Save Money on Back to School Shopping with Sales Tax Holidays

By Adam P. Newton, August 2, 2013, News, Save Money, Special Offers

Save Money on Back to School Shopping with Sales Tax HolidaysIt’s that time of year again – the kids are heading back to school, and they’re clamoring for new school supplies and new clothes. Parents, on the other hand, are stressing about the household budget and exactly how they’ll afford all these new products. Thankfully, several states have stepped into the gap to help families purchase those goods, as well as help retailers and small businesses. So, whether you’re a veteran of these sales tax holidays or a newbie that’s nervous about braving the hordes of shoppers, we want to give you a little advice on the process.

Know the Date

First of all, it’s important to know exactly when your state will be holding its sales tax holiday. You can’t save anything if you don’t know when the sale is happening. The folks at Kiplinger have compiled this helpful list of the states holding such events, when the sales are in effect, and what products you can save on as you shop.

Know the Sale Items

Once you’ve scheduled out time in your life to brave the malls and shopping center on the correct weekend, it’s important to keep in mind the items that you’ll be able to buy without sales tax. Typically, you’ll be able to purchase clothing, computers, and obvious school supplies without sales tax, but each state’s policies will be different.

For example, in Texas, you won’t be charged sales tax on any purchases of clothing, footwear, backpacks, and school supplies that are less than $100 per item. Virginia might be similar, but notice the price difference, as the sales tax exemption only applies to purchases of clothing and footwear that’s $100 per item or less and school supplies that are $20 or less per item. And in states like New Mexico, you’ll find the list expanded to include the purchase of computers and related hardware – clothing purchases must be $100 or less per item and school supplies should be $30 or less per item, while computers have a limit of $1,000 and computer hardware is limited to items $500 or less.

If you’re not sure what’s going to be on sale that weekend, the aforementioned Kiplinger article provides links to what each state will consider exempt from sales tax during its holiday weekend.

Know Where to Shop

Now that you’ve figured out when to shop and what you can buy, it’s time to figure out where you should go shopping. Whether you love “big box” department stores or local independent shops, you should plan out the location of each store you want to visit. This will help you develop a specific plan so that you can maximize the efficacy of the sales and optimize the time spent in each store. When developing this plan, it’s important to take into account any internal sales that a given store might have that complements the sales tax holiday.

For more ideas on how to save money when you’re shopping for clothing and school supplies so that your family can head back to school in style, we recommend this list of 12 strategies from Kiplinger. What are some of your favorite ideas for getting your family ready for the school year with the sales tax holidays?

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