The Best and Worst Things to Buy in March

This post comes from partner site DealNews.com.

The winter holidays are gone (and hopefully paid for by now), the pressure of Valentine’s Day has passed, and it’s not yet time for the beach garb and gardening tools that Memorial Day will bring. Although the month falls in between the biggest shopping seasons, March has deals to offer. Watch for these items to become available at deep discounts this month, and then check out the things you should avoid buying until later.

Chocolate

Did you not get the sweets you hoped for on Valentine’s Day? Well, luckily you can peruse 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 already-discounted clearance items at places like Ghirardelli, which could bring a $60 gift bag down to a final price of $15. Godiva, meanwhile, offers free shipping on various days throughout the month, which saves up to $8 on orders. Also check the gift section of department stores for other decadent ways to treat yourself on a budget.

Luggage

Holiday travel has been over for months, but summer vacations aren’t here yet, meaning luggage stores are empty this time of year. Get discounted suitcases before the summer travel season starts and prices shoot back up: We see a quarter fewer luggage deals in April than in March, and less than half as many Editors’ Choice ones. Act now while you can score backpacks from $7 and duffel bags from $9.

Frozen foods

Did you know that March is National Frozen Food Month? And this isn’t one of those made-up events — participating companies include Green Giant, Dole, Eggo, Jimmy Dean, Pepperidge Farm, Best Yet, Bob Evans, Safeway and Tyson. So keep an eye out for discounts from these brands and grocery stores.

St. Patrick’s Day deals and freebies

Check out deals from Marie Callender, Einstein Bros., Friendly’s, Sonic and more in honor of St. Paddy’s Day, whether it’s a dollar off your purchase, BOGO breakfast entrees or even half of select items. IHOP and Stewart’s Shops have even given discounts to anyone wearing green.

Something you might not think of on St. Patrick’s Day: flowers! Following Valentine’s Day and with Mother’s Day still two months off, florists are probably a little desperate to make sales. We saw 15-25 percent off from Teleflora and 1-800-Flowers with coupon codes last year.

Gift cards

Eager to get customers spending during the slow shopping period between Presidents Day and Memorial Day, stores opened up the flow of gift cards in March. We saw a whopping seven to 14 times more Editors’ Choice deals last March than in February and April. For example, a Lowe’s $100 gift card went for $75 in March last year, but shot up to $90 the following month. We saw similar discounts on credit for Target, Starbucks, Staples, and Applebee’s, and Black Friday-level discounts on iTunes gift cards.

Most of the best deals came from eBay, where you should check out the vendors GiftCardMall, PayPal and Best Buy.

Ski and snowboarding equipment

March is the beginning of discount season on winter sporting gear. We routinely see high-end skis drop 20 percent heading into March. They might drop another 10 percent before hitting rock bottom in the summer, but now is a good time to buy while choices are still plentiful, and while you can even take advantage of late-season ski trips in certain areas. (Ski resort stays will also be heavily discounted this month.) Also, look to outdoors retailers like EVO and Paragon Sports.

Cold-weather clothing

Inventory, sizes and color options will be very limited; but if you see a coat, sweater or heavy wool pants that you like at a low price, grab it. Deals will disappear by April, when stores focus on moving their spring lines. For now, you can get outerwear and activewear from The North Face, Under Armour, Land’s End and Patagonia at stores, with discounts of up to 75 percent.

High-end fashion

To battle the midwinter lull and prepare for the more fashion-informal spring, high-end clothing retailers bring the deals in March. Charlotte Russe, Charles Tyrwhitt and Nordstrom all made our top stores of the month, with men’s shirts dropping to $30 from $100, women’s dresses down $26 to $8, and shoes $179 off. These looks will take you from the office to a nice night out.

Worst things to buy in March

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. Last year around the same time, we also saw excellent markdowns from a plethora of other retailers like Frederick’s of Hollywood, Maidenform, Aerie, Soma and Bare Necessities.

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. When we did see discounts last March, there was often a big catch: Either very few items were eligible for the markdown, or these flash sales lasted only a day. But if you follow your favorite retailers on social media, you might get early notice of these opportunities, possibly scoring up to 40 percent off at Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and more.

Android and Windows Phones

Conventional wisdom in the tech industry says to buy a new Android or Windows phone after new models are introduced at the Mobile World Congress, an important annual industry event in February. But our research shows the event does not affect phone deals that much. Many brands have their own release schedules — for example, Samsung announced it will launch its next Galaxy flagship model on March 29, though it will likely not be available in stores until at least mid-April. So don’t feel the need to grab a new phone this month.

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