Every month of the year, certain items are discounted due to overstock, holiday sales, or transitions from one season to the next. Here are the shopping highlights for February in Seattle-Tacoma area stores.
Of course, we think the best way to save money is not to spend it. But, when you need or want to, plan your spending to take advantage of the times of the year when what you buy is at the lowest possible price.
- Holidays and special events with shopping discounts and deals include National Frozen Foods Month, National Craft Month, “Pi” Day (3.14 aka March 14), and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). For more information holidays & special events this month, visit: March events and entertainment – Greater Seattle on the Cheap.
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Seasonal items to buy in March
Winter clothing and gear
Stores begin to deeply discount winter items to make way for spring merchandise. So, this is a good time to consider winter coats, boots, hats, and gloves. In addition, skis, snowboards, thermal garments, and related winter gear are discounted. As with other seasonal discounts, selection will be best early in the month and discounts will get higher towards the end of the month and into April as selection dwindles. Some (mostly) local stores to check out for winter gear include Alpine Hut, Ascent Outdoors, Columbia, evo, Filson, REI, Second Gear Sports, Sturtevants, and Wildernest.
Chocolates and candy
Chocolates and candy leftover from Valentine’s Day will be deeply discounted. But sweets are usually grabbed up quickly, so go very early in the month.
Jewelry and perfume
Valentine’s Day is past, but Mother’s Day and graduation is coming up. Since sales are lagging, you can find deals on jewelry, watches, and perfume if you want to shop in advance. Prices for popular gift items tends to rise when a special day draws near.
Next to December, March is the best month to buy gift cards. You can find deals such as $100 worth of gift cards at a 10% discount or a $25 bonus card. So, think ahead to birthdays, graduation gifts, or just as a gift for yourself for everyday needs, whether household purchases at a big box store or celebratory meal at a favorite restaurant.
February and March can be two of the best months to book a cruise depending on the location you desire. Cruise deals can be found, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Of course, the cruise industry is still in great flux, but you might be able to snag a great vacation if you want to take a risk and/or book well in advance. As with all “deals”, be sure to carefully read cancellation policies and other rules before you plunk down a deposit or pay for anything.
New products to buy in March
March is National Craft Month, so expect some stores and online retailers that sell art and craft supplies to offer deals and inspiration with new ideas and spring projects. In addition to retailers selling art & craft supplies, also check out yarn shops, bead shops, and fabric stores. Here are suggested stories in the Puget Sound region:
- Artful Touch
- Bead World
- Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames
- Daniel Smith
- Emerald City Fire Arts
- Pacific Fabrics
- Paper Hammer
- Shiga’s Imports (especially origami paper)
- University Bookstore
Barbecues and grill accessories
March is a good time to think ahead for Father’s Day and outdoor cooking in warmer, less rainy weather. So, check out deals on gas or charcoal barbecues, a portable grill for picnics or camping, and related supplies such as fuel. Look for deals on accessories, too, such as smoking woods, barbecue covers, long-handled utensils, gloves, fire starters, grill baskets for vegetables and fish, cleaning tools, a burger press, or any other tool to make outdoor cooking easy and fun.
Golf clubs and gear
Golf clubs, golf shoes, golf travel bags, and other golf accessories.
Get ready for spring cleaning by taking an inventory of your supplies and stocking up for the year when prices are low on chemicals, gloves, mops, and other cleaning supplies. Here are some of our tips for Spring Cleaning:
- Spring cleaning tasks that save you money
- Cheap and easy carpet stain removing solutions
- Frugal and effective housecleaning tips
- How I got rid of ants and saved $790
- WSU Extension can help you with many home & garden tasks. Learn how to choose healthier foods, care for plants and animals, conserve water, save money, test your soil, and other helpful information. WSU Extension programs are typically free or low-cost. You may be familiar with Extension programs if you’ve ever been to a county fair or a 4-H cooking, sewing, or robotics program, or gotten help from a Master Gardener. For your nearest extension location, visit: https://extension.wsu.edu/locations/.
