What to Buy (and What Not to Buy) in March
The weather may be variable, but retailers stick to a seasonal schedule no matter what, and that means savings for the smart consumer. March is the time to focus on filling the larder, spring cleaning, and prepping for warmer weather. Many of our February deals may still be in effect, albeit with smaller selections on goods such as winter apparel and Valentine's Day chocolate.
Use this post-holiday, season-transition month to find bargains on frozen and snack foods, fresh produce, and luggage. Don't join the gym just yet or look for a new vacuum cleaner or TV.
Photo by Artkwin/shutterstock
Valentine's Day Leftovers.While the last half of February (directly following Valentine's Day) saw a decent selection of discounted chocolate, those still on the shelves in March will be discounted further -- think 50 percent or more off chocolate with a Valentine's Day theme. Don't expect much choice, though. And don't go looking for cut rates on sexy lingerie -- more attractive deals generally pop up in June.
Frozen Foods.March is National Frozen Food month, so manufacturers and grocers alike pump up promotions on frozen meals and other foodstuffs. Take a tip from extreme couponing and use your coupons during ongoing supermarket sales to stock up on frozen edibles. As mentioned in Cheapism.com's essential pantry staples post, frozen vegetables are long-lasting and nutritious standbys that are building blocks for fast and cheap meals.
Breakfast and Snacks.This month is chock full of deals on popular edibles. In addition to the month-long celebration of frozen food, March 7 is National Cereal Day, March 14 is Potato Chip Day, and March 23 is Chips and Dip Day -- all opportunities to find even better-than-average savings in the grocery aisles. Finally, National Pancake Day falls on March 4, a day when IHop usually goes all out giving away free short stacks of its famous buttermilk pancakes. March 25 is National Waffle Day, when restaurants like Waffle House, Denny's, and Bob Evans historically have offered deals, coupons, and even free waffles.
Seasonal Sporting Gear and Apparel.Ski and snowboard season is coming to a close, so take advantage of retailers' need to clear out old merchandise to leave room for the new. Lower prices on skis, snowboards, and accessories make these wares good to buy in March. Ditto for heavy winter duds -- jackets, hats, and sweaters fall deeper into the clearance bin this month.
Summer Durables.It seems counterintuitive, but March is a good time to buy an air conditioner. Unsold inventory from last year must be cleared out for the new models, and really, who wants an air conditioner in March? To drum up demand, retailers are motivated to cut prices. The same logic holds for barbecue grills.
Luggage.Now that snowbirds have returned and winter travel season is over, it's time to replace that old carry-on. You'll find luggage bargains in March, when the gap between the winter and summer travel seasons means sales slow and new models roll in. Check our recommendations for the best cheap luggage and be on the lookout for deals throughout the month.
Electronics.In general, March is a weird shopping month and not the best time to buy most electronic items. With the Super Bowl long gone and the holiday rush a distant memory, March just doesn't cut it as bargain time for LCD TVs. If you're in the market for a new smartphone and willing to settle for an older model, you should have more luck.
Gym Memberships.Gym memberships are also a bust this month. Gyms are still packed with clients trying to meet their New Year's resolutions while getting ready for bathing suit season. If you can manage on your own, wait until summer when gyms want to entice you inside even though the great outdoors beckon.
Spring Cleaning.While you may be raring to get a head start on spring cleaning, the vacuum industry says "not yet." Turns out, the best time to score a vacuum deal is November. Never mind. Get a jump-start on your spring cleaning without spending a dime by using what you already have on hand; these DIY tips for using common household items will get you going. Or, keep an eye out for coupons on cleaning supplies.
Foods in Season.Eat healthy and cheaply by cooking seasonally. Foods to buy in March include nutritious greens like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, and lettuce while winter's bounty of root vegetables such as parsnips, radishes, leeks, and shallots is still available. Artichokes, avocados, peas, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, and oranges are also plentiful throughout the month. Find everything you need to make a roasted vegetable dish or a colorful salad.