Texas Living

Smart Shopping  

By Lisa Martin 8.4.14

Like the shoppers who venture out the day after Thanksgiving, scores of Texans plan to hit the shops to take full advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday, which this year falls on August 8 to 10. The law exempts most apparel, shoes, school supplies, and backpacks priced less than $100 from sales tax, translating to a savings of $8 per $100. According to Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, shoppers saved nearly $80 million in state and local sales taxes during last August’s Sales Tax Holiday.

Planning, however, is key to making the three-day weekend work for you.

“The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to use the same smart shopping strategies that they would use any time,” says Jeannette Kopko, BBB spokeswoman for Dallas and Northeast Texas, who also notes that many stores extend their shopping hours for these three days. “Make the most of this weekend’s deals by planning ahead, sticking to a budget, and paying close attention to advertisements.”

Before hitting the strip-mall or shops, compile a list of your family’s needs then go online or check newspaper ads for stores offering special sales or incentives; to lure customers, retailers often tack on extra sales to the tax-free weekend. Also, keep in mind the items that qualify (i.e. book bags, coats, glue sticks) and what doesn’t (shoelaces, cleats, and other athletic equipment, anything $101 or more). For instance, a few less-obvious exempt items include:

  • Diapers (child-sized and adult)
  • Uniforms: school, work, nurse, waitress, military, postal, police, fire
  • Workout clothing and gear

For a full list of what’s taxable and exempt, visit http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/d/tx98_490_clothing.html. And as with all purchases, make sure to keep your receipts — just in case that “great buy” seems a little less fabulous come Monday morning.