If you’ve got a lot of kids headed back to school this fall, a weekend of shopping without paying sales tax sounds like a great deal. But is it?
The KRIS 6 News Fact Check team looked into the holiday to see just how much you can save and how best to go about it.
Fact or Fiction: Can you really save on your back to school shopping during the sales tax holiday weekend?
The verdict: Fact. Tax-free weekend is a great way to save on back to school supplies, as long as you do your homework.
To take full advantage of the holiday, we found that you need to be prepared.
Doing your homework
One local resident, Michael Cruz, did his homework before hitting the storefronts this weekend.
"We’re just trying to buy some school clothes man, some shirts, some shorts, maybe some shoes, you know, for the kiddoes, for school," explained Cruz.
He had a plan when he went shopping and local experts said that’s key to saving during the holiday.
Making a list, and sticking to it
"I would suggest making a list of the items you do need and sticking to that list," advised Scott Kruse, Professor of Accounting at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.
Kruse said the lesson to be learned this weekend is undoubtedly to have a plan and stick to it. While there are plenty of savings to be had, getting distracted by things you didn’t come planning to buy can make a serious dent in your pocketbook.
The State Comptrollers Office predicts that back to school shoppers across Texas will save more than $80 million this weekend combined. Individual families are expected to spend about $700 on school supplies and clothes.
College expenses, meanwhile, mean that college-bound families will spend upwards of $1,000 this weekend.
"Now, where people get into trouble is when they go out to shop this weekend, they may buy things that aren’t needed," Kruze said.
Beware the siren call of sales, because impulse buys can really hurt your budget.
"Because they feel like they’re saving money if it was a sale, something to that effect," Kruze added.
One more thing
Even if you have your carefully planned shopping list ready and you’ve calculated your budget down to the last penny, there is one more factor to consider, the crowds.
"You also need to be aware of, is it worth fighting the crowds and all the lines and things like that," cautioned Kruze. "You need to weigh that with how much money you’re actually going to save."
The fine print
How much will you actually save? Well, if you buy something for $100, you’ll save around $8.00 for that item.
The average family will save about $60 this weekend. Keep in mind the average family will also spend around $700.
So do the math before you hit the stores.
To see what items you can buy tax free this weekend, visit our story here.
If there’s something you’d like for us to feature on our next Fact Check, email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org