How to turn Black Friday green (and still save)

Written by Lori Campbell on 13th Nov 2023

We all love a bargain, it’s true. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. But in the crazy rush for cut-price possessions that we call Black Friday, it’s also worth considering the impact such frenzied spending has – on the planet, your pocket (especially when everything is already costing WAY more than last year) and your mental health.

The black side of Black Friday

There’s no question that Black Friday comes at a huge cost to the planet and society. Here’s why:

So is it really possible to go for Black Friday bargains and net yourself a good deal, without feeling too blue (or black) – and unnecessarily poorer – afterwards?

Here are our 7 Golden Rules to having a better, greener, and all-round more enjoyable Black Friday this year.


  • Only buy things you would have bought anyway. It’s not a bargain if you are spending money you would not otherwise have spent, is it? You’re quids DOWN on the deal.


  • Assess the cost per use of the item to work out its true value. Cheap might look like a bargain, but it’s not if you only wear it twice because it’s a bit crap really, is it? This is your excuse to spend a bit more on quality. The cost per wear or cost per use is your guide to true value – not the price label you see.


  • Work out what are needs, and what are wants. There’s a lot of novelty nonsense around at this time of year and retailers’ very existence depends on their ability to tempt you, so that is what they do, with a bombardment of marketing via post, email, sidebars – you name it, they will make their way into your consciousness because they know their target market. So this line between needs and wants can become very blurred and it’s up to you to be strict and really straighten it out.


  • Create a budget, make a list of all of the people you need to buy for and what (roughly) you would like to buy for them. Then, divide that budget up accordingly. It might mean that Auntie Pam only gets a pair of socks, but she’ll be happy with that, honestly.


  • This one only applies if you have kids under 3. Take it from us, they don’t care what’s in their presents, they just want lots of them. So go to a charity shop and go crazy on things priced at £3 or less. It’s the cheapest and most guilt-free way to bulk up their present corner on Christmas day. And then it doesn’t matter whether they play with them or not. You can always take them back to the charity shop for someone else to enjoy next year.


  • See the words ethical, local, fairtrade, eco or organic, and if it is something you would get anyway and doesn’t cost a ridiculous amount more, then go for that. You will be making a smaller contribution to tat mountain, reducing transportation miles, buying quality (probably), and generally doing the world a favour. Amazon has its place, but may we suggest limiting it to 10 per cent of your total supply source this Christmas.


  • ‘One for me, one for the foodbank or shelter’. Go ahead and go nuts buying things for family and friends, but don’t forget about those in greater need. The use of foodbanks in the UK has risen significantly over the last few years, so you can really do your bit for your local community if you consider some additional purchases for the foodbank or shelter. Check out the reverse advent calendar idea.

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