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RISMEDIA, November 20, 2010—(MCT)—Black Friday—the shopping binge that follows the Thanksgiving eating binge—is often the busiest day of the holiday shopping season. In 2009, for example, Black Friday was the No. 1 shopping day of the year, according to ShopperTrak.

The term “Black Friday” has a colorful history. Traditionally, on the day after Thanksgiving, stores shifted from being in debt (in the red) to a profit (in the black), according to the National Retail Federation. But while stores are moving from red to black, consumers can go green with an eco-friendly to-do list designed to save money and resources:

– Audit your energy bill: Give Black Friday a green charge by scheduling an energy audit to measure the energy-efficiency of your home. Many regional electric utility companies offer onsite residential audits.

– Target giveaways: Use Black Friday to organize and purge closets and bookshelves. Recycle by donating your castoffs to a thrift shop. Unwanted books and video games can be bartered for store credits at used-book and video game stores.

– Create a wallet buddy: Download a free “wallet buddy” from the Center for a New American Dream, a nonprofit organization that promotes eco-friendly policies, conscious spending and quality-of-life improvements. The wallet buddy is a do-it-yourself card holder that serves as a spending barrier every time you reach for a card. The wallet buddy is easy to assemble after being downloaded from New Dream (www.newdream.org). Use recycled or discarded paper to print the anti-spending pledges, which include: “Every dollar I spend is a statement about the kind of world I want and the quality of life I value.” The other side of the wallet buddy offers questions designed to make you think twice about each purchase.

– Create menus: Use Black Friday to plan menus with holiday leftovers. Menu-planning creates a money-saving strategy for grocery shopping and meal-preparation.

– Sleep: Hit the snooze button and skip over pre-dawn Black Friday sales, which often feature large crowds and dubious sales. Save money and preserve your health by getting more sleep. Sleep deprivation costs money and diminishes safety, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

(c) 2010, The Miami Herald. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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