Now that March is upon us, the stores are starting to bring out their summer clothes. They need to clear out all that winter stuff to make room for the swimsuits, flip flops and tank tops that we're supposed to start buying. The winter stuff is about to go on a really good sale.
Take advantage of this end of season markdown to prepare for next winter. Early in March every year, I take inventory of my winter supplies: coats, hats, gloves, long underwear, scarves, sweaters, thick socks and warm, waterproof boots. I make a list of all of the items I will need for next year.
I hit the thrift stores and check the clearance racks. Some thrift stores have bag sales on end of season merchandise and I can supply most of next year's needs for $10.
If I can't get everything on my list at thrift stores, I'll visit a couple of department stores. Often the winter items will already be marked down 50% off or more. You can find really great items during this time. Last year, I bought Trucker a pair of really nice hiking boots marked down from $120 to $19.95. By planning ahead, I was able to get a boots of a quality that I could not usually afford.
Also, be on the lookout for comforters and blankets on sale. You could even knock out some of your gift giving for the next year.