The following is from the Better Business Bureau:
Annual Sales Tax Holiday runs Aug. 19 – 21
This weekend, stores will be full of savvy customers looking to save big on back-to-school gear and more. The 13th annual Sales Tax Holiday, or Tax-Free Weekend, begins Friday and runs until Sunday.
You can expect to save approximately $8 for every $100 you spend on most clothing, footwear and school supplies priced less than $100. A full list of items that qualify can be found on the Texas Comptroller's website.
According to Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, Texas expects shoppers to save $62.1 million this weekend on tax-exempt items. Many stores will be open extended hours and offer additional back-to-school sales to help consumers take advantage of this once-a-year tax-free event.
However, with stores offering such great deals on top of the tax savings, it's easy to end up taking home items you don't need or going much further over budget than you would have if you'd just paid the sales tax.
Better Business Bureau suggests you avoid such pitfalls by planning ahead, sticking to a budget and paying close attention to advertisements to make the most of this weekend's deals.
Safe shopping tips:
- Take inventory. Before hitting the stores, take inventory of items you already have. You may have leftover supplies from the previous school year. Look around the house for reusable items such as backpacks, lunchboxes, calculators and rulers.
- Set a budget. Decide how much you are willing to spend per person a few days in advance. Include children in the process of creating the budget to teach them responsible money management.
- · "Back-to-School Sale" doesn't mean tax-free. Retail stores may advertise back-to-school sales because they know consumers are buying items for the upcoming school year. Certain discounts will still have taxes applied to them unless the item appears on the state comptroller's tax-free list.
- Shop with a list. After taking inventory, create a shopping list and stick to it. This will help you stick to your budget, avoid costly impulse purchases and ensure nothing is forgotten.
- Know what your child's school allows. Schools will often provide parents with a list of required items for the school year which can help determine what you need to purchase. These lists are also available at many retail stores and on school websites. Additionally, many schools have specific dress codes, so keep these restrictions in mind before spending money on clothes the school may not allow.
- Check for refund and exchange policies. Be sure you can exchange or return items purchased during this time period. Keep in mind some items may be non-refundable or have restocking fees associated with a return.