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Florida's back-to-school tax-free holiday ends this weekend, experts weigh in on how to save the most money

Back to School supplies
Posted at 6:10 AM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 08:33:49-04

TAMPA — This is the final weekend for Florida’s back-to-school tax-free holiday.

According to financial experts, the savings will start before you even leave your house.

“On the front end, determine how much you can spend,” said Kristina Ellis, personal financial expert and Ramsey personality.

Having a budget and sticking to it will be your number one money-saving tool.

“A lot of parents just kind of go in, and it’s just like this is what we have to get, and then they look at their budget later and go, ‘oh my gosh how did we spend so much money?’” said Ellis.

It’s important to make a list of everything you need to buy too.

“Really look at the list and determine what’s essential and what’s not. You know, not everything on that list is absolutely needed. Plus, you may already have stuff from previous years, so go back, look through what you already have, and make sure you’re not getting overlapping things,” said Ellis.

“Place limits on the number of shoes you’re going to buy, the number of jackets you’re going to buy,” said Kristin McGrath, shopping expert and editor for RetailMeNot.

Financial experts stress the need to make a plan of where you’re going to shop and research the deals ahead of time.

“Because it can be really easy to make those impulse buys, especially if your child is maybe with you,” said McGrath.

“See which big different stores in your area are having great sales and really pay attention to those,” said Ellis.

Technology is where you’ll see some of the biggest savings right now.

“So many retailers from Best Buy to HP to Lenovo are offering promo codes. Hundreds of dollars off laptops and tablets, so whether you’re a student or not, it’s a great buy. You won’t see that type of deal come around until the holidays,” said McGrath.

To add to those savings, these are some of the items that are still tax-free through Sunday for Florida’s back-to-school holiday.

  • Clothes, shoes, and certain accessories for $100 or less
  • School supplies for $50 or less per item
  • Personal computers for $1,500 or less
  • Learning aids for $30 or less

“Tax-free shopping is a great way to just automatically save on a whole wide range of school supplies. Just make sure it doesn’t encourage you to impulse buy things you don’t need because at the end of the day, sales tax being waived is a rather small discount,” said McGrath.

While lots of clothing is on sale right now, experts said there will likely be even better deals in a few weeks during Labor Day weekend.

“Parents can strategize by getting their kids something they’ve grown out of, maybe it’s shoes, and then waiting a little longer until Labor Day weekend to fill out the rest of their back-to-school wardrobe,” said McGrath.

However, when it comes to school supplies, it can be a little tricky to wait to buy those items because often, kids need certain things in time for the first day of class.

“But if you go right after school starts, retailers are going to be eager to get rid of any back-to-school items that are still on their shelves,” said McGrath.

If there’s a certain store you’re going to for most of your shopping, sign up for that retailer’s rewards program for extra savings.

"We’ve seen a lot of retailers these days offering exclusive savings for people who are part of their rewards programs. These programs are often free to join. Target Circle, we’ve seen some offers pop up that are only for members of the Circle Rewards Program. We recently saw Kohl's come out with a promo code that’s only for rewards members. So it’s free to sign up, just takes a few minutes and you can really save,” said McGrath.