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Tax-Free Weekend Tips for Shoppers – Shop Smart on Tax-free Weekend

Dallas – Next weekend, Aug. 21-23 is Tax-free Weekend in Texas. The special holiday gives Texas shoppers a break from state and local sales tax. Shoppers have a potential savings of $6.25 to $8.25 for every $100 spent. With the recession affecting back-to-school budgets, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas (CCCS) recommends the following six tips for shopping smart duirng this year’s tax-free weekend:

1. Do your research. In addition to clothes, footwear and some backpacks, Texas families also receive a sales tax break on most school supplies up to $100 for use by a student in elementary or secondary school. The 81st Texas Legislature recently passed HB 1801 (2009) expanding the list of items qualifying from exemption from Texas state and local sales during the August holiday. Know what items are included before you shop by visiting http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html.

2. Stick to your budget. Just because it’s tax-free doesn’t mean you should go on a spending spree. Consider the savings are less then 10 percent. Develop a budget and stick to it. Don’t let the stress and crowds lead to overspending.

3. Don’t stress. If the stress is too much for you to handle, don’t worry. Retailers will likely have sales promotions throughout the first month of school. Check store Web sites and weekend circulars to find the best deals.

4. Stack your savings. Keep your eyes open for specials on top of tax-free items. Combine coupons, store specials and tax savings to receive a significant discount.

5. Don’t open department store credit cards. Retailers will be pushing you to open a store credit card this sales holiday by promoting extra savings. Be aware that these cards usually come with high interest rates that can easily create debt. The one-time 10 or 20 percent savings you’ll receive by opening one of these cards is not worth the debt and credit rating damage it could cause for years to come.

6. Don’t cram it all in. You don’t need to pick everything up during tax-free weekend. Back-to-school sales will usually extend into the first month of school so you have plenty of time to find those deals.

Go into Tax-free Weekend with a game plan that will help you keep to a budget and avoid the stress. For more information on budget or credit counseling, or one of our free classes, contact CCCS at 800-249-2227 or visit www.cccs.net.

About CCCS of Greater Dallas

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, Inc. is a nonprofit, community based credit counseling and debt management service. Established in 1974, CCCS Dallas and its affiliate offices provide financial education and counseling to consumers in-person, by phone, or Internet through their 24 locations in four states. CCCS Dallas is a HUD accredited counseling agency and serves as one of nine counseling agencies supporting the 888-995-HOPE Hotline. The agency is also a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the nation’s largest and longest serving national non-profit credit counseling network. To learn more about CCCS Dallas’ free seminars or the agency’s services, visit www.cccs.net.