BBB Tips for Back-To-School and Tax-Free Shopping

Tax-free shopping is this weekend, and with school just around the corner, it’s a great time to shop! In 2012, an estimated $83.8 billion dollars were spent on back-to-school shopping in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation. That breaks down to the average person spending around $688.62 on their children in grades K-12. Of course, not everyone will spend that much, but before you dive into buying new clothes and supplies, check out these back-to-school budget tips from BBB.

To help save time and money, BBB encourages families to: 

Make a shopping list. Even if you don’t know the exact school supply list, you should get an idea of school clothing and other school needs. Make a list for each child, but start by “shopping at home” for items that you may already have left over from last year. For some items, it’s worth spending a bit more (a high quality backpack will last for years).

Create a budget. Do a quick price search online for the items on your list and add them all up. Be sure to clip coupons, and make note of discount codes and any cash-back or rebate programs. If you goal is to reduce spending, now is the time to decide how much you want to cut.

Set up email alerts at your favorite stores. Monitoring pricing early on is key to finding good deals on quality products. Many sites will have an informed community of savvy shoppers on their blog or in their forums who willingly share deals, exclusive coupons, rebates and insider information on where and when to find the best prices, popular models and links to helpful resources. These alerts will assure you don’t miss out on the hottest, and/or limited, opportunities.

Take advantage of discounts. Many stores offer student and teacher discounts on hot items like laptops and uniforms. Retailers will be trying to make room for fall fashion and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had on older items.

Shop tax-free this weekend, August 9-11. The Texas tax-free law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced less than $100 from sales and use taxes. The tax-free exemption applies to purchases made in-store, online and via mail. A complete list of items that qualify for exemption can be found on the Texas Comptroller’s website.Image