It may still be July, but it’s almost time to start thinking about shopping for school supplies, clothes, and shoes. That’s because the Texas Tax-Free Weekend is coming up Aug. 9 – 11, 2019. Planning for the Texas sales tax holiday will ensure you pick up what you need without overspending.
Back to school shopping during the tax-free weekend can also help older kids involved in extracurricular activities. These often have added expenses. The nice thing about not paying sales tax is that you pay the exact price for qualifying items and save on taxes.
Say you want to buy a $19.99 shirt and only have a $20 bill, you’re golden. You don’t have to worry about looking for change to cover the taxes. Hey, some people still pay cash for items.
The best part? The sales tax holiday applies to everyone, not just families with school-aged kids. Keep these things in mind as you prepare for the tax-free weekend:
- Stores do not give out rainchecks.
- Items costing $100 or more do not qualify for the tax break.
- Hang on to those receipts.
Here are four tips to help you make the most of tax-free weekend and back-to-school shopping.
- Review the official list
Use the Comptroller of Texas’ official Sales Tax Holiday list as your tax-free shopping bible. Beware that some resources refer to this list, but they don’t always describe the rules correctly.
Not all school supplies and clothing qualify for the tax break. Again, any item priced $100 or higher does not qualify regardless of what it is. Some shoes aren’t exempt from taxes.
Stores charge taxes for the following types of shoes:
- Ski boots
- Golf shoes
While soccer shoes and cleats aren’t tax-free, soccer socks are exempt. While golf shoes are taxable, golf caps, jackets, shirts, and skirts are not if they’re under $100 each. Tennis shoes, cowboy boots, and general-purpose boots are exempt.
Did you know that lunch boxes are tax-exempt? Many are surprised by this because people don’t see it as a school supply item. Here are other surprising tax-free items:
- Adult diapers
So be sure to study that list from the Comptroller of Texas.
- Check store hours
Don’t work hard to get to the store as soon as it’s open to avoid the crowd only to find out that it opened an hour earlier than usual. That’s because many Texas shopping centers, malls, and stores extend their hours for the Sales Tax Holiday.
While the hours aren’t as wild as Black Friday’s, it still gives you more time to shop. So, confirm the store hours before you shop.
- Skip the lines
You can count on one thing with Sales Tax Holiday to have in common with Black Friday: long lines. Your best bet is to go as soon as the store opens. Some people still work on Friday, so that morning may have the least amount of traffic.
And some people like to sleep in on the weekend. First thing on Saturday and Sunday are the next best options after Friday morning. If anyone needs to try on clothing, start shopping for clothes first. It’s your best chance of shorter dressing room lines.
Another way to avoid the crowd is to shop online with stores that do business in Texas. They typically don’t charge taxes for the weekend. This gives you the chance to shop around and compare prices.
- Create a shopping list
Between the crowd and sales, it doesn’t take much to overspend. And when you’re away from home, you have no way of checking someone’s shoe size or whether anyone needs more pants. That’s why it helps to make a list of what you need and the sizes. Confirm sizes especially children who grow like weeds.
Check your supplies. Murphy’s Law has a way of striking. People buy a box of supplies only to find they have unopened boxes in the closet.
Considering you save $1.65 in buying a $20 item, it doesn’t feel like you save much in sales tax. The real bargain comes in stores lowering their prices for the sales tax holiday. A $20 item on sale for $18 saves a total of $3.65. The savings add up if you buy enough.
Follow these four tips to save yourself a lot of headaches. Residents who live in Crosswinds in Kyle, Texas have many shopping options. You can shop in Kyle and Buda. Or you can drive 20 minutes to South Austin or San Marcos’s fantastic outlet shopping centers.