Black Friday is coming...Love it or hate it, it marks the start of the holiday shopping frenzy, and also the load of potential guilt associated with buying. Should I buy more to help stimulate the economy or less to save money and the planet? Buy local to support Summit merchants, or at a big box store or online for convenience and savings? Think about environmental impact of packaging and wrapping or ignore it? Buy gift certificates or risk the eyerolling response of a teenager to a clothing gift you picked out yourself?
We'll explore several of these issues over the course of several blog posts, so keep checking back.
Black Friday (Nov. 25), Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26), and Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) are all calling your name, saying seductively, "Shop now, shop here, shop big." Will you succumb? Well, yes, of course we all will to a certain extent. But let's inject a little sanity into an otherwise insane week.
1. Make a list, both of what you want to get and where you want to shop. Whom do you need to buy for, and what will fit the bill for each of them? What is the most efficient driving route to hit all your favorite places? Keep in mind that a day spent in downtown Summit can cover a lot of ground without the craziness of a mall; get an overview by looking through the Summit Downtown website, which shows holiday events and features stores and gifts.
2. Compare costs online before you shop--the same item can vary in cost from store to store. Keep in mind that price is only one thing to consider. Quality, durability, and where and how a product is manufactured are also important. Look for products made by companies that consistently pay fair wages and are conscious of the environment.
3. Consider shopping online for some items, especially for non-unique items. Online shopping is generally a greener way to shop, because warehouses and trucks use less energy than it takes to maintain a mall, according to The Daily Green.
4. Think about making a gift to your favorite charity as "shopping," especially for hard-to-buy-for giftees, instead of getting in your car and heading to a store. Gifts in their names to worthwhile charities are a blessing, and have the added plus of saving you a shopping trip.
Next up: Greening your gift list
By Beth Lovejoy