Believe or not, it’s back-to-school time.
Fortunately, retailers have great sales this time of year to help lessen the blow to your wallet when buying school supplies and clothing. Make sure to take advantage of Tennessee’s 2012 Sales Tax Holiday, which begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 3rd, and ends Sunday, August 5th, at 11:59 p.m.
Tax-Exempt Items Include:
• Clothing purchases — $100 or less • School and art supplies — $100 or less• Computers — $1,500 or less
The holiday also includes purchases of qualified items sold via mail, telephone, e-mail, or Internet if you pay for them and the retailer accepts the order during the holiday for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period, according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue. For more information, visit tntaxholiday.com.
Maximize savings by buying supplies that are on sale. Office supply and department stores sell school items at rock-bottom prices this time of year. Stock up on items that will need to be replenished throughout the year, such as notebook paper, pens, pencils, crayons, and glue. It’s a good idea to “like” stores such as Office Max, Office Depot, and Staples on Facebook and subscribe to their e-mails to get a heads-up on upcoming sales. To ensure you can find sale items, get to the store early on the first day of the sale.
Before heading out, check closets and junk drawers for supply stashes, so you don’t waste money buying items you already have.
Sacrificing Quality May Cost You More
It may sound counterintuitive, but you don’t always want to buy the cheapest priced items if you sacrifice quality, especially on items that must last, such as backpacks. A $10 backpack may sound good now, but when the zipper breaks in October, you’ll need to shell out more money. Pay a bit more now, and you’ll save over the long haul. We swear by L.L. Bean backpacks at our house because they last several years — one backpack is about to start its fourth school year. At $34.95, that averages less than $9 per year. According to their website in July, some backpacks were on sale for $17.96. Buy high-quality three-ring binders, too. They get so much wear-and-tear during the year, you’ll be glad to have ones up to the task.
Another place to make an investment is uniform pants — especially if you have rough and tumble boys like mine. We always buy khaki uniform pants from gap.com. If you check the website often or subscribe to receive store e-mails, you’ll find out about great sales, which Gap has on a regular basis. Good quality materials last, period.
Easy Ways To Save On Clothing
Why pay full price for clothes when there are so many opportunities to save? The best way is to organize a clothing swap with a group of moms. Everyone brings clean, gently worn garments their kids have outgrown and leaves with “new” clothes. Organize clothing by size and gender and have everyone take turns choosing. Drawing numbers is a good idea. Donate unwanted items to charity.
Children’s consignment stores and sales also offer bargains. A few we like are Summer Kids (5004 Summer Ave.); Once Upon a Child (2200 Germantown Pkwy.); and Plato’s Closet (454 Perkins Ext., 2200 N. Parkway in Cordova; and 7090 Malco Blvd. in Southaven).
Here’s to a wonderful 2012-2013 school year.— Bargain Beth is freelance writer & bargain hunter, Beth Bartholomew.