Diann Douglas: Make A Plan For Tax Free WeekendAug 1st, 2013 | By Jacob | Category: Editorials
Can’t believe it is time to get ready for another school year, but for the next two weekends, Madison families can take advantage of the tax free shopping for school. Starting this weekend, August 2-4, it is tax free in Florida, a great time to buy back-to-school items for your kids. During the three day tax free weekend, no sales or local option taxes will be charged on sales of clothing or footwear selling for $75 or less. Likewise, any individual school supplies retailing for $15 or less or computer equipment selling for $750 or less will not be taxed. This is a great opportunity for families to save money on the items they would normally buy when getting ready for the new school year. Next weekend, August 9-10 , will be tax free weekend in Georgia, giving Madison residents a second opportunity to prepare for school. In Georgia, the limits are slightly higher; for clothing you can spend up to $100 per item, school supplies are $20 per item, and computer limits are $1,000. For most families, shopping for back-to-school can make a huge dent in the family budget. The money saved on taxes may not seem like much, but it can be a considerable savings overall. Since clothing and school supplies add up quickly, take time to make a plan for all of your back-to-school purchases. With a shopping plan on paper you will be able to make your money go further and eliminate needless purchases. The most often purchased items for back-to-school spending are clothes and shoes. Shopping for the new back-to-school clothes is always necessary because the kids have usually out grown like weeds during the summer months and can no longer fit in their clothing. It is important for families to make the most of your clothing dollars and there are a number of ways to do this. Before going to the stores, take a clothing inventory to determine what each child needs. Decide what clothes can still be worn, separate those that can be recycled or passed on to another child. Then, make a shopping list for new purchases needed to fill the wardrobe gaps and plan shopping trips to take advantage of sales. Since the weather will still be summer conditions, shorts from last school year may do the job for the first few months of school. New shirts and shoes may be all that is needed to start the year off. If your child is experiencing a growth spurt, it may be wise to purchase a few items now and buy larger sizes in a few months. School supplies are another large expenditure for back-to-school preparation. If you can obtain a list of supplies needed and make a plan to take advantage of sales, you will be able to save as much as 20 to 40 percent on school supplies bought during the sales. For a lesson in consumer decision-making, let your children be a part of the planning process to help them develop money management skills for the future. You may want to give each child a dollar limit for clothes and one for school supplies and let them look up sale ads in the newspapers and make their own shopping list. They can prioritize the items on their list according to immediate needs and a wish list of wants. You may discover it’s necessary to make some purchases now and postpone some until next a later date. Getting kids involved in the planning, selection and purchasing helps them become more financially responsible and aware of family finances. With your guidance, the experience will help enforce the idea that families have limits on the money they can spend at any given time, so a plan needs to be in place for best use of money. Planning for back-to-school expenses helps keep you on track with purchases that won’t put you into debt for months to come. Taking advantage of the tax free weekend helps reduce the total amount of money spent for school purchases. For more ideas on managing your money, contact the Madison County Extension Service. The University of Florida Extension – Madison County is an Equal Employment Opportunity Institution.