Stephen Lu – Guest Contributor
Aug 15 2012
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Tax-free weekend is August 17-19

The start of the new school year is almost here, which means that tax-free weekend is even sooner. Tax-free weekend will begin on Friday, August 17 and go through Sunday, August 19. 

With hundreds of thousands of people continuously pouring into stores this weekend, it’s a good idea to plan ahead, lest you get caught up in the stampede. Here are some Tax-Free Weekend shopping tips that would be helpful for any consumer: 

Begin first by taking inventory around the house. Figure out what you and your children need and what your family already has. Your children will likely have leftover supplies from the previous school year and there are plenty of supplies that can be reused year after year – backpacks, lunch boxes, calculators and rulers. 

Once the inventory has been taken, create a shopping list and set a budget. Decide beforehand how much you are willing to spend. Parents may consider inviting their children to take part in the budgeting process to them about money management. When you go out shopping, take the list and stick to it. 

Another thing to do while planning ahead is researching what stores are carrying what items. Some stores even offer sales just for tax-free weekend. Be on the lookout for big discounts but don’t overlook the small costs as well. With all the school supplies that students need nowadays, those small costs can add up quickly. 

While shopping, it may be a good idea to bring cash instead of using a credit card. If you limit yourself to how much cash you have on hand, it will limit how much you can spend. If you’re going with this plan though, be sure to stop at a bank before you shop. ATM machines at stores will likely have long lines and be out of money before long. 

Finally, leave the little ones at home. It’s hard enough to fight through traffic and deal with other customers. Don’t make it harder by having to look after your kids as well.