MINIMALIST LIFE HACKS » How to survive Black Friday and the holidays


Hey everyone, welcome back to Simple Happy Zen, it’s Vera here. And as you may know I always like to share a minimalist life hacks on this channel. And today’s are specifically about how to survive Black Friday as a minimalist and kind of how to navigate the commercial pressures surrounding Black Friday. And of course the approaching holidays. So that we can make the most out of certain opportunities as they arise. But also still enjoy this time of year without spending too much or without buying things that we end up regretting. So I asked you in a community post what your biggest questions and struggles are when it comes to dealing with Black Friday. And as it turned out, there were actually some bigger themes that kind of emerged. That a lot of you are struggling with. And some have to do with just dealing with the sales of Black Friday as a minimalist and others had to do with things like the holidays and the social pressures of gift-giving and expensive gift-giving, and how to deal with that. So the way I structured this video was based around your questions. So I’m not saying that which is just entirely boycott Black Friday. Although you can of course if you want to. Or completely stop the gift-giving culture of the holidays. But if we just put a little bit more thought into things, then we can come out of this season feeling happy, and fulfilled and loved, instead of feeling broke and stressed and frustrated. One of the questions that a lot of you had was Black Friday does have some really great deals. so how can we as a minimalist take advantage of them in a mindful and intentional way? And I think this is one of the most important things about sales if you ask me. To know when to buy them, and when not to buy them. And to know the difference between when it makes sense to upgrade an item or buy something in bulk. Even or when to just be happy with what you already have. So let me illustrate this with a personal example.Last year around October I needed a new laptop and I use it for my channel and my old laptop was already eight years old at the time. And I wanted to upgrade my videos, and one of the ways I wanted to do that was by getting new editing software. Which wouldn’t run on my old laptop. and also I was just wasting hours here and there every week waiting for that thing to load. So it was clear that I needed an upgrade. Since it was October I decided to wait for Black Friday because laptops often go on sale during that time. And of course, I wanted to save some money if it was possible. But I did something extremely important before that. So I decided to sit down and make a list of all the requirements that my new laptop would need to have for my specific purpose, which was editing videos and running my channel. So I did research I made a list of all the requirements and all the little things that it needed to have And when Black Friday came around I started looking at the laptops that were on sale. But unfortunately, the cheaper laptops that were on sale didn’t meet my requirements. So I knew that they wouldn’t work. And the price range above that was very much priced down, But they had all kinds of features that I would never use. They were too fancy and too expensive for me. So they were still above my price range. So I decided to just skip Black Friday entirely and just buy the laptop that was perfect for my needs. It was not on sale. But it was still a lot cheaper than those really fancy ones that were. With Black Friday, if you are looking to get an upgrade, a new TV, a new phone, or whatever else. Really just think before you go. And really sit down and make a list. What does it need to be able to do? What does it need to have? What are you going to use it for? And which features would you probably not really use? And then if you find the perfect one on sale… then it could be a good idea to go for it because you’d actually be saving money. But don’t get confused by all these deals and really use your list as a compass. It is important to understand how Black Friday and all sales really work, for the stores and the brands. They are not doing it to help you get a good deal out of the goodness of their heart. They are doing it to make money ultimately. They try to lure in a lot of people by slashing the prices of a few popular items and then they hope that people will get sale fever and also start to buy a lot of other things. And they actively use all kinds of triggers to get people to spend the most money. And they want you to get in that mindset of saving money by shopping for good deals, get the lines to blur, and then fill your shopping basket with stuff. There’s even a term for that. It’s called the target effect. Spending more money than you were expecting. How to take advantage of a Black Friday sale is to go to the store or online, and only leaving with that one specific item that you came for. And that’s how you know you really got a good deal. And if you have taken a moment to honestly think before you went Do you really want this, do you really need this? Then you are much more likely to navigate like Friday as a minimalist. Next question was about stocking up on things that you were going to buy anyway But then getting tempted by all these other items. If you can do so mindfully, then yes I am a big advocate of using sales to stock up on things that you were going to buy anyway. But there are a few buts. So the first but is that you need to take a moment to think how many of these items can I use before they go bad? So let’s say that your favorite moisturizer that you have been using for years is on sale, then yes I would advise to stock up on it and buy a bunch of them. But do take them to think how many of these jars can you use before they will go bad, and then don’t go over that amount. About getting tempted by all these other stuff that pop up whether it’s online or in the store… that is that target effect that I talked about earlier. So don’t let yourself get confused by all these deals, just be very goal-oriented. Make