Tips for Shopping Tax Free Weekends
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Tips for Shopping Tax Free Weekends

Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2015 at 7:00 am
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School SupplySummer isn’t over, but the back to school sales are already starting. One way to save money on school supplies is to shop during a tax free weekend. There are things that parents should know about the tax free weekends in order to get the most savings from them.

Not All States Have Tax Free Weekends
A total of 18 states have tax free weekends. The rest do not. If you don’t live in a state that participates, you may be out of luck. For example, North Carolina eliminated its tax free days and replaced it with a tax cut.

Not all of the states that offer tax free weekends have it take place in August. Some will happen in June or July instead. Here’s a list of the upcoming tax free weekends that can help parents save money on school related items:

* Alabama – August 7-9
* Connecticut – August 16-22
* Florida – August 7-16
* Iowa August 7-8
* Missouri – August 7-9
* New Mexico – August 7-9
* Ohio – August 7-9
* Oklahoma – August 7-9
* South Carolina – August 7-9
* Tennessee – August 7-9
* Texas – August 7-9
* Virginia – August 7-9

Read the Details
Before you start shopping, make sure to take the time to find out what, exactly, your state will include as eligible tax free items. Do backpacks count as school supplies? How about computers? Many states do include clothing and shoes as an eligible tax free item.

Most states have limitations in place on how much a particular items costs, or a group of items cost. Go over that maximum limit, and your purchase will not be tax free.

Check Out the Back To School Sales Ads
It’s time to do a little math. What will save you the most money on back to school supplies – the tax free weekend, or a sale that happens during the week? Sometimes, shopping at the local dollar store can give you the best deals.

Set a Budget
Resist the urge to splurge during a tax free weekend. Doing so can make your shopping more expensive than you can afford. Create a budget before you shop. Keep track of the prices of the items you select. Stop before you go over the budget that you set aside for back to school shopping.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.