Tax-free weekend is an important time of the year for parents as it marks the beginning of school. Several stores nationwide begin to roll out back-to-school sales on clothing, supplies, college necessities, and electronics.
Despite the amazing sales going around, it’s very easy to buy items you don’t need. As a result, you overspend and possibly start “breaking the bank”.
To avoid this situation, you want to find ways that can actually help you save money. Whether it is earning cashback on purchases or finding online deals, let’s explore the different habits and tools you can use to your advantage during this essential time.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclaimer for details.
Smart Habits You Should Adopt
1. Create a shopping list
The first thing you want to do is make a shopping list of all the items you need for your family. Whether it’s a pair of shoes, 5 outfits for you, or diapers for baby, list out the items on a sheet of paper and cross them off as you buy them.
Tip: Write the name of the store you will buy the items from next to the “item name” so that you know how to plan your shopping trip. (Ex. Crayons, Pencils, Paper – Walmart, Binders, books, and backpack – Office Depot)
2. Start a budget
Creating a shopping list will help you stay within your budget. Create a budget that fits your family’s needs. Shoes, children’s clothes, baby clothes, and undergarments are all items to think about.
Tip: List out the items you will buy and write down a “projected cost” amount next to the items. After purchasing, you can write down the “actual cost” amount for an overview of your spending.
3. Subscribe to Promotional Emails
If you have a specific store that you mostly shop at, it will be a good idea to sign up for their promotional emails. You’ll find all the hot deals running during tax-free weekend and save extra $$$ that can help you stay within budget.
My favorite list of stores for the greatest deals include, but not limited to (click links to go directly to store website):
- Office Depot
- Walmart – download the app
- CVS Pharmacy
- Old Navy
- New York & Company
Tip: Create or use an email that is exclusively for email newsletters and subscriptions so you can have all the newest deals in one place.
4. Shop along with back-to-school sales
When you’re shopping for the family, nothing can be better when you have a tax-free weekend AND back to school sales – take advantage!
Stores are running sales that have dropped the price on many clothing items such as tops, pants, jackets, and shoes.
Make sure you check out deals from JCPenney, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target to see what great offers they have.
5. Learn the list of eligible items
Before you shop, it is always good to find out which items are eligible for tax exemption. Clothing, shoes, diapers, undergarment, etc….
Do keep in mind that although clothing is tax-free, there is another rule that comes along with it. The clothing article must be less than $100.00. For example, a jacket that is over $100.00 will not qualify for tax exemption but if you have two jackets, each at $50.00, that equals $100.00, then it WILL qualify.
Tip: A full list of eligible items for tax-free weekend will be available on your state government website.
6. Remember that you can shop online
Did you know you can shop online and also pay no taxes? Ever since I became a mom, online shopping has been my #1 thing. No need to even drive to the store to buy things that you can’t find. I can just shop online, find the things I need, and checkout – all within a few clicks.
Not only is online shopping a smart way of shopping during tax-free weekend but you can also find ways to save money using websites that offers cashback on purchases.
Smart Ways You Can Save Money During Tax-Free Weekend
You know you’re saving money on taxes but there are more than one way you can bundle up your savings.
1. Rakuten (formerly Ebates)
In one of my posts, I shared that Rakuten is a great website to shop online and earn cashback.
You’ll find hot deals from its partnered retail stores and save even more by shopping through stores that offer high cashback.
As a long-time user of Rakuten (formerly Ebates), I’ve received several checks in the mail on purchases I’ve made (you also have an option to deposit your cashback balance via PayPal). It’s great and also my #1 spot to go to for online shopping.
Tip: Download the Rakuten Ebates app or Chrome plugin so you can earn cashback as you browse your online deals.
If you haven’t already created an account, you can sign up here and start saving while you shop.
2. Airline eShopping
Do you like to earn travel points while shopping online? I know I do for sure! By creating an account with an airline (American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Southwest), you can earn points just for shopping through their eShopping website.
You’ll find great stores like Macy’s, JCPenney, Sam’s Club, Finish Line, HP, Lenovo, Target, etc…
It’s the perfect opportunity to shop for clothes as well as baby diapers. Especially since we all know how expensive diapers can get!
Because of all the great deals that Target offers, the love I have for Target is never-ending.
You can use your REDCard to earn 5% cashback on purchases in-store and online, get free shipping, and even get notified on early promotions and events.
If you don’t already have the Target app, make sure you sign up for the app so that you can access their Cartwheel offers.
You’ll be able to find coupons for diapers such as Pampers, Huggies, and Luv’s.
What better way is there to pay less than to use coupons. Find coupons in the Sunday newspaper, online, or through the Coupons app.
Some stores may offer online coupons for diapers on their store website. Examples include: CVS, Walgreens, Target (Cartwheel Offers), Dollar General
You can also follow online savings websites such as The Krazy Coupon Lady, Slickdeals, Brickseek, Brad’s Deals, and more.
5. Amazon Prime
If you’re an Amazon Prime user, take advantage of your benefits. You can order boxes of diapers online and pay less – with no taxes.
Don’t have an account? Sign up here to start your own account.
6. Flipp App
Have you ever used the Flipp app? If not, you may want to start now.
With the Flipp app, you can view store weekly ads and circulars all in one place.
What I love about the app:
- Bookmark your favorite stores so you can focus on their weekly deals
- Find coupons across multiple stores and clip them for later
- Create a visual shopping list in which the app will organize the items by store, which is easy and convenient!
- Find the best deals under the Deals section – either by showing All deals or by “categories”
For more information, check out their website here.
List of States Participating
Unfortunately, not all 50 states are participating in the tax-free weekend but if you find yourself located in any of these 16 states, you’re in luck! (Click your state to be directed to the state’s tax website)
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
Overall, tax-free weekend is an excellent opportunity to maximize your savings if you’re eligible for the sales tax exemption.
Not only are you tax-exempt from clothes, shoes and diapers, you also get to save money along with back-to-school sales, cashback websites, and coupons.
Oh, and one more thing.
If you found this post useful, please hit the SHARE button. Other mamas may find it helpful as well.
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