Saving dollars during the back to school tax free weekend isn't registering with many parents

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla - Viola Anderson wants to be the hippest second grader when she returns to school in a couple weeks.

The 7-year-old knows she must get her hands on a Hello Kitty backpack and anything dealing with Disney's hit movie, Frozen.

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"I love to get everything Hello Kitty!" exclaimed Viola, who donned a pair of Hello Kitty sunglasses to get her shopping done.

Her mother Marta knew saving some dollars by waiting for the tax free weekend to begin at midnight could leave her with a disappointed little girl.

"Tomorrow is another day and it [Hello Kitty supplies] are not promised," explained Marta Anderson.

As Marta pushed her daughter, who leisurely sat in the cart pointing to anything Hello Kitty, Marta, a student herself, vowed to return to Walmart over the weekend.

"Oh, I am coming back tomorrow," she added.

The Florida Retail Association wants consumers to know during this year's tax holiday weekend there will be no state or local sales tax due on the first $750 of the sales price of personal computers and related accessories and the same goes for the first $100 of the sales price of clothing.

Last year, clothing items up to $75 or less were tax exempt.

With this year's changes, the Florida Retail Federation expects an average increase of at least 30 percent in store traffic over the weekend.

Floridians are expected to save at least $40 million over the tax free weekend, according to the FRF.

Despite the allure of saving some dollars, Mayra Rodriguez doesn't think it is worth facing insanity in the aisles.

"People do get vicious over school supplies, the pushing, the elbowing, running to get the last," said Rodriguez.  "I don't want to fight anybody over school supplies."

Rodriguez decided to do some shopping at the Walmart in Brandon today to avoid tomorrow's crowds.  She has two children, one heading into kindergarten and the other fifth grade.

ABC Action News picked out 17 tax exempt items, including an iPad and printer, to see how much a consumer like Rodriguez would save by waiting 24 hours to shop.  Our total with tax added up to $519.79.  The tax on our purchase was $86.78.  Shoppers who wait for the holiday to start would only pay $433.01 for the same items.

Workers at Walmart are assuring customers they have enough stock and will not run out, especially of popular items like neon pens and anything dealing with Frozen.

"We are ready," explained Betsy Harden, Walmart spokesperson.  "We know that it is a busy time."

Harden highlighted some of this year's hottest back to school items.

"If you are a parent, you know the movie Frozen.  So, we've got some exclusive Frozen and Captain America apparel, notebooks, some backpacks, everything Frozen," Harden said.

Other hot items include retractable colored pencils and according to Harden, anything neon.


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