Schools are starting back for fall and this weekend is Georgia’s first sales tax holiday on back-to-school purchases since 2009. Savings are big throughout August on school items, but not having to pay sales taxes makes those savings even sweeter.
Shoppers won’t pay sales tax this Friday and Saturday on a range of back-to-school items: clothing and shoes less than $100 per item, computers and accessories $1,000 or less and school supplies less than $20 per item. Expect to see school supplies marked down to rock-bottom prices at all types of stores, says Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson, so stock up to take advantage of the slashed prices and save the cost of the sales tax, too.
But savvy shoppers know the savings get even better when you plan ahead.
There are plenty of ads out there, so you can do some comparison shopping at home. Make a list of what you need, and who has the best values, so you’ll also save on gas by not pulling into every store you see. Relax and watch a replay of our recent back-to-school video chat with Jessica Shops’ Jessica Dauler, offering insider tips on where to find the best deals, coolest clothes and this year’s hottest dorm trends.
How do I know what’s free from the state’s sales tax?
Finally, make sure you know ahead of time what items qualify for the sales tax exemption — and you’ll also save yourself embarrassment at the checkout line from thinking an item’s tax-free when it’s not.
And don’t be surprised when you see tax-exempt back-to-school items at all sorts of places — grocery stores, drugstores, discount outlets and office supply stores. Here are some examples from two of the big office supply chains:
Office Depot will be open late Friday evening, with additional savings on school supplies between 9 p.m. and midnight. Sales tax holiday items range from a Crayola Color Disney Book for $3 (regularly $5.99) to an HP dual-core processor laptop for $329.91 (regularly $379.91).
At rival Staples, school deals that run this week through Saturday include a two-pack of 80-sheet mini-composition books for a quarter to 100-sheet, one-subject notebooks for $2.
And it’s not just stores riding the back-to-school bandwagon. Vinings restaurant Big Chow Grill, for instance, is giving away a back-to-school supply pack with the purchase of a kids meal. The offer is valid through Sunday, while supplies last.
What’s your back-to-school shopping strategy?
Planning to do your back-to-school shopping at one place or look around for the best deals? Or do it all online?
What’s the one item you’re really hoping to snag at a super scarfo-bargain price?
In print, our Deal Spotter section in Thursday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution is full of great local deals and exclusive offers.
– For the AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog