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Pro: Savings make 3-day shopping session worth it

By ALLISON MILES
Aug. 15, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.


What's tax-freeSchool supplies that qualify for the tax exemption include:

Binders

Book bags

Calculators

Cellophane tape

Blackboard chalk

Compasses

Composition books

Crayons

Erasers

Folders

Glue, paste and paste sticks

Highlighters

Index cards

Index card boxes

Legal pads

Lunch boxes

Markers

Notebooks

Paper

Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes

Pencil sharpeners

Pencils

Pens

Protractors

Rulers

Scissors

Writing tablets

*Eligible items should be for use by elementary or secondary school children and should be priced at less than $100.

Source: Texas state comptroller website

SALES TAX HOLIDAYWhile parents and students throughout the region are gearing up for the school year, retailers are preparing for another end-of-summer tradition: Texas' tax-free weekend.

The sales tax holiday spans Friday through Sunday, giving consumers a break on certain clothing items and school supplies.

But, while some people say the savings make tax-free weekend a good deal, others say shopping center excursions just aren't worth the hassle.

Sales tax savings can really add up and make the three-day shopping experience worth it.

Michael Thundercloud, who is originally from Iowa, said this is his second year experiencing tax-free weekend. The break helps, the father of five said.

"It's a blessing for us to have a little bit of savings," he said. "We can use that extra money for other things like gas, since those prices are rising again."

Thundercloud's family avoids the crowds by shopping in larger cities that offer a better selection.

"The tax-free savings are statewide," he said. "You may as well."

The break is good for stores, which benefit from increased traffic, Margaret Case Little, the National Retail Federation's communications manager, said in her retail federation blog. States that offer such weekends also win because, although they lose out on some sales tax, shoppers typically purchase taxable items throughout the weekend, too, she said.

Shoppers benefit in multiple ways, said Bel Schoeneberg, store manager for Cavender's Boot City. The weekend typically means more promotions at stores, too.

"It's savings on top of what they're already saving," she said. "I think it's worth it."

Those deals are partly what will draw April Ramirez, who said she typically tries to avoid the tax-free crowds, out to the stores this year.

The shoe store the stay-at-home mom frequents will host a buy-one, get-one half-off sale and she said she can't pass it up.

But that's all she'll buy.

"It takes a long time to shop for clothes," she said, adding that crowds mean long lines. "But shoes aren't too bad."

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