Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Ni­cole Vil­lal­pando nvil­lal­pando@states­man.com Con­tact Ni­cole Vil­lal­pando at 512-912-5900.

Tax-free week­end in Texas is un­der­way through Sun­day. That means an au­to­matic dis­count of 8.25 per­cent, the max­i­mum sales tax rate in Texas. It’s not as good as a 20 per­cent-off sale or even a 10 per­cent-off sale, but look for stores that are hav­ing sales on top of the tax-free week­end sale for the most value.

What’s tax-free this week­end?

■ School sup­plies: Bin­ders; back­packs and book bags; cal­cu­la­tors; cel­lo­phane tape; black­board chalk; com­passes; com­po­si­tion books; crayons; erasers; fold­ers (ex­pand­able, pocket, plas­tic and manila); glue; high­lighters; in­dex cards; in­dex card boxes; le­gal pads; lunch­boxes; mark­ers (in­clud­ing dry-erase mark­ers); note­books; pa­per; pen­cil boxes and other school sup­ply boxes; pen­cil sharp­en­ers; pen­cils; pens; pro­trac­tors; rulers; scis­sors; and writ­ing tablets.

■ Cloth­ing: Most cloth­ing; socks; most shoes; ties; coats; pa­ja­mas; swim­suits; uni­forms; un­der­wear; sports jer­seys; and sports hats.

■ Oth­ers: Adult and baby di­a­pers.

What’s not tax-free?

■ Ath­letic items: Sports shoes such as cleats or fish­ing boots; sports equip­ment; and sports cloth­ing used only for the pur­pose of a sport (so not jer­seys, swim­suits, sweat­pants and yoga pants).

■ Ex­pen­sive clothes: Any one cloth­ing item that is $100 or more doesn’t qual­ify for taxfree sav­ings.

■ Sewing items: Fab­ric, but­tons and zip­pers.

■ Ac­ces­sories: All ac­ces­sories, in­clud­ing jew­elry and watches.

■ Bags: Purses, lug­gage, wal­lets and brief­cases.

How do you deal with the crowds?

Have your list ready. Know which items you are go­ing to look for at which store. Group items to­gether (pen­cils and pens to­gether, note­book pa­per and printer pa­per, crayons and mark­ers, etc.)

Shop for more than just the school list. Shop for sup­plies for home, too.

Go early in the morn­ing be­fore the rest of the world is awake.

Or go late at night with­out kids, when kids are asleep.

Pace your­self. Don’t try to do ev­ery store in one day.

Ask your­self whether the 8.25 per­cent off is worth deal­ing with the crowds. If it’s not, save the shop­ping for a less crowded time, but don’t wait too long. Last year, many back-to-school aisles were taken down by the third day of school.


Landry Pur­cell, 3, helps her mother, Robin, shop for her prekinder­garten school sup­plies at a Wal­mart in South­west Austin on Fri­day, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the tax-free week­end, which runs through Sun­day. Crowds are ex­pected, so plan your shop­ping trip be­fore you head out.

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