This post comes from Lindsay Sakraida at partner site DealNews.com.
Spring is (hopefully) at our doorstep, but even if you’re planning to stay glued to the couch for all of March Madness, you’ll also likely be doing a bit of spring shopping. To help you save big, we’ve mined the extensive DealNews archives for sales, coupons, daily deals and individual products from the past few years to guide you in your quest to make the savviest purchases this month. From chocolates to iPads, here are the best and worst things to buy in March.
Peruse the advice, then consider signing up for the DealNews Select Newsletter to get the best deals of the day delivered to your inbox.
Treat yourself to chocolate
Did you not get the sweets you hoped for on Valentine’s Day? Well luckily you can survey high-end chocolate shops for any lingering V-day treats. As always after a holiday, themed sweets go on sale at any store with overstock. This month, look for treats that haven’t been gobbled up, and you’ll find discounts of up to 50 percent off at places such as Godiva. (Although so far, the brand has only slashed up to 40 percent off.) Also check the gift section of department stores for other decadent ways to treat yourself on a budget.
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 do indeed see some price cuts, it’s not really the best time to buy underthings. Instead, wait for June and July; that’s when Victoria’s Secret unveils its famed Semi-Annual Sale, and last year around the same time, we also saw excellent markdowns from a plethora of other retailers, including Frederick’s of Hollywood, Maidenform and Bare Necessities.
It might be time to cut your cable
Cable cutting has long been a hot topic among those who want to save on their monthly bills, but we’ve seen a lot of movement lately that makes it all the more doable. Sling TV just launched its live TV Internet service, which includes ESPN, ESPN 2, HGTV and 17 other channels for $20 a month. (More channels are available at an additional cost.) Plus, Hulu added a major player to its programming ranks; starting in April, it’ll be the only subscription video-on-demand service to have all 14 seasons of “CSI,” as well as new episodes as they air. Even if you’re not ready to cancel cable entirely, it’s become a lot easier to negotiate a cheaper price, as providers are keen on doing whatever they can to keep your business.
Hold off 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 the fashionable and cheap short sleeves, shorts and flirty dresses that have started to filter into stores? A good rule of thumb is to wait at least two to three months into a season in order to score the best discounts on weather-appropriate apparel. In the meantime, if you simply must buy something new for spring now, keep an eye out for coupon codes that offer nominal discounts on whatever must-have full price apparel catches your eye.
Save on last year’s phones, wait for discounts on new models
Mobile World Congress is this month, and many new cell phone models will debut. That means a slew of 2014 models will soon become previous-generation and will thus see discounts on- and off-contract. Keep in mind however that some of the biggest Android models, like the presumed update to the Samsung Galaxy S5, probably won’t arrive until later this spring. Plus, despite the discounts on older models, it rarely takes long for new phones to see deals, and if you find a new device that strikes your fancy, waiting just a few months should yield a 50 percent discount. So if you’re not in a hurry, waiting a few more months to buy a new smartphone might be wise.
Get more free shipping at Amazon
In the past, Amazon would offer free shipping on all orders of $35 or more of Amazon-sold goods; items sold by marketplace vendors at Amazon didn’t count. However, now items sold by third-party merchants that are listed as having free shipping can contribute to your minimum purchase. (Click here for more details.) Some experts believe that this change may encourage marketplace vendors to offer free shipping on their wares, resulting in fewer shipping fees across the board.
Keep an eye out for awesome iPad deals
Last month, Apple revealed that sales of its iPad have been relatively lackluster, which is good news for customers. We took a look at our deals and noticed that 2014 saw a 40 percent increase in iPad deals, compared with 2013. This suggests that retailers are trying to make the iPad a more tempting purchase, and while this trend isn’t exclusive to March, we expect deals to get better as we get closer to the September-October time frame, when the next generation will be announced.
Get $120 off your yearly Verizon bill
Verizon changed its data plans, making 1GB, 2GB, 3GB and 4GB options $10 cheaper per month. However, if you’re part of one of these tiers, you won’t get this discount automatically; instead, you’ll get your data bumped for the same price. But if you’re happy with, say, 1GB of data and don’t need 2GB per month, you can call Verizon and ask for the cheaper rate instead. That might only be $10 per month, but it translates into $120 in savings across the entire year.
42-inch and 55-inch LCD TVs offer the best value
We’re hitting a dry season for TV deals, but not all hope is lost for consumers in need of a new flat-screen. Deals on name-brand 42-inch LCDs remain at $300, which is the second-cheapest price we’ve seen for this category in the past year. If you’re on a particularly tight budget, the best deals on off-brand sets of the same size have averaged $237 in the past two months.
If you have the space and budget for a larger set, name-brand 55-inch LCDs are again providing the best value in the 55-inch-plus TV size range. The best deals on these LCDs have averaged $500 since the start of the year. Compared with 2014, that’s the second best price we’ve seen for these TVs. The sheer quantity of 55-inch TV deals also dwarfs deals on all other screen sizes with more than 10x more deals than smaller TV screen sizes. However, off-brand 55-inch LCDs have fluctuated in deal price from $250 to $443. To maximize savings, we’d recommend looking for deals closer to the $250 mark. Before you buy anything though, be sure to check out our guide to the biggest myths about buying a TV.
1080p laptop deals hit their stride as new Intel CPUs enter market
Intel’s fifth generation processor, codenamed Broadwell, is hitting the market with full force. And understandably, the first deals we’ve seen on mainstream, 15-inch Core i5 configurations with this CPU, which uses less power, have been relatively pricey, with deals averaging around $608.
For a better value, we recommend looking at deals on last year’s Haswell-based machines, which are just as fast. Mainstream 15-inch machines in particular continue to enjoy good prices, with deal prices averaging $375 since the start of the year. If you see a deal at or near that price range, we recommend you act on it quickly.
Finally, last month we noticed a steep price drop on 15-inch laptops with high-resolution 1080p screens. Prices hit $335, a first for these premium laptops. While it’s unlikely that March will bring a lower price, consumers should remain vigilant because last month’s deal could be a sign that retailers are targeting 1080p laptops for discounts. Excluding last month’s low, the best deals for these laptops have averaged $432 in 2015.
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