Texas Tax-Free weekend is coming up August 11-13th, which means shoppers will be headed to the stores in droves to save about $8 on every $100 they spend. If you are one of those, it’s good to have a game plan in place to make the most of your shopping hours.
First you need to know the rules of the game: Items that are in exempt categories which are priced under $100 will not be taxed. However, if you spend $100 or more on any individual item it will not be tax-free.
A variety of merchandise will be tax-exempt for the weekend. You can take a look at this list to find out what is exempt and what is taxable. If you are shopping for a wardrobe, tax-free items are (generally): clothing (with a few exceptions, like rentals), shoes for everyday purposes (sports shoes are excluded), belts with attached buckles, shawls, scarves, hats, and most gloves.
Here are my top five tips for shopping in-store on Tax-Free Weekend:
1. You can avoid the craziness by shopping early in stores that allow you to pre-select your purchases. Some stores will allow their clientele to shop a week ahead of time and will set their items aside. Then, on Tax-Free Weekend they will process the order and ship them to you, or you can pick them up. Check with your favorite stores and see if they offer this service. You may be able to avoid all the shopping mayhem, while still reaping the rewards.
2. Make a list of what you’re shopping for and take it with you. I’ve worked at an upscale women’s store on Tax-Free Weekend and can tell you that it’s a zoo! Deciding ahead of time what you’re shopping for can help you keep from being overwhelmed, or distracted. If you tend to run out of steam when shopping, buy the items on your list first. Once you have your essentials, you can move on to “fun” items.
3. Set a budget and stick to it. Figure out what you want to spend on the items on your list, then (if you like) add in some extra for “fun” items.
4. Dress for your expedition. Wear what I call the “Quick Change Wardrobe”. Dressing rooms are at a premium on Tax-Free Weekend. The QCW will give you the advantage of speed in the dressing room and sometimes save you having to use a dressing room at all.
5. If you’re going to brave the mall and you have a lot of shopping to do, rent a mall stroller to carry your purchases. I do this with clients who are shopping for an entire wardrobe. It keeps everything together, makes sure that nothing is left behind, and saves you the wear and tear of lugging all of your packages by hand. It works best if you have a friend who will keep an eye on it while you’re changing. Some dressing rooms are not big enough for a stroller and some stores will not want you to enter the dressing room with multiple bags in a stroller, and who could blame them?
Now, intrepid shopper, you are ready to head out into the wild of Tax-Free Weekend and bravely save around $8 on every $100 you spend. My best wishes for your shopping success. I’d love to hear what prizes you found.
Bonus Tip: SMILE.
Smile at strangers, fellow shoppers, cranky children who are being dragged from store to store for back to school wardrobes, cashiers and salespeople. Even smile at that rude woman who stole your dressing room, and the teenager who took your parking space.
You’ll be surprised at how many people smile back, say thank you, or are just relieved that someone in the mall isn’t out for blood.
It doesn’t cost you anything to smile and could actually save someone else’s day.
For more information on Texas Tax-Free Weekend check the Texas Comptroller’s website.