Second only to Black Friday, Tax-Free Weekend brings shoppers out in hoards. And why not? With back-to-school shopping looming over parents’ heads, we’d do just about anything to save a few bucks, am I right?
While my first instinct is to hunker down rather than face the retail masses, I know that with two of our four boys now in school, we can’t afford to ignore our state’s tax-free holiday. So I’m putting on my big girl pants and heading out this weekend, with these ten strategies in mind.
1.) DIG UP THE DETAILS.
Each state does things a little differently, so be sure to look up your state’s specific dates and times as well as what does (and doesn’t) fall under that tax-free umbrella.
2.) HAVE SCHOOL SUPPLIES LISTS IN HAND.
If you’re shopping for school-age kids, then get their school-supply lists in advance. Some stores make copies, but these can disappear quickly so don’t count on them.
3.) CREATE A SHOPPING LIST
I recommend that you take your school-supply list and highlight what you actually need. (If you’re like me, you’re not going to buy a new backpack if it’s still intact and Transformers are still en vogue.) Then, if you plan on buying other items like lunch boxes, clothes, or shoes, add them to your list.
4.) DO YOUR STORE RESEARCH.
You may be a die-hard Target shopper, but will they be offering the best prices this weekend? A quick Internet search can help you know who has the best deals on what you need.
5.) SLEUTH FOR ADDITIONAL SAVINGS.
Depending on where you plan to shop, see whether they offer online coupons or store rewards via smart phone apps. Also, consider consignment shops for kid clothes, where you can enjoy tax-free savings on top of already reduced prices for brand-name clothes.
6.) MAP YOUR ROUTE.
If you’re shopping at multiple stores, then make a plan. You may want to get all your shopping done at one location, or schedule a few breaks in between. Either way, map it out and stay the course.
7.) DON’T MAKE IT A FAMILY AFAIR.
Solo shopping just might be your salvation. I avoid taking all four boys with me to the store on a normal day, let alone on tax-free weekend. I’ll be doing most of my shopping alone or bringing only the boy who needs new jeans.
8.) FUEL UP.
Do what you must to avoid getting “hangry.” Take a snack or beverage with you, or schedule lunch with a friend as a reward. Personally, I won’t go anywhere tax-free weekend without coffee in hand.
10.) PLAN FOR PATIENCE.
Leave your house that day expecting long lines, minimal parking spots, and perhaps a rude shopper or two. By choosing patience before you step out the door, you’re bound to have a better experience.
Remember there’s always Amazon Prime…
If you get out there and decide it’s just not worth it, then call it a day and order your school supplies online. You may not get to enjoy all those tax-free benefits, but you can save yourself a migraine. (Worth it!)