A shopper's guide to tax-free weekend
Aug. 11, 2012 at 3:11 a.m.
Updated Sept. 3, 2012 at 4:03 a.m.
From polos to protractors, pencils and more, a lot goes in to prepping for a new school year. And, while expenses can add up, a reprieve is on its way.
Texas' sales tax holiday spans Friday through Sunday, giving shoppers throughout the Lone Star State a chance to stock up for school without shelling out that 8 percent sales tax.
Savings apply to qualifying school supplies, clothing and footwear priced at less than $100.
Here's a guide to what's taxed, what isn't, and the best way to plan out your shopping excursion.
Tax-free school supplies:
Folders - expandable, pocket, plastic and manila
Glue, paste and paste sticks
Index card boxes
Markers (including dry erase markers)
Paper - loose-leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board and construction paper
Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
Tax-free clothing and footwear:
Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students
Belts with attached buckles
Boots - cowboy and hiking
Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf and knitted
Coats and wraps
Diapers - adult and baby
Gym suits and uniforms
Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts
Jerseys - baseball and football
Neckwear and ties
Pants and trousers
Raincoats and ponchos
Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis and walking
Socks (including athletic varieties)
Suits, slacks and jackets
Work clothes and uniforms
What doesn't qualify for the tax exemption?
Accessories (generally) - barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets and watches
Backpacks, unless for use by elementary and secondary students
Baseball cleats and pants
Belt buckles without belt
Boots - climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski and waders
Buttons and zippers
Cloth and lace, knitting yarns and other fabrics
Dry cleaning services
Handbags and purses
Helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle and sports
Leather goods, except belts with buckles and wearing apparel
Pads - football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee and shoulder
Personal flotation devices
Rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear and costumes)
Roller blades and skates
Safety clothing and glasses
Shoes - bicycle
Did you know ... ?
The average person with children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend $688.62 on their kids for back-to-school.
Those K through 12 expenditures include an estimated $129.20 on shoes and $95.44 on school supplies.
College students and their families will spend an average $907.22 on school supplies, dorm gear and more.
Combined spending for back-to-school and back-to-college will reach $83.8 billion nationwide.
About half of those surveyed plan to begin back-to-school shopping three weeks to a month before school begins.
Sources: National Retail Federation news release, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts news release
What's the best way to tackle tax-free weekend? We asked those in the biz.
Have patience and be prepared for the crowds. Some people get angry because they're around so many people and have to wait in lines.
- Monica Maloney, Rue 21 manager
Shop early in the day. Heavy traffic means some stores get pretty torn up by closing time.
- Brian Patteson, J.C. Penney manager
Take a list. It helps determine exactly what you need and which stores to visit.
- Marisol Valderrama, Maurices manager