3 Strategies to Prepare for Tax Free Weekend
Has your countdown to school begun yet? Even if you’re clinging to the dwindling days of summer vacation, the school year is right around the corner and with it: Tax Free Weekend! While Kansas doesn’t participate in this grand tradition, you can still come across the state line to Missouri, where state taxes will drop to 4.225% and local rates drop to 5.45% from August 2–4.
Know what counts.
In Missouri, most everything you could think of to have a successful school year is included in the exemption of taxes. You can stock up on clothing, computers and software, graphing calculators, and the nearly-all-encompassing “school supplies.”
School supplies are defined as anything that a student would need in a standard school environment. So backpacks, pencils and art supplies? Yes! But a cushy new office chair? Sorry, nope.
Make a plan.
After you make your shopping list, make your trip efficient by seeking out a store that has everything you need in one place. More than independent stationery stores or electronic chains, your big box stores will likely have school supplies including electronics. As an added bonus, they may even tack on extra sales or promos to draw a bigger crowd.
You may be able to find tax exemption at certain online retailers for similar school-related items; however, you’ll still have to pay shipping and handling fees, so be sure to write that into your budget and strategy.
Shop essentials first.
While it’s not exactly Black Friday, Tax Free Weekend is still a veritable competition of shopping strategy. Have a list, know your stores, arrive early and stick to the essentials. Before you head for the unicorn-shaped erasers and superhero themed lunchboxes, focus on putting the must-haves in your cart first. Pencils, pens, backpacks—these are the big-ticket items that everyone’s eyes are on.
Getting your back-to-school shopping done in one fell swoop isn’t just beneficial for your budget. You can put the bags in the closet until the night before school and kick your feet up at the pool to enjoy the rest of your summer worry-free.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.