TYLER – Parents are expected to spend about $684.79 per child on back-to-school clothes and supplies in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. In anticipation of the back-to-school crunch, Texas offers a “sales tax holiday,” or tax-free weekend, on qualified school supply purchases each August. In 2018, the sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 am on Friday, August 10, and runs through Sunday, August 12.
Before you dive into buying new clothes and supplies, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has valuable tips for making the most out of your back-to-school shopping this tax-free weekend.
This weekend, shoppers can buy most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks (sold for less than $100) tax free from a Texas store or from an online or catalog seller doing business in Texas. Some items which are not eligible are:
items sold for $100 or more
clothing subscription boxes
specially-designed athletic activity or protective-use clothing or footwear
clothing or footwear rentals, alterations (including embroidery) and cleaning services
items used to make or repair clothing, such as fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, snaps, hooks and zippers
jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and other accessories
To help save time and money, BBB encourages families to consider the following tips as they prepare for back-to-school shopping:
Make a list. Even if you don’t have a school supply list yet, you can still purchase other items like school clothing and in-class school essentials like pens, notebooks, and backpacks. Make a list for each child, but start by “shopping at home” for items that you may already have left over from last year. For some items, it’s worth spending a bit more (a high-quality backpack will last for years).
Create a budget. Do a quick price search online for the items on your list and add them all up. Be sure to clip coupons, and make note of discount codes and any cash-back or rebate programs. If your goal is to reduce spending, now is the time to decide how much you want to cut. Of course, shopping on this tax-free weekend will help minimize that budget.
Know the difference between “Back-to-School Sale” and tax-free items. 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 qualifies.
Sign up for email alerts at your favorite stores. Monitoring pricing early on is key to finding good deals on quality products. Many sites will have an informed community of savvy shoppers on their blog or in their forums who willingly share deals, exclusive coupons, rebates and insider information on where and when to find the best prices and products. These alerts will assure you don’t miss out on the hottest items and limited opportunities.
Take advantage of discounts. Many stores offer student and teacher discounts on hot items like laptops and uniforms. Retailers will try to make room for fall fashion and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had if you do a little research.
Check the refund and exchange policies. Be sure you can exchange or return items that are purchased during this time. Keep in mind, some items may be non-refundable or have restocking fees associated with a return.