10 Things You Need to Know about Saving in March

Putting money in a piggy bank.

March: Comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, which is an easy way to remember that you'll likely find the best savings of the year on lamb this month in the grocery store — I'm not lyin'.

1. March Is National Frozen Food Month

Frozen foods can be a good value year-round, particularly if you pair manufacturer coupons with in-store specials, and during National Frozen Food month, both of those money-savers should be as plentiful as kernels of corn in a bag of frozen succotash.

And did you know that frozen fruits and vegetables are often times nutritionally superior to fresh? Most produce is flash frozen at the peak of perfection and near where it's harvested; fresh produce, on the other hand, travels on average 1,500 miles from the farm to the grocery store, a two-week trip during which it can lose nearly half of its nutritional value. That's a chilly thought.

2. March 9: Use Your Extra Hour of Daylight to Get Active

Daylight saving time begins March 9. Use this extra hour of daylight to start a regular routine of walking, jogging, biking or other exercise. According to the American Heart Association, physically active people save $500 a year in health care costs. That's an amount worth losing an hour of sleep over.

3. Avoid Spring Break Destinations for Last-Minute Travel

Places like Southern California, Lake Havasu, the Caribbean and Florida are thumping this month, but the rest of the country — and world — is still your playground. Most of the United States and Europe are in what's called "shoulder season," meaning the in-between period between off-season and tourist season.

This is often an opportune time to visit, because the weather is better but the prices haven't peaked yet. And if you haven't already done so, start researching summer vacation plans now and setting aside some extra cash to pay for them.

4. Speaking of Travel, Shop for New Luggage This Month

March is not one of the best months for finding deals in the stores, but you might score a bargain on luggage and other travel gear, since we're now between holiday travel and summer vacation seasons.

Sports and recreational equipment, including golf clubs, bicycles, camping gear and sports apparel, is sometimes marked down to make room for newly arriving spring inventory. And, of course, it's a buyer's market now for anyone with the foresight to buy a snow shovel, snow blower or parka for next winter, which will be here before you know it.

5. March 17: Stock Up on St. Patrick's Day Specials

Keep an eye open at the grocery store for best-of-the-year prices on corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. Corned beef freezes well and, if stored properly, potatoes and cabbage can last for several weeks.

A special cheapskate tip: Often times stores will mark down their remaining supply of corned beef even more once St. Patrick's Day is over. I buy a couple extra and freeze them for a year-long supply of homemade lunch meat and corned beef hash.

6. Some Irish Words of Money Wisdom

I've always admired the Irish for their way with both words and money. Like the old Irish proverbs "If you buy what you don't need you might have to sell what you do," and "A fool's money is not long in his pocket."

Then there's this one from the famous Irish soccer player George Best: "I spent 90 percent of my money on woman and drink. The rest I wasted."

7. March 20: First Day of Spring, But Don't Buy Any Spring Cleaning Products

Most things around the house can be cleaned with simple, inexpensive and eco-friendly products, such as baking soda, vinegar and plain old water. Spring cleaning is a great chance to get rid of unwanted items by donating them to a charity or selling them for some extra cash.

And whatever you do, don't forget to clean the dust bunnies off the coils under your refrigerator: That alone can reduce the electrical usage of that appliance by 5 percent or more.

8. Buy Rock Salt Now for Inexpensive Summer Weed Control

With the last snows of winter hopefully behind us, home improvement and hardware stores usually sell their remaining supplies of rock salt for next to nothing. After all, who needs rock salt once the warm weather arrives?

Well, cheapskate gardeners and landscapers do, that's who. Just sprinkle rock salt on gravel driveways, mulched or gravel garden paths, and other places where you want to prevent weed growth for season-long weed control. Careful, though, not to place it around plants you want to survive.

9. Have a Heart, Support the American Red Cross

I've always found that the best money I spend most years is the money I donate to charities. March is American Red Cross month, a chance to support and celebrate one of my favorite charities. I hope you'll consider making a donation to ARC this month. And if you can't afford to open up your checkbook, open up a vein instead and donate blood at a local Red Cross blood center.

This harsh winter has increased the need for blood and decreased the supply, with people being unable to get out and donate, so ARC is currently experiencing a severe blood shortage. There are also tons of rewarding volunteer opportunities available through the American Red Cross. Find out more on its website: www.redcross.org.

10. Start Plants Indoors from Seed

Whether it's annuals for flower beds or herbs for cooking, March is a great time to get a jump on that spring garden. Not only will this save money because you won't have to buy pricey seedlings in May, but it also provides a chance to try "succession planting."

That's when you start some veggies from seed indoors now and then plant more of the same seeds outdoors once the ground thaws. That way you'll have the same fresh produce in harvest at multiple times this summer.

March: It's ironic that March 9 is National Panic Day, just two days after National Salesperson Day. Go figure.

This article was contributed by Jeff Yeager, expert contributor for GOBankingRates.com and host of "The Cheap Life." GOBankingRates is a leading consumer banking and personal finance website that specializes in connecting consumers with the best interest rates nationwide.

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