It’s tax-free weekend, a shopping extravaganza rivaled only by Black Friday in metro Atlanta. Shopping centers will go all out for the blockbuster convergence of back-to-school shoppers and bargain hunters July 30-Aug. 2.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Holly Duffey, general manager of Tanger Outlet in Locust Grove.
Here’s a guide to get you ready for the sales tax holiday.
What’s in play:
To play the game, you have to know the rules. Simply, clothing and shoes must be priced at $100 or less. School supplies have to be $20 or less. Personal computers and accessories must come in at $1,500 or less. So, if you’re thinking of making a big computer purchase, for instance, break up the cart to make sure you don’t exceed the per purchase limit.
Have a shopping list:
Take inventory. Did your kid grow into a new shoe or pants size over the summer? What school supplies do you have left over and won’t need to purchase again? What extras will you need with the computer? Can your kid live without the Transformers lunchbox?
“A lot of times parents buy things they don’t need,” said King Springs Elementary School teacher, Kristie Nixon. “Take Trapper Keepers; they always bring them to school and we don’t need them. Being informed is your best weapon.”
Do your homework:
You could easily save $80 or more on a computer purchase, but before you buy, do some research. Technology writer Bill Husted says spend time on cnet.com and consumerreports.org to find reliable products.
“Unless you already know a lot about computers, stick with brand names,” Husted said. “While there are some terrific no-name bargains out there, it takes some skill to separate the good ones from the clunkers.”
Buckhead’s Best Buy operations manager, Michael Walter, tells consumers to have a budget.That store will open from midnight to 2 a.m. on Thursday to give shoppers a head start.
“An 8 percent savings on anything is a lot of money,” he said. “If I can save a little bit, it’s great.
What’s in, what’s out:
There are a few restrictions on tax-exempt items. No books except children’s books, dictionaries and thesaurases. Video games, CDs and digital cameras are on the list of taxable items. Handbags and jewelry are also taxable. For a complete list of what’s in and and what’s out, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue website . Also, hold off on energy and water efficiency products, as another sales tax holiday will take place Oct. 1-4.
What’s on sale:
Go through sales papers and websites to find coupons and deals. Then, combine the sales and the tax-free deal. The discounts are more than perception said Shelley Korenbrot, director of mall marketing at Gwinnett Place Mall.
“I wait every year for this, and I don’t have kids,” Korenbrot said. “Every dollar counts these days.The majority of stores will have amazing sales.”
Travel light, wear comfortable shoes, carry some snacks and rest. It’s a smart strategy.
“Come with patience and a lot of time,” Korenbrot advises.