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Comments Off | Posted by Alex O'Neal on August 19, 2010

BBB Gives Consumers Savvy Shopping Tips for Tax-Free Weekend

Annual Sales Tax Holiday Runs August 20th – 22nd

Austin, TX – The 12th annual Sales Tax Holiday, or Tax-Free Weekend, begins this Friday, August 20th and runs until Sunday, August 22nd. Consumers can expect to save approximately $8 for every $100 they spend on most clothing, footwear and school supplies priced under $100. A full list of items that qualify can be found on the Texas Comptroller’s website here.

According to Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, shoppers are expected to save $59 million this weekend on tax-exempt items. Many stores will offer extended hours or additional back to school sales to help consumers take advantage of this once-a-year tax-free event. BBB advises consumers to plan ahead, stick to a budget and pay close attention to advertisements to make the most of this weekend’s deals.

Safe Shopping Tips:

1. Take inventory. Before hitting the stores, take inventory of items you already have. There may be leftover supplies from the previous school year that can be used. Look around the house for reusable items such as backpacks, lunchboxes, calculators and rulers.

2. 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.

3. “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. Those discounts will still have taxes applied to them unless the item appears on the State Comptroller’s tax-free list.

4. 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.

5. 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 needs to be purchased. 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 that may not be allowed.

6. Check for refund and exchange policies. Some stores will give extra incentives and discounts to bring in customers. Be sure those additional savings can be exchanged or refunded if there is a problem with any item purchased. Keep in mind some items may be non-refundable or have restocking fees associated with a return.

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