Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shop Smart on Tax-free Weekend

For those of you who may now know, next weekend (August 21-23) is the back to school tax holiday for the state of Texas. While the tax holiday itself will be your biggest savings, there are several steps you can take to save even more cash next weekend. El Lider USA has written up some great tips for Texas citizens wondering how to stretch their savings next weekend, check out a few of them below.

1. Do your research. In addition to clothes, footwear and some backpacks, Texas families also receive a sales tax break on most school supplies up to $100 for use by a student in elementary or secondary school. The 81st Texas Legislature recently passed HB 1801 (2009) expanding the list of items qualifying from exemption from Texas state and local sales during the August holiday. Know what items are included before you shop by visiting

2. Stick to your budget. Just because it’s tax-free doesn’t mean you should go on a spending spree. Consider the savings are less then 10 percent. Develop a budget and stick to it. Don’t let the stress and crowds lead to overspending.

3. Don’t stress. If the stress is too much for you to handle, don’t worry. Retailers will likely have sales promotions throughout the first month of school. Check store Web sites and weekend circulars to find the best deals.

4. Stack your savings. Keep your eyes open for specials on top of tax-free items. Combine coupons, store specials and tax savings to receive a significant discount.

5. Don’t open department store credit cards. Retailers will be pushing you to open a store credit card this sales holiday by promoting extra savings. Be aware that these cards usually come with high interest rates that can easily create debt. The one-time 10 or 20 percent savings you’ll receive by opening one of these cards is not worth the debt and credit rating damage it could cause for years to come.

6. Don’t cram it all in. You don’t need to pick everything up during tax-free weekend. Back-to-school sales will usually extend into the first month of school so you have plenty of time to find those deals.

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