Starting this Friday, lots of Virginia families will kick off their back-to-school shopping to take advantage of the state’s Tax-Free Weekend!
From August 3-5, 2012, you’ll pay no sales tax on certain purchases. The idea behind this shopping event is to help families save on necessities for the upcoming school year.
So now is the time to make your Back-To-School shopping game plan!
Know Which Items Qualify
Virginia tax-free savings apply to School Supplies and Clothing. Specifically, you won’t pay any sales tax on purchases of:
- Clothing and shoes (priced under $100 per item)
- School supplies (priced under $20 per item)
But wait! There is some fine print you might not expect…
According to the state’s official rules, Virginia law extends the discount to calculators- but not computers. :(
And although “hats and caps” are covered by the discount, “wigs and hair pieces” are not. (Sorry, little Johnny. You’ll have to ask Santa for that one).
Bummed that you can’t use the holiday to save on that new washing machine you’ve been eyeing? Hang tight. The state of Virginia also offers a separate tax-free weekend in October that applies to qualifying Energy Star and WaterSense appliances.
Before you venture out to the mall this weekend, make sure you’ve got a game plan.
1. Make a list.
Compile your children’s required supplies lists provided by their schools. Know exactly how many spiral notebooks, #2 pencils, and boxes of tissue you’ll need for everyone. Try not to get carried away while shopping and stick to the list.
For back-to-school clothing, it’s sometimes hard to know how many new jeans your kids will really need this year. To get started, take an inventory of what your child has outgrown and what needs replacing.
2. Don’t forget about layaway accounts.
If you’ve got qualifying items waiting on layaway from a previous shopping trip, paying them off this weekend will mean you don’t pay any of the order’s sales tax!
Don’t Leave Home Without Your Smartphone
Use your phone to make your shopping lists ahead of time. Once you’re out deal-hunting, use a mobile app to help you compare prices between retailers to get the best price. Here are a few of our favorites…
Compare prices instantly while you’re out and about shopping. Look up a product by scanning its barcode, searching via text or voice command, or even by taking a picture of it. You’ll be able to compare whether the in-store sales tax discount truly gives you a better deal than just buying the item on Amazon. Available for iPhone or Android devices.
Similar to Amazon Price Check, Google Shopper lets you easily identify products via barcode scan, picture, or old-fashioned search. Read product reviews and compare prices among online retailers. Also really useful for the Tax-Free Weekend is the feature that lets you identify nearby stores which carry the item. Available for iPhone or Android devices.
What makes ShopSavvy a unique comparison shopping app is that it is community-powered, so users can add missing products into the system as they browse. The app tells you if a product is available at another local store, whether it’s in stock, and if the retailer offers price-matching. Available for iPhone, Android devices, or Windows phones.