The first day of spring is March 20, but spring deals are already blossoming. Bargain hunters should be on the lookout for discounts on various St. Patrick's Day stuff (think green), winter gear, running shoes, luggage, tax software, and frozen food. If that last one sounds a bit off, keep in mind that March is frozen food month.
We've rounded up some of the best deals, along with some exclusive tips from retail experts.
St. Patrick's Day Greens and Goods
"St. Patrick's Day is on March 17, and no retailer likes to be left out of the festivities," Courtney Jespersen of NerdWallet told NBC News. "In the past, jewelry stores have slashed prices of green necklaces, and department stores have offered deals on green clothing."
Amazon has created a St. Patrick's Day microsite where you can get "Prime" pricing on green apparel, accessories, and pet gear, along with lucky charms, toys, and festive foods. Amazon also has a section highlighting St. Patty's Day products under $20. Some of this assortment definitely couldn't fetch more than $20 no matter how hard a retailer tried, but there are some solid deals such as this Saint Patrick's Day Recipes book available on Kindle for just 99 cents.
Irish or not, restaurants and retailers get pretty into the shamrockin' holiday, and Benjamin Glaser, features editor with DealNews, suggests that plenty have celebratory deals on the horizon.
"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, a BOGO breakfast entree, or even half-off select items. IHOP and Stewart's Shops even gave discounts to anyone wearing green," said Glaser.
You can also save on an especially verdant bouquet for the leprechaun love in your life.
"Something you might not think of on St. Patrick's Day: Flowers," said Glaser. "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 to 25 percent off from Teleflora and 1-800-Flowers with coupon codes last year."
Early Winter Clearances and Running Shoes
"Record-crushing warm winter temps sets up March for early winter clearance of top brand outerwear from stores like REI, Patagonia, Columbia, Moosejaw and others offering 'outlet-like' prices ranging from 50 to 80 percent," said Brent Shelton, online shopping expert at FatWallet. "Shoppers will find wide-spread sales on quality thermals, pullovers, coats, boots and high performance outerwear, but note that the more popular styles and sizes sell out by mid-month."
Shoppers will also find deals on clothing and shoes more fitting for the warmer temperatures.
"Early spring shoppers can expect a savings range of 20 to 40 percent off top name-brand activewear tops, shorts, sweats and up to 50 percent off select athletic shoes (the best time of year to buy running shoes)," said Shelton. "Branded stores like Nike, Under Armour, Reebok all compete with sporting goods stores like Finishline, Footlocker, Eastbay and Dick's Sporting Goods."
Shelton adds that REI, Patagonia, Moosejaw, Bass Pro Shop, and Cabela's "all have multiple spring events featuring up to 30 percent off the latest hiking, climbing, fishing and camping styles."
"March is what's considered 'shoulder season' in travel terms, which is between vacation periods," said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot. "As inventory continues to stock up, retailers are looking to phase out their extra luggage. That means luggage prices go on sale at this time every year, targeting spring breakers and cruisers."
Glaser points to deals on the Samsonite 5-Piece Nested Luggage Set, the Travelers Club Charlott 20" Hardside Carry-On, and an eBags coupon. You should also check out JCPenney, which is touting 50 percent off select luggage when you spend $40 or more; and Macy's, which has slashed prices on luggage pieces such as the Tag Matrix Lightweight Hardside Spinner Luggage, retailing for $59.99, down from as much as $280, with free shipping.
Tax software saw some mighty deals in February, but as we get nearer to April, more are popping up.
At Staples, you can get up to $15 off select tax software, and also receive $35 off select Quicken titles with coupon 46059 when you purchase TurboTax. At Best Buy, save up to $15, plus get a $10 gift card when you buy a select edition of H&R Block tax software. Walmart is also slashing prices on tax software, and Office Depot is offering discounts and 20 percent off one qualifying item through March 4.
If you want to know how much you owe before you buy tax software, use a calculator like NerdWallet's Federal Tax Calculator to find out.
Frozen Food Month, and Other Food Holidays
Every month has its food holidays, but Glaser asserts that National Frozen Food Month "isn't one of those made-up events," and cites big name participators including Green Giant, Dole, Eggo, Jimmy Dean, Pepperidge Farms, Best Yet, Bob Evans, Safeway, and Tyson. So keep an eye out for discounts from these brands and grocery stores.
Jespersen suggests that consumers search for coupons throughout the month, and pay attention to "third-party aggregator sites, apps, and on social media."
Brands like Easy Home Meals, Amy's Kitchen, and Gordy's Market began generating hype around the freezer aisle festivities on Twitter in February, and Pricechopper published a list of relevant coupons for the occasion, with participation from a roster of sponsors including Nestle, Breyers, and Dole.
Shoppers may also want to tune into more specific national food holidays that fall in March. For instance, March 19 is National Poultry Day and March 20 is Natural Ravioli Day. To find immediate deals from brands, do a Twitter and/or Instagram hashtag search around each food holiday as the day gets nearer.