pained face is okay though). Need versus want is the key.


K D November 25, 2022 at 5:19 am

I did take advantage of a sale that has been running for many days/weeks and bought one year of digital access to the Baltimore Sun for $10. We were having it delivered twice a week but even at the best price it is not worth it. This should save money and the environment (no paper printed and no driving to our house).

We plan to run a few errands today, with a stop at the bank, the library to pick up a book on hold, and the pharmacy for Covid boosters (We were sick in late July so have waited until now to be boosted).


janine November 25, 2022 at 8:28 am

1. It is always fun to fantasize about being among the first 15 customers to score a $2,000 TV or computer for $50 but it is akin to thinking about your chances of winning the lottery. Typically, these items sell out very early. On the other hand, I was in Home Depot earlier this week and witnessed the poinsettia markdowns to $2.50 from previous sale price of around $8 , and earmarked for Black Friday. Bought enough to gift relatives for Thanksgiving hosting plus some for our house.
Today is the actual Black Friday – husband had medical appointments and is taking in a movie with son. I am still in my bathrobe and enjoying a cup of tea and toast and reading this blog. Talked to a friend about her new apartment and the characters who inhabit the place. Relaxed fun – who needs a new TV?


t November 25, 2022 at 8:37 am

The people I know that go to these sales don’t have the stuff and can only afford it at deep discounts. Some people wait till black Friday to buy their kids coats and winter clothes. Most places are buy used deserts.


Katy November 25, 2022 at 9:49 am

That’s good point, thanks for bringing it up.


Jennifer November 28, 2022 at 6:40 pm

THIS! There have been years that I would not have been able to get my kids needed items without the deep sales on or around Black Friday.


geri December 1, 2022 at 8:13 am

Back when Black Friday was not as crazy, and my son had just gotten his license, I was working a 12 hr shift, so he went to shop for me, TWICE, to get crazy good deals on a microwave and VCR or DVD player and something else for my bf’s new apartment. I spent less than $75 for all three items and they were things that were very needed to make the most of the new apartment. Each of the gifts lasted for years. That may have been my only Black Friday experience, and it was a second-hand one at that. Nothing like a kid with a new license, who will get you one grape at a time if you ask.


rebecca November 25, 2022 at 8:48 am

I’m not a black Friday shopper. I leave that to people who need really stuff discounts to buy things for their families. I did buy 40-50% off classical music concerts and plays today. I love going, gets me out in winter and enjoying and supporting the arts is a key to life for me. I am broke but bought tickets anyway and will squeeze my budget even more to pay for them.


rebecca November 25, 2022 at 8:55 am

ug*stiff discounts
Also, Katie, is there any way to edit/remove my last name?


Katy November 25, 2022 at 9:48 am



rebecca November 25, 2022 at 9:56 am

Thanks so much!


Mary in Maryland November 25, 2022 at 9:51 am

We took a long walk in the misty rain with the dog, exercised for half and hour, and had leftovers for lunch (vegan cassoulet). This afternoon I’ll finish the binding on one of the quilts my guild is giving away. And maybe another dog walk and black bean noodles for dinner. I hate to shop.


Sarah November 25, 2022 at 5:24 pm

I have never understood the need to buy for the sake of buying. I will confess for the first time in years I had to purchase something on buy nothing day, furnace filters!

I send thanks to all who share, and to Katy for her inspiration.



Jenny November 25, 2022 at 11:08 pm

I’ve never “done” Black Friday, and don’t plan to- not my kind of thing. Yesterday I was remembering a Thanksgiving 10+ years ago or more, when Black Friday wasn’t enough for some people, so sales would start at 11:59 inn Thanksgiving Thursday, then 10 pm, then 9 pm, then 6 pm. Some of the extended family teenagers felt like they needed to skip dinner to get in long lines at big chain stores at noon. A few relatives thought “let’s just skip the whole Thanksgiving dinner so we can all shop”. I think that was when sanity returned. What matters most? A discount on junk, Adrenalin-fueled competitive consumerism, or…? Dinner, these days, with its prep and clean up, now takes much of Wednesday, and Thursday until pretty late. It’s a wonderful day of family, and giving thanks!


Amy November 28, 2022 at 5:46 am

I didn’t participate this year. I went and bought “deal” laundry soap. CVS just kept sending me coupons. I don’t think they thought I would buy laundry soap with them. So I consider this a win.


Jennifer November 28, 2022 at 6:37 pm

I played the Black Friday deals from home throughout the week.

1. I have certain food items I buy from Amazon. I loaded what I needed into my cart a few weeks ago – then waited and watched. If and when the price dropped to what I was willing to pay I bought them. (prices have risen so much lately I have not been ordering like I normally do)

2. I took advantage of Kohls BF stuff online and ordered my dh and I needed socks and underwear. Then used my kohl’s cash – along with kohl’s cash my in-laws sent me after buying my dh new shoes – to go in person Saturday. I found a Burts Bees clearance men’s shaving kit for $3! I also bought my boys new shirts and my dd a car kit that included jumper cables – for under $10 out of pocket.

3. I cashed in more CC points for 4 $25 gift cards. CVS and Kroger for my dd. Door Dash for the significant others that I don’t know that well but needed something that I knew would be used. I would never pay for door dash but young adults do it non-stop.

4. Cashed in Ibotta credits for a $20 Starbucks gift card. Then went and purchased 4 $5 gift cards. Stocking stuffers for free!

5. We have milked our Thanksgiving leftovers to death over here. Turkey noodle soup tonight with homemade broth (also froze about 12 pints of broth). Dh just chopped all the dark meat left and made a turkey salad sandwich for his lunch tomorrow. I think tomorrow will be the first day we don’t have leftovers for dinner since Thursday.


Katy November 28, 2022 at 9:33 pm

Wow, you are skilled and crafty when it comes to stretching a dollar!


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