Tax-free weekend: Know what’s on sale, how to deal with crowds


Tax-free weekend in Texas is underway through Sunday. That means an automatic discount of 8.25 percent, the maximum sales tax rate in Texas. It’s not as good as a 20-percent-off sale or even a 10-percent-off sale, but look for stores that are having sales on top of the tax-free weekend sale for the most value.

BACK TO SCHOOL: First bell rings early this year at Austin-area districts

What’s tax-free this weekend?

• School supplies: Binders; backpacks and book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic and manila); glue; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunchboxes; markers (including dry-erase markers); notebooks; paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets.

• Clothing: Most clothing; socks; most shoes; ties; coats; pajamas; swimsuits; uniforms; underwear; sports jerseys; and sports hats.

• Others: Adult and baby diapers.

MORE SCHOOL TIPS: How to save on supplies and not blow the budget

What’s not tax-free?

• Athletic items: Sports shoes like cleats or fishing boots; sports equipment; and sports clothing only used for the purpose of a sport (so not jerseys, swimsuits, sweatpants and yoga pants).

• Expensive clothes: Any one clothing item that is $100 or more doesn’t qualify for tax-free savings.

• Sewing items: Fabric, buttons and zippers.

• Accessories: All accessories, including jewelry and watches.

• Bags: Purses, luggage, wallets and briefcases.

How do you deal with the crowds?

• Have your list ready. Know which items you are going to look for at which store. Group items together (pencils and pens together, notebook paper and printer paper, crayons and markers, etc.)

• Shop for more than just the school list. Shop for supplies for home, too.

• Go early in the morning before the rest of the world is awake.

• Or go late at night without kids, when kids are asleep.

• Pace yourself. Don’t try to do every store in one day.

• Ask yourself if the 8.25 percent off is worth dealing with the crowds. If it’s not, save the shopping for a less crowded time, but don’t wait too long. Last year, many back-to-school aisles were taken down by the third day of school. 



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