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Most consumers won't associate March with big savings, but that's actually what makes it a good time to buy a variety of products. We won't see the amount of deals Black Friday and Cyber Monday spew, but prices will rival the holiday season...clearance is clearance. Some standout discounts from March 2013 included up to 80% off clearance at Kohl's, $10 off $50 purchases at Lowe's and $10 off $25+ sale/clearance purchases at Macy's. Last March, retail dollar volume growth was up 3.9% year-over-year (First Data) and retailers are rooting for similar growth in 2014, especially with a recurring polar vortex that has 2/3 of the country immobilized. Cabin fever has a knack for flushing out consumer spending.
As retailers compete for a piece of our tax returns, smart shoppers will seek out hidden savings to add on, such as FatWallet's Spring Fashion Deals "kick-off" and the annual (and quite popular) March Mania Cash Back Sale, which features more than 100 retailers increasing cash back from March 18 through the 31st. Add cash back to these deal categories to make the most out of March:
Electronics Deals: Price drops on electronics continues all through March as new products slowly start to hit tech retailer inventories. Last March, Amazon, Newegg and Best Buy ranked as the 3 most popular stores on FatWallet, featuring good laptops in the $300-500 range and steep discounts on smaller gadgets/electronics. This year we expect the trend to sway a bit towards tablet deals (last year's models), bluetooth products (speakers, headphones and accessories), and wireless TV accessories like Roku 3/2HD, HD-TV antennas, soundbars and even smart TVs as more people look to cut the cable cord this year. This will be an excellent month to invest in free HD equipment (or DIY).
Later in the month, expect HDTV deals to light up the court making for an excellent time to upgrade for the Final Four and Opening Day. UPDATE 3/4: Apparently the new Apple TV and event rumors for near future are just that, rumors...according to Jay Yarow from BusinessInsider, Apple insider Jim Dalrymple shot it down, but confirmed Apple Store is indeed offering a sale of $25 gift card with Apple TV (which in itself is a deal that would be apt to spur on a rumor...at least we weren't the only ones duped :).
Winter Clothing Clearance: Top Brand outerwear can be found 50-80% off for quality thermals, pullovers, coats, boots and high performance gloves. Last year, big retailers offered add-on discounts to already marked down winter apparel (Kohl's offered Extra 30% off & Free Shipping for Kohl's Card Holders + $10 Kohl's Cash for Every $50 Spent). Expect the same kind of stackable discounts and look for cash back (many double cash back) from stores like REI, Patagonia, North Face and Moosejaw to help sweeten the savings. Shop early, as this batch of clothing clearance has been picked through once already.
Winter Sports Equipment: Annual ski/snowboard equipment and accessories clearance heats up as the snow melts. Bicycles and accessories will be on clearance (2013 models) as cyclists start to ponder upgrading to newer models for spring and summer activities. Stores like the Sports Authority and Dick's Sports will feature NFL gear during pre-draft sales, MLB merchandise hits special pricing for opening day celebrations and, "oh the madness", as collegiate sportswear brings a mix of timely offers on hoodies, hats and jerseys. Get those brackets ready!
Travel Deals: All major travel sites will push last minute Spring Break packages and travel deals, hotel discounts and car rental specials. Proactive summer vacation bookers will take advantage of March travel deals which bring better options for location, seat selection and lucrative early-bird specials (book now for free WiFi). Plus, Luggage deals are aplenty this month and many are stackable with the clearance add-on savings, and cash back sales.
For those of you who haven't taken advantage of the money you're owed, you'll find Tax Software Deals right up to the April 15 deadline. The majority of software, whether at home or online, can be found for 50% off, and sometimes for free (with filing charges). For a wealth of insider tax tips, visit the FatWallet Tax Season Tips Roundup or our heady Finance forum where smart people share tactics on deductions, software and review options for personal and small business filing situations. BONUS: Tax time = no better time to buy Office Supplies–stock up on school supply basics while you're shopping, too!
Spring Fashion: Throughout March, retailers replace shrinking winter apparel inventory with spring styles, flaunting sales to get your attention. These early sales may not always bring clearance-like prices, but they assure shoppers the styles, colors and sizes that get worn more than once. Some of the better deals this month will come from Running Shoe deals from stores like FinishLine, New Balance Outlet and Nike, that featured deep clearance discounts of 50% or more and free shipping offers with qualified purchases last year. They'll run with it again!
You can find Brent on Google+ and tweeting about suds and other substance @brentsheltonnow.
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