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TheStreet Open House

Three Big Items To Buy Now

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- March can take all of its spring optimism and stuff it. For anyone thinking about spending money this month, there are gray skies ahead.

Consumers shifting from light-jacket weather one day to parkas and thermal pants the next are already going through enough upheaval without commodities prices, interest rates and general economic uncertainty raining on their pleasant skip to the store. Since January, the cost of that trip has risen 42 cents per gallon to $3.52, a full 77 cents more than the same end-of-season outing last year.

Meanwhile, the World Bank's Food Price Index shot up 15% within the past year as wheat prices more than doubled and sugar, corn and cooking oil costs all increased, increasing U.S. food prices by 1.5%, according to the Consumer Price Index. It also became costlier to own a home within the past year, as the National Association of Realtors saw a nearly $4,000 surge in average existing home prices last year.

Though all of these costs are on the upswing, shoppers are still increasingly eager to end their hibernation; the Consumer Confidence Index rose 5.6 points after an increase in January. Maybe they already know they're ahead of the curve and getting a good deal while they can.

TheStreet took a look at the March marketplace and found six areas where consumers should spend before March spring subsides and cold economic reality sets in:

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