Smart Buying

Best and Worst Buys of March

Seasonal items are on sale, but don't expect to find a deal on a vacuum to help with your spring cleaning.

Did you miss me? In case you didn’t notice, I’ve been on maternity leave the past three months. I’m sure in that time you probably haven’t been able to make a single purchasing decision without my monthly best and worst buys guide, right?

Here’s what you can expect to find on sale in March – and what you should wait a little longer to buy, according to dealnews.com, which analyzes deals from past years to predict what will be discounted this year.

What’s on sale this month ...

Winter apparel and gear. In parts of the country where it already feels like spring, it’s hard to even think about buying bulky coats. But now is the time to find deals. I found North Face jackets for my kids marked down 40% at Moosejaw.com (plus another 10% as part of its annual Supersale). Also check EMS, REI, Altrec, Backwoods and Backcountry for sales.

Chocolate. Look for deals on Valentine’s candy, especially high-end treats from stores such as Godiva.

Luggage. If you’re planning to travel for spring break or already are thinking about your summer vacation, now is a good time to buy luggage for your trip. Expect to see discounts at Walmart, eBags, Macy’s and Sears, which had sales in March last year, according to dealnews.com.

Frozen foods. March is National Frozen Foods Month, so you can expect to see discounts from frozen food brands. It might be a good time to stock up, if you have room in your freezer.

2011 TV models. You might see discounts on 2011 models because Samsung’s 2012 CES TVs are expected to hit stores later this month.

Wait longer to buy ...

Vacuums. You better hope your current vacuum holds out through spring cleaning because the best time to buy a new one is in November -- not in the spring (even though some resources say April is the best time to buy).

Gym memberships. The New Year’s promotional rates have dried up by now and the summer sales are still months away, so don’t expect to find a good deal on a gym membership now.

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