For students, back to school shopping is something that they look forward to when summer break draws to a close. But for parents who are on a tight budget, the idea is pretty far from being exciting.
Nationwide, parents plan to spend an average of $687.72 for back to school shopping, an 8% increase from last year’s, according to a survey from National Retail Federation.
That’s probably for one child alone. Imagine if you have more! Whew, that’s a lot of money. Good thing there’s a “Tax-Free Holiday” to take advantage of.
In case you don’t know what that is, here’s a little background:
“In New York, a statewide sales tax holiday was first enacted by the New York legislature in 1996, enabling the first tax-free week in January 1997. Local governments in New York were given the option of whether or not to participate; most declined. Since then, the initiative has been adopted by thirteen states. It commonly takes the form of tax-free weekend lasting Friday through Sunday, usually during a major shopping period for necessities, such as just before school starts. During that period, sales tax is not collected on selected items, such as clothing and school supplies. The items subject to the sales tax exemption may also be restricted by price (e.g., clothing up to $100), but consumers are free to buy unlimited quantities of the included items.” (Wikipedia)
To know which states are participating in this year’s Tax-Free weekend, visit this page.
Now, back to the main point of this article – shopping tips!
1. Plan ahead.
Each state has its own rules and regulations during the Tax-Free holiday. Search online for the full details of your state’s Tax-Free weekend event and plan your purchases around it.
2. Make a list.
Now that you know which product categories are included in your state’s Tax-Free Weekend event, it’s time to check the supplies you still have at home to know exactly what and how many you need. Check their backpacks, bedrooms and random drawers/storage for hidden supplies… then make the final list of school supplies you need to shop for.
3. Compare prices.
Use price comparison apps, check your Sunday paper and go through several stores online to find the best deals.
4. Use coupons.
To maximize your savings, use coupons on top of the tax-free items if your state permits. The use of coupons usually varies from one state to another. That’s why you need to do your research first before heading to the stores.
5. Be disciplined.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to your shopping habits. Even if it’s tax-free, you can still blow up your budget easily if you don’t shop wisely. Stick to your budget, follow your list and be disciplined about it.