a list. Go in, get what you came for and leave. And the last thing, so the last but in this case, is making sure that this was actually something that you were going to buy anyway. And not just something that you only started wanting because it’s on sale or because there’s a good deal. I’m going to talk about that a bit more later in the video. Next is dealing with giving and receiving gifts. If you don’t want to get a ton of stuff and you don’t have the budget to buy a lot of things. Dealing with presents you don’t really want or use, and how to say no to receiving gifts and spending time with people instead without hurting their feelings. I got this question a lot and it’s very understandable. And some people said that in their family it feels like the holidays are more about gift-giving and expensive gift giving than anything else. And some people even said that for them is more like surviving the holiday season than really enjoying it for what it’s about. And I think the most important thing here is communication. So the “normal” thing to do during this season is to go all out. Buy expensive gifts, have expensive dinner parties, decorate your entire house. And if you do it like that then the holidays will most likely be kind of expensive and stressful. And if you enjoy things like that, if you like it By all means go for it. But you are also completely justified in having a different opinion and speaking up about wanting to spend the holidays in a different way. Someone also commented that they felt exactly these pressures but it took another couple in the family to speak up about not being able to afford all this for other couples to finally admit that they were feeling the same way. So you never know, holiday traditions kind of have a way of not being discussed in an open and honest way. Because people just do what they think is expected of them. But if you are open and honest about how you feel and what you think about it… you never know if someone might agree with you, or at least respect you for being open about how you feel. About not wanting to hurt other people’s feelings I get it. But you can only control what you say and how you say it. And you cannot control how other people respond or how they will react or if it hurts their feelings. So I don’t mean this to sound harsh, but some people get upset or offended over the smallest things and that really speaks about them, that is their issue. Not yours. So if you share your feelings openly and honestly in a constructive way… that’s really all you can do. And you have just as much right to your opinion as they have to theirs. And you are allowed to speak up. Next is inexpensive yet meaningful gifts when you’re on a small budget, wanting to show affection through presents but feeling like you’re not giving enough. And being afraid to disappoint others. Let me first share some ideas for making gift-giving less expensive and how to still give meaningful gifts on a budget. The first is Secret Santa. And this is something that we used to do with our families. Lately we haven’t been really exchanging gifts. But before that, we used to do Secret Santa. And it’s great because everyone only has to buy for one specific person, and everyone gets something that they like. What we did, which I think is quite important, is decide on a budget with each other that was affordable for everyone. But still nice enough that you could buy something nice for someone. And then what we did was create a wish list for our Secret Santa to use as inspiration. So that we could make sure that no one got something they actually didn’t really want or use. We use an app for our list… What’s it called? This app would make sure that the Secret Santa would get their persons wish list without everyone finding out who has whom. Next is of course making something yourself. Homemade candles, homemade cookies, quilts you made anything really. Most people are kind of worried that the receiver of the gift will think that you got off easy or that you didn’t put a lot of effort or thought or love into their gift. If you ask me, homemade gifts is one of the best ways to show that you care. Especially if you make it so that the thing that you are making really suits the person that you are giving it to, that’s something that they really like. If you search for DIY Christmas gifts on YouTube There is plenty and plenty of inspiration to go around. Next is donating something to a charity. If you want to give someone a gift that really just has it all… it can be a great thing to make a donation to one of their favorite charities, that they really care about. And of course this is not always a good option, it really depends on the person. But it might be a good solution in some cases. Also consumables. Consumables are great because you know that this person will actually use them up and they will not clutter up their home. Plants are a really good option. But of course only for people who actually enjoy plants. And of course experiences. And in my opinion, this works best between like you and your partner close friends or maybe like three four people max. Because if you get something like this for the entire family it can be really stressful trying to find a date that works for everyone. And it can kind of suck out all the joy of the thing that it is that you’re trying to do because of all that stress. But especially if it’s just between you and someone else. Just cooking something nice for someone or going somewhere, doing something, is so much better than receiving an item if you ask me. But I think one of the most important things really is to just talk about it with people and decide on a budget. Because you will feel kind of badly if you give someone a small plant and they give you an expensive watch. Most people will feel like they need to reciprocate and then spend more than they can afford. So one of the best tips that I can give you is decide on a budget that everyone has to stick to. Next is with Black Friday happening suddenly seeing all kinds of things that you want or need, and how to resist the temptation