TAMPA, Fla. - Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday starts at 12:01am on August 4th. To help you get the most bang for your buck, we hit the stores in search of the best bargains.
Action News Anchor Lindsay Logue took a sample back-to-school supply list from a Pasco County elementary school and shopped at Target, Walmart, and the Dollar Tree. The list included items like #2 pencils, Expo markers, 1” binders, prong folders, scissors, tissues, and glue sticks.
Don’t get trapped in a store’s back-to-school section. At Target, for example, we found the markers, crayons, and colored pencils in the back-to-school area were all brand name. On the particular day we shopped in late July, the 24-pack of Crayola crayons were 50 cents. We found a 24-pack of Target brand crayons in the office supply section for just 27 cents.
Price compare and use helpful apps like ShopSavvy that allow you to see deals at several stores at once. For example, you’ll find composition notebooks at Walmart and Target for 50 cents. You’ll see that they’re $1 each at the Dollar Tree. Also for $1 at the Dollar Tree was the 1” binder. At Walmart the binder was closer to $4.
If you want to get ahead of the game, buy a pack of pens in bulk. Most back-to-school supply lists ask for one or two for the year. A 10-pack at Walmart is 97 cents and should last 5 years.
Splurge or Save?
Splurge on a good backpack. L.L. Bean and Jansport, for example, have lifetime guarantees and sturdy bottoms and straps. You can get years out of the same backpack versus one with poor stitching and flimsy material.
Save on fall and winter clothing. In Florida, you won’t need it until mid-December anyway! Consumer experts say you’ll find better deals on sweaters, jackets, and long-sleeve shirts in-season.
In the end, with a 28-item list and doing the best bargain shopping we could, here’s how we added up:
Dollar Tree: $28
Online versus in-store
We compared all of the in-store items to their respective store’s websites and found comparable prices but make sure you check shipping policies. Sometimes you have to spend a certain amount to quality for free shipping.
The tax free holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on August 4th and ends at 11:59 p.m. on August 6th. Items exempt include:
School supplies selling for $15 or less
Clothes, shoes and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item
Personal computer and computer accessories for noncommercial use selling for $750 or less
The sales tax holiday weekend does not apply to rentals or leases of eligible items, repairs or alterations of eligible items, or eligible items in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport.