Discounts that appear only every four years must be hard to beat, right?
Maybe. Or, maybe not.
Here’s what you need to know about the sales and deals you’ll inevitably see on leap day, Feb. 29.
Hop into discounts
Leap day adds an extra day to the shopping calendar, and marketers will use every holiday as an excuse to host another sale, says Jennifer Burton, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Tampa.
After all, retailers “have to give customers a reason to leave work or leave their homes and go pick out some new stuff,” Burton says.
Marketers’ favorite leap day promotions include 29% off an order, free shipping over $29 or a selection of items priced at — you guessed it — $29. Other deals focus on those who have leap day birthdays.
“They play up that you don’t get to celebrate your ‘true’ birthday but once every four years, and they hope you bring friends in your group that will end up bringing in a lot of business,” Dan Rice, associate professor of marketing at Louisiana State University, said in an email.
Skip the stuff you don’t need
But another day and another sale doesn’t mean you should necessarily spring for everything just because it’s 29% off. Keep your budget top of mind.
“I think with any sale, consumers should stay grounded,” Rice said.
He recommends comparing prices between retailers and finding the regular selling price so you know the true value of the deal. And, as always, don’t spend beyond your means .
Savvy shoppers will discover that some deals will be worthwhile, especially if you can save money on something you’ve already been wanting. For example, at this time of the year, you can likely expect discounts on winter clearance inventory, according to Janell Townsend, a professor and chair of marketing at Oakland University.
Travel companies and restaurant chains like to join in on the quasi-holiday celebration, too.
Townsend says you’ll generally see leap day deals at big companies that have the latitude to be creative with their promotions, as well as smaller companies with a whimsical niche.
Jump into leap day 2020 deals
Here’s a sample of the offers you can get in honor of leap day 2020. Take advantage of the ones you like and leapfrog (sorry, we had to) over the ones you don’t.
- Expedia.com: Save up to 40% on hotels and activities at Expedia.com during the Spring Savings sale. It’s happening now and runs through 11:59 p.m. Pacific time March 1.
- Great Wolf Lodge: On Feb. 29, use code LEAPYEAR to book a stay at any of the 17 U.S.-based Great Wolf Lodge locations with rates starting at $29 per person (plus taxes and fees). The offer is good on a Family Suite for stays Sunday through Thursday from April 13 through May 21 (minimum of two guests per room).
- Hotels.com: Save 29% or more, plus use code LEAPYEAR2020 to get an extra 8% off your booking when you stay between 1 and 28 nights and travel by May 24. Exclusions apply. The offer ends at 11:59 p.m. Mountain time March 1.
- Krispy Kreme: On Feb. 29, health professionals and parents of leap day babies within 10 miles of participating shops can tag @KrispyKreme on Instagram or Twitter with #KrispyKremeSpecialDelivery to tell about their own “special delivery” for a shot at a free delivery of five dozen original glazed doughnuts, while supplies last.
- Olive Garden: Score four free Dolcinis if you’re celebrating a leap day birthday. Otherwise, get your first Take Home entree for $2.29 (down from $5) with purchase of an entree in-restaurant.
- Popeyes: Purchase a chicken sandwich combo from Popeyes (with a minimum order of $15) through Postmates between now and Feb. 28 and get a code to redeem a free chicken sandwich on Feb. 29.
- 7-Eleven: On leap day, purchase whole pizzas for $2.29 each at participating stores, while supplies last. Order $2.29 whole pizzas for delivery through the 7NOW delivery app.
See each business for full redemption details, exclusions and instructions. We expect more deals will be announced throughout leap day itself.
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Courtney Jespersen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @CourtneyNerd.