of wanting to treat yourself to something that you don’t really need, and how to know if that’s what’s going on. The basic golden rule is this: if you see something and it sparks your interest in some way, it is not a true want or need if you didn’t know it existed in the first place before you saw it. So if you were able to live perfectly fine without it all this time you will be able to live perfectly fine without it now. Now I just want to mention that in my opinion It is perfectly fine to treat yourself to something occasionally. Even if it is not truly a need or strong want. So I’m not saying that you should not go out on Black Friday and buy something for yourself. But if you can do it with just a little bit more intention, we can put a lot of more value on the things that we do end up buying this holiday season, either for ourselves or for our loved ones. And the main thing here again is to not get confused and stuck in these sales vortex. Brands will make it sound like there is scarcity. Like this offer iss only today, or a short time offer, or they may even offer like 80% discount just to get you to cross that line. And if you can see things for what they really are, and understand that these are just items and they will not give you any lasting happiness… You will be much more likely to really make conscious decisions about what you will and will not buy. Next is what to do when the kids want expensive electronics or expensive gifts and you just want to keep it simple and stay on a budget, whether by choice or necessity. Now I don’t have kids myself, but I can imagine that this can be very tricky to manage. Kids, depending on their age of course… they’re not really capable of seeing this in a rational way. And it’s easy for them to get swept up by at all especially if their friends are all getting very expensive things. And it may be hard for them to understand why they are not. So I got a few tips for you here. Give a heads up and set expectations beforehand to avoid disappointment. So this really is expectation management. Make them a part of the gift-giving if they are old enough to understand, maybe tell them their budget and make them choose either one big thing or several smaller things within that budget. If they are not old enough to understand, this maybe buy several smaller gifts instead of one big gift, so that they have more to unpack. Make it a teaching moment where they focus more on being charitable and grateful and less on getting lots of presents. Talk to them about being grateful for their many blessings. Maybe go volunteering to show them that they have it good. Even if they are not getting expensive electronics. Have a talk with them about the fact that they don’t always have to have what their friends have and why it’s important to focus on yourself and not compare so much. Lastly, if it’s something that they really really want… perhaps see if there’s a way that you can give them money that is still within your budget, and then make them save up to pay for the rest. This will also teach them to appreciate the worth of money more. Next is the feeling that we need a lot of Christmas ornaments to make it feel Christmasy. And spending lots of money on them, and then having to store all that throughout the year. I only have one Christmas tree that we have used year after year in this apartment. And it’s kind of ugly but I really love it, because I was just so happy when I was picking it out, and it has special memories for me. We only bought the ornaments to fill up this one tree, and that is it. That is all the decorations that we have and that’s enough for me. But maybe you’re the type of person who enjoys a little more decorating and that is perfectly fine too. When it comes to getting these things affordably, what we actually did was borrow our decorations for the first year in this apartment, and then going shopping for our own the day after Christmas, when everything was on sale. And we ended up saving a lot of money this way. So if you do decide that you want some new decorations see if it can possibly wait until after these holidays So that you can use them next year and get them really cheap now. And the main thing here is to just really ask yourself honestly For who are you decorating? And be honest with answering this question. If you can say that you are do because you enjoy it and you get a lot of joy and energy and Christmassy feelings from it, then go nuts. But if you say that you are mainly doing it not to disappoint people. Or if you’re afraid of what your neighbors will say, or things like that Then please know that it is perfectly okay to skip it or do a lot less of it. And about that Christmassy feeling, you will still get it when you go out on the town because everything will be decorated there. And lastly I want to mention that holiday decorations can be quite wasteful. So please hang on to them for a long time, use and reuse, instead of buying something new each year. Lastly, dealing with being bombarded by influencers who do unboxing or gift idea videos hauls or opening advent calendars, and the commercial pressures of social media. If this stuff bothers you, feel free to unfollow certain accounts during the holiday season or even longer, or block their feed for a while. It is perfectly okay to be very selective with who you’re following and what content you are consuming. So it is your life and your rules. If you want to avoid Black Friday altogether, then more power to you. Do something else for yourself, go have a lovely walk in nature, or go to the beach, or to the forest or enjoy that lovely winter weather. Go do something with your family and make a day of it that doesn’t involve shopping. Please share how you deal with Black Friday and the approaching holidays in the comment section down below and of course give this video a thumbs up. Because that really helps me out and supports the channel. I wish you all a lovely holiday season to come and I wish you all a really nice weekend And I’ll see you next week. Bye

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