How to Save During the Spring Deal Drought in March and April

Use cash back apps and shop open-box to pay less even when there aren't many sales.
Woman looks confused while shopping online on phone.

We here at DealNews understand that some times of year are better for scoring discounts than others (ahem, Black Friday). But even when major holidays aren't on the horizon, you can typically find decent offers every month, as long as you know the best items to shop.

When it comes to March and April, though, it seems like a lot of savings dry up. Major shopping holidays like Presidents' Day have just passed and Memorial Day is still several weeks away, which means shoppers may find themselves in a sort of spring deal desert. Keep reading to learn how to navigate these lean shopping times and still save.

Is There Really a Deal Drought in March and April?

Yes, Deals Decrease in the Spring

We do tend to see fewer deals in March and April compared to most other months. It's not that people are shopping less, but the easy opportunities for stores to offer discounts — and events that shoppers are familiar with — drop off sharply.

For example, February has Presidents' Day, when stores offer significant savings in several categories. They include the following:

  • Major appliances
  • Mattresses
  • Winter clothing
  • Furniture
  • Electronics
  • Home goods
Even outside of Presidents' Day, February features products that can potentially see deals, like outdoor items and humidifiers.

But after Presidents' Day, the next big shopping holiday isn't until May, when we have Memorial Day. That's the next best time to buy big-ticket items, like mattresses and major appliances. But what if you need to shop before then?

You Can Still Save on Certain Items

The good news is that you can still find deals in March and April. Your savings will just depend on what you're shopping for and where you're looking. Safe bets in March include St. Patrick's Day sales, though there aren't many, as well as travel gear, winter clothing, and even winter sports gear.

SEE ALSO: The Best Things to Buy Every Month of the Year in 2023

As for what to buy in April, that's when we typically start to see discounts on spring apparel, garden gear, and home improvement supplies. It's also a good time to look for clearance Easter goodies, as long as the holiday falls during this month. That said, even when Easter is in March, you can still expect to find clearance goodies — they'll just be available a month sooner!

Man shops on laptop at home with credit card.

How to Save During a Deal Drought

You can save even when there isn't a big sale event going on. Check out the following tips, and combine them where you can to stack even more savings!

Shop Open-Box Products

Consumers may consider shopping open-box more for electronics, but the truth is that a variety of retailers carry so-called "open-box" items. For example, if you want to shop at Wayfair, you can do the following:

  1. Search "open box" and see all the products that pop up
  2. Look at the open-box price, which may be a range depending on the item
  3. Click on an item you're interested in and see how much purchasing it new would cost
Wayfair also tells you what "open box" means to them. Essentially, they consider these items to be in like-new condition, and their returns department has inspected them. The products may have minor cosmetic imperfections and may have seen limited use, but they've been prepped for resale.

You can search electronics stores for open-box items, as well. In fact, Best Buy has an entire page devoted to outlet deals, which include open-box items among other savings.

Compare Prices by Searching Images With Google

Most of us are probably familiar with using Google Images to find items, but did you know you can use the company's image-search capabilities to score cheaper products? When you come across an item you're interested in purchasing online, perform a Google image search on the product picture to see if another website with a cheaper price comes up. On the Chrome desktop browser, for instance, you can see the different shopping options by right-clicking on an image and selecting "Search Image with Google."

Be careful with this method, though, as some images may look similar but be different products. Additionally, you may end up finding that the image search leads to a less-than-reputable website. So before adding a product to your cart and giving away your payment info, vet the site thoroughly.

Clear Out Your Cookies

Clearing out your cookies may or may not prove useful. But it could help in response to a tactic some stores use called dynamic pricing. One way retailers practice this is by adapting prices based on how much a customer has purchased from the business in the past, according to the commerce platform provider Lightspeed.

It can be harder to find deals in March and April due to the lack of big sale events like Presidents' Day or Memorial Day.

