What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in March
Right now, it may not feel like spring is approaching; many of us still have snow on our lawns and extra blankets on the bed. But, in a few months we'll be unpacking the shorts and light jackets, and getting ready to tune up the lawn mower. As always, stores are way ahead of consumers when it comes to stocking the shelves. They clear out products you want right now in favor of items you will soon need. But that makes for great bargains, if you know what to look for. (See also: Wise Bread's Shopping Calendar)
First, What to Buy…
There are plenty of awesome holidays this month. March 4th is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day in the UK). In the UK, Mother's Day is Sunday, March 30th. And we also have the spring equinox on March 20th. Let's take a look at some of the bargains that accompany them.
1. Chocolates, Chocolates, Chocolates
Something the stores never want hanging around are seasonal items, especially edible ones. Valentine's Day may be long gone, but the stores still have plenty of goodies on the shelves. And they want to get rid of it quickly! You'll see 90% savings on perfectly good boxes of chocolates and other candies, and all because they're in heart-shipped boxes and flowery red packaging. It's silly, but it's good for your wallet. (See also: 15 Reasons to Eat More Chocolate)
2. Frozen Foods
March is National Frozen Foods month. Who knew? That means you'll see a ton of great coupons in the circulars and discounts in stores. 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 it up! Remember, these foods can last a year or more, but the deals don't ever last that long. (See also: Make-Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfasts)
3. Intel-Based Laptops
If you need a new laptop for school, college, the workplace, or just to have around the house, now is the time to check out deals on Intel-based laptops. Now, there are several types of Intel processors, from the older Ivy Bridge and Celeron models, to the newer Haswell versions. Strangely enough, the better deals seem to be on the Haswells, so if you have $500 to spend, you can get a fast and reliable Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, or Sony laptop with a Haswell Core i5 or Core i7 processor.
4. Big Screen TVs
It won't be too long before 42" LCD TVs are given away free with boxes of cereal. Seriously, every year big screen TVs get cheaper and cheaper. A few years ago, a 60" 1080p LCD TV would have set you back a few thousand dollars. This year, you will get change out of $800. And those 4K TVs are also going to drop in price, too. If you have plans for a home theater, this is a great month to buy, especially if you're expecting a tax refund.
Now's the time to stock up on travel gear. If past performance is any indication of how things will go this year, luggage and baggage deals kick into high gear in March. New luggage models (do people really care about the trendiness of their suitcases?) come out now, so old models are priced to move. From retail stores like Sears and Walmart to online retailers like eBags and Amazon, you should find yourself some sweet bargains. Hopefully, flights will be just as good to you. (See also: Packing Secrets From a Pro Traveler)
6. Snow Gear
If you like fresh powder, there's still time to enjoy it while wearing some snazzy new gear…and it doesn't have to cost full price. 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, so grab them now.
7. St. Patrick's Day Merchandise
Once again, the green beers will be flowing on March 17th — St. Patrick's Day. And as soon as the sun sets on the 17th, the stores start discounting St. Paddy's Day merchandise with a determination that would make the Little Engine That Could jealous. In the past, Target has quickly and massively discounted the green gear. 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. (See also: Ways to Serve Potatoes on St. Patrick's Day)
8. Amazon Prime
If you've been debating an Amazon Prime membership, now could be the best time to jump on it. Over the past year, changes have been made to Amazon Prime that have made it less of a deal than it used to be. For instance, the change to "add on items," which were once free to ship with Prime, but are now only shipped free if included with an order that brings your total over $25. Rumors have it that Amazon is going to hike the rates by 50% or more. Get in now, and enjoy free two-day shipping and a massive library of free TV and Movies to stream whenever you want.
9. Seeds and Plants
Of course, with frost and hard ground to contend with, you won't be planting a whole lot right now. But you can order what you need now and save 50% or more on seeds that will make your garden grow. (See also: Guide to Container Gardening)
10. Silverware and China
Wedding season is not until June. Christmas is over. The stores want to get some of their silverware and china stock cleared. If your plates, bowls and cutlery are looking a little past their prime, now is a great time to refresh them all. And remember, the old ones can be donated to charity for a family that really needs them.
What to Avoid…
There's a lot of flimflam in March too. It starts at the beginning of the month with Oscar Night 2014, and let's not forget Daylight Savings Time on March 9th — one hour of sleep lost, one extra pot of coffee on Sunday. Let's see what we should be looking to avoid this month.
1. Sexy Lingerie
It's not the same as candy; lingerie is lingerie, and it is still popular despite Valentine's Day being over for another year. When it comes to sales, most lingerie stores follow the lead of the biggest and most infamous — Victoria's Secret. And as their semi-annual sale is in June, you should hold off on your shopping until then.
2. Xbox One Systems and Games
The Xbox One is still a hot item, but the discounts are coming in April. Now that the rush is over for Christmas, and the big fans have already picked up their systems, sales are on the decline. Microsoft doesn't want to see the PS4 gaining any more market share, and the best way to combat that is with discounts. Keep your eyes peeled, but don't buy anything just yet.
3. Spring Apparel
Spring is not just around the corner. But the stores have a different story. They're stocking up for spring right now, and they have no plans to offer any kind of discounts just yet. Spring gear is still priced at or close to the recommended retail price. Wait a month or two, and those prices will come down just in time for you to get a month or two of good use out of everything you buy.
4. New Smartphones
The latest models are everywhere, and they're full price. By all means use this time to start looking around for models you'd like to have, but hold your horses. Give it a few months and those full price phones will start falling in price.
5. Gym Memberships
If you're a regular at the gym, you should have seen the New Year's rush die down by now. But, it's far from over yet. People are still trying to fulfill that resolution to get fit, and gyms are not struggling to make their numbers. Wait a few more months. Once the sun is shining and people can run outdoors, they'll start hitting you with offers.
Are you planning to make any purchases in March? Where are you finding deals?
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