Get ready for back-to-school tax-free weekend

STUART, Fla. - Some call it the Black Friday of summer. It's the annual back-to-school tax-free holiday weekend in Florida and it starts this Friday.

You should expect a lot of action at cash registers this weekend. The National Retail Federation expects the average family to spend $669 this year for back-to-school-supplies. That's up 5% from last year.

"You can find some of the best deals of the year now," says Kelly Tyko.

Tyko writes a column for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. She's their Bargainista and is already looking at weekend deals.

"If you're buying a couple pairs of shoes, if you're buying a backpack, those kinds of things," says Tyko, "It does add up."

She recommends making a list before you go shopping.

"A lot of times there are limited supplies," says Tyko.

You should also check the ads. Many newspapers will have ad inserts in Thursday or Friday editions. But don't be fooled by markdowns. Make sure it's a bargain.  Also, pay attention to the dates on ads. Stores may have different sales on different days. 

"On Sunday there are different penny or deals at Office Depot, Office Max and Staples than there are on Saturday," says Tyko.

Don't be afraid to ask about price matching.

"Look at Amazon," says Tyko, "Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us, Office Max and Office Depot match Amazon prices."

Remember there are limits during the tax free weekend. There's a $750 limit on computers. That means you will pay tax on the remaining amount if your computer is over $750. There's also a $100 limit on each piece of clothing, shoes and accessories. 

But not everything is tax free.

"A printer is but printer paper isn't," says Tyko, "I mean it's little things like that."

The Florida Department of Revenue has a list of exceptions on its website. The tax free weekend runs Friday, August 1 through Sunday, August 3.

Kelly Tyko will cover the exceptions and give you inside tips including online coupons in her column which will appears in Scripps newspapers and on www.TCPalm.com this Thursday.


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