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The Coupon Lady: Spring cleaning for Lent and finding savings in March

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My husband has been in Afghanistan for nearly a month now. And just a week ago, we discovered my father’s illness is terminal. My husband and I originally asked my father to stay with us for a while during my husband’s absence, but now we realize the move will be permanent so I can be his primary caregiver.

Because of dad’s arrival, we have had to figure out how to combine two households’ worth of goods into one place. Although the majority of his items went into storage, we had to sacrifice the space of our master bedroom and guest room. My house is feeling a bit cluttered lately, much to my dismay.

As many Christians know, Lent began Feb. 13. Although I’ve never really participated in Lent before, I came across a great idea I wanted to share with all of you.

Instead of giving up the usual items like chocolate, sodas or red meat, I came across an idea on Facebook to declutter your life for 40 days. Trash, donate or sell (if you must) 40 boxes or bags of items in 40 days. This was a perfect idea for me, so I’m jumping right in. So far I’ve tackled my daughter’s room and toys and then my office.

My advice is to do 15 minutes of spot cleaning. Do it one drawer at a time.

In savings news, according to All You magazine, March is the best time to buy winter clothing. Spring lines are coming in, so now is the time to snag a new coat for next winter without paying a hefty price tag. If you have kids, it’s easy to provide for next year by buying a size up from their current size. It will save you time and money.

Right now is the time to put away Valentine’s décor for next year. Wreaths, candle sets, tablecloths, decorations, and even Wilton’s baking supplies are at perfect prices to stock up on right now. Remember, red and white decorations can be used again for Fourth of July celebrations, so don’t ignore those red sprinkles at 50 percent to 75 percent off.

There are two major holidays in March this year. St. Patrick’s Day falls on March 17, so watch for sales on all the traditional foods such as corned beef, potatoes, cabbage and other Irish-themed items.

Easter falls on March 31. Stores should be carrying specials on ham, eggs, asparagus, horseradish, coconuts, butter, olive oil, food coloring and dyes.

March is frozen food month. Look for specials on frozen fruits and vegetables (bagged and boxed), frozen meals, waffles and ice cream.

Traditionally, March is time for some grocery chains to offer “fill a bag” promotions on meats, so keep a look out at your local grocery stores. Look to novelty ice cream items for some closeout deals as grocers put winter leftovers on clearance to get ready for new stock.

March is the spring cleaning month, so we should see some great deals on cleaners and household items. If the coupon trends continue on the same path as last year, we should see lots of coupons on cleaning items that will correspond with the sales so this will be a great time to stock up on these items.

March is also National Nutrition Month and National Peanut Month.

We will start to see the first of the spring and early summer crops. This includes vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, fennel, green garlic, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, peas, radishes and spinach. Fruits include grapefruit (from Florida), lemons, limes, oranges, rhubarb, strawberries (also from Florida) and tangerines.

As you begin your spring cleaning projects, I highly recommend you check expiration dates in your pantry and toss any expired items. This might be a great time to toss those old condiments and spices.

Keep an eye out for coupon books in the stores, especially with spring cleaning and Easter themes.


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