I’ve parted with money to Black Friday just once, but I’d do it again if the right opportunity arose.

A close friend’s birthday was coming up. Another (more organised) friend sent a text round a couple of us with details of a Black Friday spa offer, a potential gift and day out for the four of us.

It was the kind of thing the birthday girl would love. A chance to not only relax, but spend extended, quality time together. We had all lived together at university, but the times when we were all in one place were becoming increasingly rare. And this friend – she’s all about people. And she’s not really about stuff.

Still, I hesitated a moment.

You see, I’d introduced a self-imposed ban on Black Friday, not wanting to buy into the excess and unnecessary spending it can promote. I texted my husband outlining my dilemma: I would buy her something anyway, so it might as well be a good deal (for us) and a great gift (for her). But was I selling out on my values?  His reply cut through my indecision: “would she like it? Then buy it.”

I’d forgotten the things that matter – like relationships and connection.

So I did. And it was a great day out. And something stayed with me beyond the post-spa relaxation. I was challenged. Perhaps, in my determination to avoid over-consuming during Black Friday, I had lost sight of the important things. Maybe I was obsessed with stuff – just avoiding it instead of acquiring it. I’d forgotten the things that matter – like relationships and connection.

I didn’t really part with my money to Black Friday. I used it to bless a friend. And I hope I bless her again sometime.

Since then, I haven’t reached for my debit card for a Black Friday purchase. But neither have I decided to avoid it outright. Instead, it’s become just another day.

If I consider buying something, then I apply the same questions I do on any other day of the year. If you’re starting out on an ethical shopping journey you can use these three questions to guide you:

  • Do I need it?
  • Is it a good ethical, sustainable option?
  • Will it be a blessing?