March is a good month to buy new luggage, including duffel bags, carry-ons for air travel, wheeled luggage, “personal item” bags, and other travel accessories. Here are some considerations for buying luggage:
- Number of wheels. Many travelers prefer four-wheel luggage for maneuverability; make sure they spin 360 degrees. Two-wheel luggage is best if your primary use is for business or to walk along uneven city streets and over curbs.
- Wheel integrity. Whether you prefer two wheels or four, play with the wheels and make sure they’re firmly attached; screws are more long-lasting than rivets. And recessed wheels are less likely to get lopped off inadvertently.
- Metal zippers are sturdier and more difficult to break into than plastic zippers.
- Retracting handle. If the handle retracts, it should feel sturdy and smooth as you pull the bag. A handle that retracts completely into the bag is less likely to get damaged. And check how much space inside the bag is taken up by the handle.
- Hard or soft? This is mostly a personal preference. A hard-sided bag offers more protection and security, while a soft bag can be over-stuffed when needed. Hard-sided bags tend to weigh more than soft materials.
- Bag size. Measure the bag to ensure it meets regulations for the airlines you travel frequently. Generally, the domestic carry-on size is a 22-inch bag, or a total of 45 linear inches (9-by-14-by-22 inches) including wheels if they are not recessed. But the requirements vary from one airline to another and the rules for international travel are different–carry-on sizes are often smaller for international carriers.
It’s Frozen Food Month, so if you have freezer space, it’s a good time to stock up on foods you know your family eats regularly. It might come as no surprise that Clarence Birdseye got the idea for preparing commercially frozen foods when he worked in the Arctic and saw how the native people (Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut) kept their fish fresh by freezing quickly in the cold northern climate. He experimented with the process and introduced frozen foods to the public around 1930. Of course, you know the rest of the story.
Before you shop for frozen foods, look for digital and paper coupons. Bone up on couponing and money-saving techniques in this ultimate couponing guide, plus this couponing advice for men only. And, check out this source for coupons as well as advice on saving money without coupons.
As for what frozen foods to buy in March, here are some quick recipe ideas using frozen foods:
- Pasta primavera: Simmer your favorite frozen vegetables (such as corn, carrots, broccoli, spinach, or a California or Italian blend) with marinara sauce (bottled or homemade). Serve over cooked spaghetti or pasta with some grated Parmesan cheese. If you wish, heat frozen meatballs or shrimp in the sauce as well.
- Stir-fry over rice: Stir-fry meat or fish (such as boneless chicken, ground beef, shrimp, or seafood blend), frozen stir-fry vegetables, and stir-fry sauce (bottled or homemade–soy sauce “jazzed up” with garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and sugar to taste). Serve over rice.
- Fried rice or quinoa: Cook scrambled eggs in a small amount of oil or butter, add frozen vegetables (peas and carrots are common, but any favorites will do), and stir-fry sauce (bottled or homemade) and heat to simmer. Tossed with cooked rice or quinoa. You can also add some cooked meat with the vegetables–Chinese sausage, diced chicken, and shrimp are classics.
- Vegetable Soup (with or without protein): Simmer cooked meat, fish or other protein (chicken, meatballs, sausage, shrimp, edamame, diced tofu, etc.) with frozen mixed vegetables, frozen chopped spinach, frozen potatoes, broth or water to cover. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Breakfast Smoothies: frozen fruit (such as berries or peaches), plain or fruit yogurt, and sweetener to taste blended until smooth.
Tips for frugal living
We think one of the best ways to save money is to have an on-going “wish list”—items you would like to buy, but don’t urgently need. By putting it on a list for future purchase avoids impulse buys–buying from “want” rather than “need”. A wish list also reminds you to keep an eye out for the item, noting features and prices. If you are familiar with what’s available, then you will know a good deal when you see it.
The funny thing is, sometimes when you find a deal for an item on your wish list, you realize you don’t really need the item–you’ve made do without it or re-purposed something else that fulfilled the need.
Upcoming shopping & saving events
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But wait, there’s more!
- Here’s a list of free things to do in March.
- Find a complete list of affordable March events and entertainment.
- Find discount tickets to events on our half-price tickets page.
- Here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- Find free and cheap things to do every day on the Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Visit the Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page and choose from a menu of free and cheap activities in the Puget Sound region.
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