People go nuts for a sale. So much so that many stores (ie. Kohl’s and Justice) have permanent sales on practically everything in the store. Of course these sales are fake, as the original price is super high and their “sale” brings items down to a normal price. Even so, people love to think they are saving money.
This weekend was the annual tax free weekend for back to school shopping. Each your our state grants us a weekend reprieve from paying sales tax on back to school items. This includes things like school supplies and clothing. Tax varies slightly from county by county, but it generally between six and seven percent.
I’m all for saving money any time you can, especially in the cases where you are saving money on items you would have purchased even if they weren’t on sale (or tax free.) But, sometimes you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever been shopping on tax free weekend, but it’s comparable to shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving during the Christmas season. People are shopping till they drop and every place is crowded with long lines at check out.
This year, we shopped early. As soon as I noticed the school supplies were put out at our local Target store, I looked up my daughters school supply list and bought the items need for the upcoming year.
Guess what… I didn’t save 6% on my purchase because I bought before the tax free weekend. Guess what else… I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Tax free on $50 worth of school supplies means I could have saved $3.
I am happy to “pay” that $3 so that I can shop in relative peace and avoid the mad house that accompanies tax free weekend shopping.
Last year I ended up shopping during the tax free weekend. It wasn’t really planned that way, it just kind of happened that we were out that day and decided to pick up some things. Walmart was an absolute mad house. You could barely walk down the aisles without bumping into people, and forget about brining your cart down the aisle. After that experience I decided I would avoid tax free weekend this year.
It just takes a little perspective and a bit of math. Figure out how much you are planning to spend, how much you will save during tax free weekend, and then decide if that savings is worth the headache of dealing with the crowds at the stores.
If you are shopping for three or four kids, and you need clothes and school supplies it might be worth it. You could easily spend $500 and that would be a savings of $30. Maybe that’s enough to fight the crowds, it would depend on your financial situation and your propensity for saving.
Here’s the formula to calculate your savings:
(Total amount you plan to spend) x (sales tax) = savings
Here’s an example assuming sales tax is 6%:
$100 x .06 = $6
Don’t forget to convert the sales tax percent to decimal. If it’s 6% that converts to .06.
Does the area you live in do a tax free weekend for school shopping? How much would you have to save to make it worth while to fight crowds for back to school shopping?
- Shop Simple! (thejoyofsimple.com)
- How Much Money Should You Save? (weonlydothisonce.com)
- How to Enjoy a Chore-less Weekend (bemorewithless.com)
- Gearing Up For Tax-Free Weekend (wctv.tv)
- Tax-free weekend begins Friday (miamiherald.com)
- Arkansas Tax Free Weekend August 3-4 (arkansasmatters.com)
- Sales Tax Holiday Guide for Added Back to School Savings Featured on Fatwallet (prweb.com)