The month of August is packed with tax-free holidays. In fact, fourteen states will host tax-free weekends between now and the end of the month. If you are a resident of Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas or Virginia then you will be able to purchase select products without paying tax on them. In ten of those states sales start this weekend!
Each state has different rules for what qualifies for a tax break. They also set independent limits on how much you can spend within those particular categories. So for example, in Florida you can only spend $60 per item to qualify for a tax-free benefit. In Maryland, New Mexico and many other states the limit is set at $100.
While some states created tax-free holidays to coincide with back-to-school preparations, others have little to nothing to do with that. In Texas, (which joined the list of states offering tax-free holidays last year), you can save on generators, storm devices and preparedness items. In Mississippi you can save on firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies. Virginia offers the largest list of categories including clothing, school supplies, energy star products, hurricane preparedness items and generators.
If you plan on shopping for school supplies or anything else that might be on the tax-free list you might want to hold off for your state’s tax-free holiday. A simple Google search will yield a list of all states, qualifying categories and the dates that apply.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to go to the store to save money during this time. Most states offer tax-free sales on items purchased online, by mail or over the phone, so you can make qualifying purchases in the comfort of your own home. Do you have a wish list waiting for you at Amazon? This might be the time to stock up on things you want or need.
If you plan to go to the mall for a tax-free weekend expect extra crowds. Parking lots and garages may be congested, as will children’s clothing and footwear stores. If your children are in tow for back-to-school shopping make sure to take snacks and water in case lines get long. When the mall is busy the food court is usually extra packed too. Try to eat before or after the big lunch crowd arrives. If you want to save even more money pack a few sandwiches and eat on the benches found in between stores.
To get the best bang for your buck try to match sales with tax free days. Retailers know shoppers are willing to chase down deals on tax-free weekends, so keep an eye out for great bargains at all of your favorite stores.