The Best and Worst Things to Buy in March

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This post comes from Lindsay Sakraida and Louis Ramirez at partner site DealNews

Look for all-time low prices on the PS3

Since Sony debuted the long-awaited PlayStation 4 console just a week ago, it’s an excellent time to buy a PlayStation 3; in years past, prices on previous-generation consoles have dropped 60 to 64 percent once the next generations were released.

Deals will only get more frequent once the PS4 invades stores and gamer households. We predict that the 160GB PS3 model will fall to as low as $144. Right now PlayStation 3 250GB bundles are priced at least $50 under the lowest price we could find.

But hold off on buying the PS4…if you can stand the wait

While the PS3 will soon see fire-sale prices, the PS4 will obviously be selling for full price for a while. However, as the Wii U has shown, it’s possible we may find a slight (very slight) discount of 5 to 14 percent in the first few months. This is a hotly-anticipated console, however, and since there’s no guarantee of discounts, some shoppers might decide to buy upon its debut.

Treat yourself with chocolate

If you didn’t get the sweets you hoped for on Valentine’s Day, peruse high-end chocolate shops for lingering V-Day treats. As always after a holiday, themed sweets go on sale and any treats that haven’t been gobbled up will see discounts of up to 50 percent. Look to stores like Godiva and the gift section of department stores.

Skip the lingerie

You may think that immediately after the most romantic day of the year, you’d see huge discounts on lingerie, but although we see some price cuts, it’s not really the best time to buy underthings.

Around June is when Victoria’s Secret unveils its famed Semi-Annual Sale, and last year we saw excellent markdowns from a plethora of other retailers like aerie by American Eagle, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Macy’s, Soma Intimates, and Figleaves.

That said, summer deals paled in comparison to the October-to-December stretch, which saw numerous Editors’ Choice offers from many of these same vendors.

Hold off on buying spring apparel

It’s common knowledge that the best time to buy current season apparel is well after said season has begun. That’s why cold weather apparel is still such a hot buy right now. But how long until you can don fashionable and cheap short sleeves, shorts, and flirty dresses, all of which have started to filter into stores?

A good rule of thumb is to wait at least two to three months after a season has begun to score the best discounts. In the meantime, if you simply must buy something new for spring now, keep an eye out for a coupon code for a nominal discount on whatever must-have full-price apparel catches your eye.

Thinking of buying apps for your Kindle Fire? Think again

While apps, games, and in-app purchases might not singlehandedly make a huge dent in your wallet, Amazon announced last month it will start an Amazon Coins program for Kindle Fire add-ons. When the program launches in May, the store will give out “tens of millions of dollars worth of Coins.” The idea is to ignite interaction with the Kindle Fire app marketplace, but all you need to know for now is that in a few months, those apps you’re craving can be had for free.

Say bon voyage with luggage deals

After a few months cooped up indoors, you may be feeling the itch to get outside and take on an adventure or two. If your travel gear is lacking, you’re in luck! This time of year is a good time to buy new travel bags. Last year, luggage deals began to pick up steam in March, with sales at Walmart, eBags, Macy’s, and Sears. This continued throughout the spring, though, so we’ll continue to see an influx of deals in the coming months.

Stock up on frozen foods

March is National Frozen Foods Month – yes, it’s largely a marketing ploy to draw attention to the frozen foods industry, but we could still see special promotions from different frozen food brands. In so many words: Get excited for supermarket couponing! And if you come across a hot deal, stock up on long-lasting foodstuffs.

Savings on last year’s smartphones

Several phone manufacturers debuted a fleet of phones at Mobile World Congress in February, which turned several 2012 models into previous-generation. That means it’s a great time to start looking for freebie phone deals (with two-year contracts) or even deals that pay with gift cards.

But keep in mind that it’s common for new phones to be offered at discounts, so if you find a new phone that strikes your fancy, waiting just a few months should yield a 50 percent discount. If you’re interested in 2012’s hottest phone – the Samsung Galaxy S III – then this month will also see good deals once the Galaxy S IV is announced on March 14.

Big-screen TVs continue to decline in price and 2012’s top-rated plasmas go on sale

While we’ve yet to see any deals on 2013 HDTVs, February saw new all-time lows on premium 2012 models; 55-inch 3D TVs hit $750 for the first time; that’s $50 cheaper than we saw in January and $50 under our best Black Friday 2012 deal.

Going forward, shoppers interested in 55-inch 3D LED LCD HDTVs should look at prices in the $750 to $800 range. If you want to save even more, you can bypass 3D and look at 55-inch off-brand models, also at all-time lows with deals in the $550 to $650 range. These prices are expected to continue into March.

February also brought with it an abundance of deals on 60-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs, and there’s no sign of them slowing down. In fact, February saw the second-lowest price on a 60-inch LCD ($848) outside of Black Friday. That said, we expect the deals to continue through March, so look for name-brand 60-inch sets in the $848 to $900 range.

And a quick note for videophiles: Panasonic’s top-performing 2012 plasmas (in particular the VT50 and GT50 series) hit all-time lows in February. It’s not often we find deals on these highly-rated series, but with the new 2013 models about to arrive, retailers have no choice but to clear stock by discounting the previous year’s sets. Definitely keep an eye out for these models if you want the best TV your money can buy.

Surface deals finally arrive and Core i3 Ivy Bridge configs continue to drop in price

Laptop/tablet hybrids are the wave of the future, and February marked the first time we’ve seen deals on Microsoft’s Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. Though the savings were nothing to scoff at ($75 off both the entry-level RT model and the just-released Pro model), we expect March to offer similar and perhaps more aggressive Surface deals as more retailers begin to stock these machines and compete.

If you’re after a more traditional laptop experience, invest in an Ivy Bridge Core i3 laptop. These systems have slowly been descending in price, and February saw a new low price set for these notebooks: Deals started at $340. Note that a Core i5 Ivy Bridge laptop will cost you roughly $100 more.

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