Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Save On School Supplies: Tax Free Holidays, Thrifting, & More

 I want a fresh pack of crayons and a blank sheet of drawing paper. Now.

If you live in one of the 16 states that offer a "Tax Free Holiday" (or Tax Free Week/Weekends) you may be able to do your school supply shopping tax free. For everyone else, there's still plenty of savings to reap this time of year. This is a good time to restock the kids or the office with supplies.

Here are a few tips on how to reap maximum savings, followed by a complete Tax Free Holiday guide.

1. Bring a List
Without the list you'll add a bunch of crap you don't need and forget the rest. When you get home without necessary supplies after braving the crowds you'll be a volcano of rage that takes out all around you like Vesuvius decimated Pompeii. Don't risk it.

2. Buy in Bulk
Buy everything you need while it's cheap and tax free. Get double savings by saving on tax and saving by buying bulk. You may not need to go out for school supplies again for the rest of the year.

3. Comparison Shopping & Sales
Your mailbox is crammed full of fliers from the top school supply and clothing retailers, plying you with back-to-school deals. Take advantage of this and comparison shop; see what stores provide the best deals on school supplies, and don't be afraid to ask a store if they'll price match.

4. Check All the Rules
Check what items are free from tax in your state and check the dollar limits. Each state will have a maximum amount you can spend on each item for it to be tax-free. Be just as thorough with coupons to avoid disappointment.

5. Mark Your Dates
If you're in a state with a tax free week or weekend, mark the dates on the calendar. You don't want to miss this annual event.

Final Thrifty Tips: Don't forget early bird deals, outlet malls, bargain stores, and thrift stores. Estate Sales, Garage Sales, and thrift stores carry brand new school supplies year round. It's a good opportunity to stock up on supplies like loose leaf paper, pens, markers, notepad, scotch tape, and packing tape for far less than retail price.

Churches do school supply drives where they provide free school supplies or low priced ones. Make sure you donate excess or unused school supplies to church drives and thrift stores; spread the wealth!

Tax Free Week 2010: States and Dates

The following is the complete list of States participating in the Tax Free Weeks or Tax Free Holidays. Check rules with retailers before you venture out for supplies, some will not allow additional coupons during the Tax Free Holidays. States listed in alphabetical order.

Connecticut - August 15- August 21, 2010 
Tax Exemption Applies to: Clothing under $300, Shoes under $300 

Florida - August 13- August 15, 2010 
Tax Exemption Applies to: Books, clothing, and footwear ($50 or less), School supplies ($10 or less)

Georgia N/A

Georgia usually hosts a tax free Holiday, but not this year. Three bills for a sales tax holiday were proposed (HB 51, 952, and 953) but none were passed.

Iowa - August 6- August 7, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: Clothing under $100, Shoes under $100

Louisiana - August 6- August 7, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: Purchases under $2,500, Excludes purchase of taxable services, automobiles, and meals

Maryland August 8-August 14, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: Clothing under $100, Shoes under $100

Mississippi - July 30-July 31, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: Clothing under $100, Shoes under $100

Missouri - August 6- August 8, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to:
  • Clothing under $100
  • School supplies under $50
  • Computer software under $350
  • Computers/computer equipment under $3,500
  • Note: some cities and counties in Missouri choose not to participate in the Sales Tax Holiday, double check before you go shopping
New Mexico - August 6 -August 8, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to:
  • All clothing and shoes under $100
  • School supplies under $15
  • Computers under $1,000
  • Computer equipment under $500
New York - New York shoppers are now exempt from the 4% sales tax 365 days per year.

This Applies to: Clothing under $110, Shoes under $110

North Carolina - August 6 - August 8, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to:
  • Clothing, footwear, and school supplies under $100
  • Sports and recreation equipment under $50
  • Computers under $3,500
  • Computer equipment under $250
Oklahoma - August 6- August 8, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: Clothing and shoes, Anything priced under $100

South Carolina - August 6- August 8, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to:
  • Clothing
  • Accessories
  • Footwear
  • School supplies
  • Computers
  • Computer equipment
Tennessee - August 6- August 8, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: Clothing under $10, School supplies under $100, Computers under $1500

Texas -August  20- August 22, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: Clothing and footwear under $10, Includes backpacks under $100 for elementary and secondary students, Includes layaway items

Vermont - August 6 -August 8, 2010

Tax Exemption Applies to: The sale of personal property items costing less than $2,000 & Does not apply to food, beverages, or hotel rooms.

This post linked at:  New Nostalgia / Today's Creative Blog / Review Retreat / Craft Edition / Tuesday Tagalong

11 comments:

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  2. Thanks for the tax free schedule. Well, comparing prices can make a difference to your purchases. Wait for sales then use coupons. It will double your savings.

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