The weather in March may be variable, but retailers stick to a seasonal schedule no matter what, and that means savings for smart consumers. March is the time to hit end-of-season sales, fill the larder, and prep for warmer weather. Many February deals may still be in effect, albeit with smaller selections of goods such as winter clothing. And don't expect to find deals on many big-ticket items.
BUY: VALENTINE'S DAY CHOCOLATE
While the last half of February saw a decent selection of discounted chocolate after Valentine's Day, the treats 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.
BUY: FROZEN FOOD
March is Frozen Food Month, so manufacturers and grocers pump up promotions on frozen meals and other foodstuffs. Use coupons during supermarket sales to stock up on frozen food. Staples such as frozen vegetables are long-lasting and nutritious building blocks for fast and cheap meals.
March is chock-full of food holidays and deals on popular edibles. In addition to the month-long celebration of frozen food, March 14 is National Potato Chip Day, and March 23 is National Chip and Dip Day — which are opportunities to find better-than-average savings in the grocery aisles.
BUY: WINTER SPORTING GOODS AND APPAREL
Ski and snowboard season is coming to a close, so take advantage of retailers' need to clear out old merchandise and make room for the new. Lower prices on skis, snowboards, and accessories make March a good time to buy this equipment. Ditto for heavy winter duds — jackets, hats, and sweaters fall deeper into the clearance bin.
BUY: 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 needs an air conditioner in March? To drum up demand, retailers are motivated to cut prices. The same logic holds for barbecue grills.
Now that snowbirds have returned and winter travel season is over, it's time to replace that old suitcase. Consumers will find luggage bargains in March, when sales slow and new models roll in during the gap between winter and summer travel. Be on the lookout for deals throughout the month.
BUY: FOODS IN SEASON
Eat healthfully and cheaply by cooking seasonally. Foods to buy in March include nutritious greens such as 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.
BUY: ST. PATRICK’S DAY DEALS
The food industry is known for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day whether it's getting a discount if you patron a restaurant wearing green, or BOGO meals, or half off select items. Stores that have participated in the past include Einstein Bros., Friendly’s, Sonic, and IHOP, among others. Check your local restaurants for upcoming deals. If you’re in need of St. Patrick’s day duds, check out retailers such as Amazon that drastically reduce the price of anything green adorned with four-leaf clovers as March 17th draws near.
DON'T BUY: GYM MEMBERSHIP
Gym memberships are also a bust in March. Gyms are still packed with clients trying to meet their New Year's resolutions while getting ready for bathing suit season. Try to work out at home until summer, when the great outdoors beckons and gyms try to entice people inside.
DON'T BUY: LINGERIE
It might seem logical for lingerie to go on sale after Valentine's Day, but more attractive deals generally arrive in June. Victoria's Secret's semi-annual sale spurs the competition to slash prices, too.
DON'T BUY: VACUUMS
The vacuum industry is well aware that consumers are raring to start spring cleaning in March. Turns out, the best time to score a vacuum deal is November. Never mind. Spring clean without spending a dime by using common household items that are probably already on hand. And keep an eye out for coupons on cleaning supplies.