What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in March
Spring is almost here, which means that in just a few months time, we can look forward to the shelves being stocked with Halloween merchandise! Anyway, as the consumer life-cycle continues to spin ever more aggressively, we can use it to take advantage of some great deals. And of course, also use that knowledge to stay away from products and services that are either overpriced right now, or will soon drop in price significantly. Here’s the list for March 2013. (See also: Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything)
First, What to Buy…
March is in like a lion and out like a lamb, which means you can find great deals on things for both winter and spring.
1. Chocolates Galore
Valentine’s Day is over, but the stores still have stock on the shelves. And my oh my, do they want to get rid of it fast! You’ll see 90% savings on perfectly good boxes of chocolates and other candies, simply because they’re in Valentine’s Day packaging. Who cares?!
2. Frozen Foods
If you have space in your freezer, now is the time to use it up. Or grab yourself a cheap freezer off Craigslist and stock that one up! Believe it or not, March is National Frozen Foods month. Seriously. That means you’ll see a ton of great coupons in the circulars and discounts in stores.
The time is now. You are going to see some crazy deals on smartphones this month, as the latest models are about to flood the market. When the Samsung Galaxy IV is announced on March 14th, you should see the Galaxy III go for free with mail-in rebates. Recently, Google’s hot Nexus 4, a phone that was sold out for months, has been offered for free (after rebates) by T-Mobile. So if you’re looking to upgrade, start scouting. By the end of the month the deals should be flowing like wine at a wedding reception.
4. Big Screen TVs
Tired of that tiny 42” screen that you paid $1,500 for five years ago and is now worth one fifth of that? Well, this is the time to upgrade and go big in every sense of the word. It’s possible to walk away from a store with a 60” LCD HDTV for less than $900 now. Even $500 can grab you a hefty 50” model. If you have plans for a home theater, this is a great month to buy, especially with your tax refund coming soon.
If past performance is any indication of how things will go this year, March is the time when luggage/baggage deals kick into high gear. From retail stores like Sears and Walmart, to online retailers like eBags and Amazon, you should find yourself a happy camper.
6. Winter Apparel
Just like last month, there are deals to be had on those big winter jackets, snow boots, hats, and all sorts of other stuff designed to keep the icy weather at bay. These deals won’t last too much longer, the shelves and aisles need to be cleared for the swimsuits and Easter candies.
7. St. Patrick’s Day Merchandise
March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day. And you know what happens on the evening of the 17th? The stores start slashing prices like crazy. In the past, Target has quickly and massively discounted the green gear, and I picked up great Guinness glasses at just a few bucks each. Remember, until the 17th you won’t see many deals, but after then you can scoop up the bargains and stock up for next year.
8. Seeds for the Garden
You certainly won’t be planting them yet, but it’s a great time to stock up on the fruits, flowers, and vegetables that you’d like to propagate your garden with this spring. They also make nice gifts to put into Easter cards.
What to Avoid…
Don't believe the hype — while you might think there are good deals available on the following items, you're best waiting.
1. The PS3
A lot of sites are telling people to run out and buy a PS3 in March, but the evidence shows that the deals will be coming in slowly, and they will not be bargains. Remember, the PS4 will most likely not be out until Christmas 2013, and there isn’t even a price set for it yet. The biggest bargains on the PS3 will obviously be around the release date of the PS4, but you could also see massive savings on Black Friday. Less than $150, maybe even $99! We’ll keep you posted.
2. Kindle Apps
You will find the occasional deal (excluding the free apps of course), but the biggest deals are on the horizon. In May, Amazon will launch the “Amazon Coins” program in an effort to spark a flood of sales on Kindle apps. Wait for that to come around, and you’ll be rolling in cheap apps.
3. Sexy Lingerie
Or dainty lingerie. Or any kind of lingerie really. Unlike chocolates, the lingerie deals do not continue into March. And since most lingerie shops follow the lead of the biggest and most infamous (Victoria’s Secret), you should hold off until June for their semi-annual sale.
4. Spring Apparel
As many of us dig out from the snow, we may think that spring is far away. And as such, the stores will not be selling many shorts, tees, and spring dresses. Time for them to mark them down, right? No way. Spring gear is still priced at or close to the recommended retail price. Wait a month or two, and those prices will come down.
5. Gym Memberships
I can speak from personal experience when I say the gyms are still packed with the New Year’s resolutions crowd. But by April, many of them will give up the ghost (sadly) and that’s when gyms will pull out the deals.