It can be difficult to tell if a retailer is implementing dynamic pricing without using an incognito browser. But if you think the an item's price is too high, it's worth trying the clearing-cookies method. Clear them out by going to your browser settings, and consider trying an incognito browser to tell if you're seeing the same prices, or if the retailer shows lower costs for those they believe to be new customers.

Use Cash Back Apps and Extensions

Using cash back tools is great whenever you shop, honestly. Sites like Rakuten are good for shopping a variety of online stores, while companies like Ibotta and Checkout 51 have apps you can use for cash back on groceries and gas, among other items. Apps like Upside are also good for cash back on gas, as well as extra savings when dining out at select restaurants.

Before making a purchase, check the cash back rates to make sure you're using the best one if shopping online. And if you're uploading a receipt after the fact, consider doubling up if possible to stack your cash back.

Try the Abandoned Cart Trick

The abandoned cart trick is an oldie but it may still be a goodie, at least at some places. If you're eyeing an item you don't want to pay full price for, consider adding it to your cart and then exiting the site. There's a chance the retailer will email you an offer for a small discount once they see you've abandoned your cart.

SEE ALSO: 5 Helpful Ways to Combat Grocery Store Food Shortages

If this happens, know that the savings will usually be in the realm of 10%-15% off, maybe 20% off at most. But there's no guarantee. Instead, some retailers just email a reminder to finish checking out before your product is sold out entirely.

Track Product Prices With Google

Some sites offer the ability to track prices via Google now. Here's what you can do to take advantage:

  1. When you're on a product page, look for the little bell and plus sign in the URL bar
  2. Click it to add the product to your item tracking list
  3. Receive a notification when Google encounters a price drop at a supported site
  4. Quickly shop the item and snag it before the price goes back up, or it sells out

If that doesn't work for you, try using the Chrome browser app on your mobile device. Search for a product via Google Shopping, select the item you're interested in, and look for a "Track Price" toggle on the page, so you can get notified when the item's price drops.

Join Store Loyalty Programs

Joining retailer loyalty or rewards programs is particularly helpful if you're getting ready to place an online order but haven't done so yet. Many retailers now offer a discount for signing up for their programs, like 15% off your first purchase. Don't sign up until you're ready — or nearly ready — to place the order, though. Sometimes these offers are limited-time deals, which means you may have to rush to put together an order if you don't plan efficiently.

Want to save when deals aren't available? Use cash back apps when you can, and sign up for loyalty programs before you buy.

Consider Bidding at Greentoe

Greentoe is a site that allows you to "name your price" on electronic items such as the following:

  • Photography equipment
  • TVs
  • Home theater equipment
  • Appliances
You can also find items in categories like furniture, watches, air purifiers, and optics. If you're in the market for these pricey items, it's worth checking out.

On Greentoe's How It Works page, there's a video you can watch, as well as a summary of the process. Essentially, users name their price for a product, then Greentoe notifies certified retailers. According to the site, if your offer is accepted, the retailer will ship directly to you.

The key thing to remember with this site is that you have to make realistic offers. You're probably not going to score a Nintendo Switch Lite for a nickel. But can you snag one for $150? It's quite possible — and worth a try, especially if you're shopping outside of holidays like Black Friday.

Check Milled for Coupons and Sales

Sure, you could sign up for tons of different email newsletters, so you'll never miss a sale or special discount at a retailer. Or you could check out Milled. This website allows you to search emails from brands to find discount codes, sales, and other offers to take advantage of. You can search brands or even keywords and narrow your focus to a particular time frame. At the time of this writing, a search for "colourpop" yielded results from March 3-9 and included emails that highlighted their Last Call "up to 80% off" sale.

SEE ALSO: 25 Great Ways to Find Deals on Popular Products

If you want to keep your inbox clutter-free, this is an excellent way to do so, since you can still find sales you might be interested in. And if you're on the fence about signing up for emails from a particular brand, searching for them on Milled can also provide you with a clear picture of how often they'll send you emails. That gives you yet another way to keep the clutter under control.

Readers, what are your best tips for navigating a deal drought? Let us know in the comments below!

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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