Make the most of sales tax holiday: here’s your game plan

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.”

Be comfortable:
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.

10 comments Add your comment

Mike Harmon

July 27th, 2009
7:15 am

Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

ravi

July 27th, 2009
7:58 am

Enter your comments here

ravi

July 27th, 2009
7:58 am

ravi

July 27th, 2009
7:59 am

JO

July 29th, 2009
6:51 am

Georgia State Sales Tax Holiday detail…..

Shawn

July 31st, 2009
2:09 pm

As a mom of a kindergarten student, I don’t understand this tax “holiday”. So, I get to go all hog-wild filling up my cart with cheap clothes made in China, the schools don’t get a dime, and then I have to go out and buy $100 in school supplies.

AND you don’t have to spend it on kids. Heck – you don’t even have to have kids to participate. In fact, you don’t even have to be a GA resident – so happy shoppers are coming in from other states. And how many of these retailers are even based in GA? The profits are going right back to Minnesota, or Arkansas, or NY or where ever. (I mean, please tell me Purdue is getting some kind of kick-back or campaign contributions – please tell me someone did the math, somewhere.)

20 years from now this will be looked back on as a total joke – just like GA’s water “plan”.

No thanks. I am sitting this one out – conscientous objector. (Fear not, retailers – you won’t starve because of me. I’ll do my shopping on Monday.)

Shawn

July 31st, 2009
2:12 pm

PS: I saw fishing waders on the list of approved items. Must be Sonny’s nod to Springfield, MO.

jborodave

August 1st, 2009
9:06 am

Yep, waders are exempt. And what kid would want to go back to school without: lingerie, steel toed shoes, snow ski suits, a new shawl or wrap, or a brand new pair of garden gloves for that really chic look?

The idea sounded good when they passed the law…give us a tax break at ‘back to school’ time. But that list is downright ridiculous!

[...] Sales-tax free weekend aimed to help consumers save on apparel, footwear, school supplies and computers began in 2002. While it generates a frenetic buzz for shoppers and retailers alike, it costs the state $12 million in revenue. A similar break usually held in October for energy efficient appliances and other items results in a $500,000 loss. The weekend of tax-free purchases, proposed this year for July 29-Aug. 2, has to be created by legislation every year. [...]

SWAGGED UP « SUGAR MAFIA SWAG

July 13th, 2010
9:26 pm

[...] Sales-tax free weekend aimed to help consumers save on apparel, footwear, school supplies and computers began in 2002. While it generates a frenetic buzz for shoppers and retailers alike, it costs the state $12 million in revenue. A similar break usually held in October for energy efficient appliances and other items results in a $500,000 loss. The weekend of tax-free purchases, proposed this year for July 29-Aug. 2, has to be created by legislation every year. [...]