7 Tax-Free Weekend Shopping Tips

Tax-free weekend shopping tips for single parent families

As a single parent, you've already learned by necessity how to make the most of every dollar, and back-to-school shopping is no exception. When you know you're going to wind up dropping a couple of hundred dollars on school supplies and clothing, the extra savings you can count on during your local tax-free weekend (or week) event starts to add up quickly. To maximize the savings, build the following tax-free shopping tips into your strategy:

7 Tax-Free Weekend Shopping Tips

  • 01 of 07

    Plan Ahead

    Mom and daughter buying clothes.
    Create a plan for tackling your state's tax-free shopping weekend with your kids. Photo © Kevin Dodge/Getty Images

    Plan major purchases around your state's tax-free weekend event. For example, if your state allows you to purchase school supplies, clothing, and shoes tax-free during the first weekend of August each year, use that time to purchase not just what you need right then, but what your children will need over the next several months. 

  • 02 of 07

    Compare Prices

    Mother and teenage daughter looking at laptop at home
    Sofie Delauw / Getty Images

    Use the sales circulars in your Sunday paper to compare prices on the items you wish to buy. In addition, visit the websites of several stores where you usually shop. For example, if you tend to buy your kids' jeans at Old Navy or The Children's Place, visit their websites during the tax-free week to find out which store is offering the better deal. Do the same for items such as school supplies, computers, and even sneakers. Knowing what these items typically cost will help you identify...MORE which deals are worth taking advantage of during tax-free weekend, and what can wait.

  • 03 of 07

    Read the Fine Print

    Hispanic mother and daughter shopping together
    Kevin Dodge / Getty Images

    Your state has probably set some limits for 'what counts' during its annual tax-free weekend. For example, some states limit the savings to items that cost no more than $100, while others exclude sports equipment and accessories. 

  • 04 of 07

    Use Coupons and Take Advantage of Special Deals

    Mother and daughter shopping for clothing
    JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

    Some states will not allow consumers to use coupons during a sales tax holiday. Visit your state's tax free weekend event web page to learn about the rules that apply in your area. Even if coupons are not permitted, though, pay attention to your local stores' advertisements for "Early Bird" shopping hours and special deals that can add to your savings during tax free weekend.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Pair up With a Buddy

    Parents Shopping with Daughter
    Ken Seet/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

    Bring another adult with you, especially if you'll be shopping with the kids. This way, you can take turns entertaining the young ones and waiting in line. Consider sharing your shopping goal and budgets with one another, too. This way, your buddy can help you stay on track and avoid the temptation to overspend or rack up unnecessary credit card charges. (Remember, in most cases, you'll pay more interest on a credit card than you'll actually save during tax-free weekend, so know when...MORE to say 'no!') 

  • 06 of 07

    Bring Snacks

    girl eats fruit
    Bethany Petrik / Getty Images

    It doesn't take long to for kids to get hungry, thirsty, and tired, and you know what that means: the crankiness factor goes up exponentially. Especially if it's extremely hot outside or you plan to do a lot of walking at an outdoor outlet mall, be sure to bring snacks and drinks with you when you head out for a long day of back-to-school shopping.

  • 07 of 07

    Know When to Call it Quits.

    Smiling young girl showing mother new shoes
    Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

    Be strategic in developing your tax-free weekend shopping game plan. Buy what you need most, or what will give you the most savings, first. This way you can wrap up when your kids hit the wall, without feeling the day was a wasted effort.