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Sales and a Tax Free Holiday to Ease the Burn of Back to School Shopping


In 108 degree weather it is hard to think about anything other than the location of the nearest air conditioner, much less plan ahead for the upcoming school year ... or next year for that matter! The truth is: this is the best time of year to save money on clothes and supplies.

Even though we are still sweltering away, local and big box stores alike are starting to stock up on fall and Back to School clothing. This means that if you keep your eyes open, you can find great deals on this season's clothes. I like to browse the sales racks and pull great deals in next year's sizes for my kids. This weekend at Old Navy I found their kids' swim suits marked down to $5 and was able to purchase one for each of my two oldest kids that I can tuck away for next summer. I also found some shorts marked down to $3 and a couple of shirts for $2. MUCH nicer than the price tags they will have come next spring.

This time of year you will also find stores like JCPenney, Kohl's and Sears offering coupons for $$ off your in store purchase. If you plan ahead and combine these with sales they can be stretched a long way. The coupons range from $15/$25 purchase to even $10/$10 as the school year draws nearer.

Another great way to save money on clothing is to plan a road trip over to Missouri for the Tax Free Holiday. Every August Missouri hosts a "Tax Free Holiday" that allows tax exempt purchases as follows:

  • Clothing – any article having a taxable value of $100 or less
  • School supplies – not to exceed $50 per
  • Computer software – taxable value of $350 or less
  • Personal computers – not to exceed $3,500
  • Computer peripheral devices – not to exceed $3,500

This year Missouri's Tax Free Holiday is the weekend of August 5 - 7. I've shopped this sale before and I find that it is WELL worth the drive to Missouri. There are a LOT of people, it is CRAZY no doubt, but the sales on top of the Tax Free incentive is worth it to me. With a little pre-planning at home I can buy ahead for next year as well as find a few great deals on items we need right away and save a lot of money on our ever expanding "Clothe the Children" budget.

What are your best tips for saving money on Back to School expenses?


Katara 2 years, 8 months ago

Musical instruments qualify too. Actually there are a lot of things that qualify that you might not think would be considered back to school. House coats & house slippers qualify. Art supplies qualify. Backpacks & lunch boxes qualify.

This is why planning a shopping trip is key. You may find information that helps you out and helps keep more money in your pocket.


Katara 2 years, 8 months ago

"Are there price limits on the qualifying items during the Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday?

Yes. An article of clothing cannot exceed a taxable value of one hundred dollars. School supplies are not to exceed fifty dollars per purchase. Computer software cannot exceed a taxable value of three hundred fifty dollars, and personal computers or computer peripheral devices cannot exceed three thousand five hundred dollars.

For example, during the sales tax holiday a customer purchases a pair of jeans that costs $98 and a sweater that costs $114. The jeans qualify for the holiday exemption. But tax is due on the full cost of the sweater because it has a taxable value that exceeds the $100 limit for each article of clothing." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And for those folks who would rather not spend the gas money to drive to MO...

"Do items purchased over the Internet qualify for a Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday Exemption?

Yes, if the purchase of the qualifying item occurs during the sales tax holiday, is subject to sales tax, and the transaction is completed during the holiday. Delivery can occur after the holiday if the purchaser pays in full during the sales tax holiday."

Do the Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday thresholds include shipping and handling charges?

The sales tax holiday thresholds include mandatory shipping and handling charges as a part of the total purchase price of holiday related items.

Most likely the items would need to be delivered to a MO address but if you have friends or family who are willing to accept packages for you and send them your way, it would probably work. ~~~~~~~~~~~ As a weird side note, apparently diapers (both cloth & disposable) qualify under the clothing exemption.


Prairielander 2 years, 8 months ago

Right on Auntie! It's worth 8.85% just to stay out of the state of Mis-er-y!

On the real side. I'm not going to car pool with somebody to shop in MO. I don't like people that much. If you were to hit several shopping centers, it's probably a 140-mile round trip. At 20 mpg (mini-van mileage) that's 7 gals at $3.50/gal = $24.50. If you save $8.85/$100 spent, you'd need to purchase about $300 to break even. Just saying do the math and be an informed consumer.


bobberboy 2 years, 8 months ago

no tax free holiday. Sorry. Go ahead and use your coupons though.


autie 2 years, 8 months ago

Only a Hugo Chavez style communist would go to Missouri to buy stuff. What is up with this tax dodge thing anyway? I would never ever spend a dime in the state of Missouri unless absolutely if I was kidnapped and needed ransom or maybe if I was in danger of running out of gas to get out of that state...or....royals/chefs tickets, but that's it.


tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

I thought you had to prove you were from Missouri to get the tax free stuff.


Eybea Opiner 2 years, 8 months ago

This article says all we need to know about taxes. Money will flee taxes at every opportunity. That's why increasing taxes never helps an economy. We could do well to heed that lesson on a national scale.


mom_of_three 2 years, 8 months ago

this blog is about saving money- not saving money in Lawrence.
although it would be nice if kansas offered the same thing.


hail2oldku 2 years, 8 months ago

At $3.50/gallon of gas, you'd have to save a hell of a lot in sales tax just to break even.


Keith 2 years, 8 months ago

Good thing the LJW is making so much money they can afford to pi$$ off their advertisers. I bet this makes the ad salespeople happy.


kuslp08 2 years, 8 months ago

The tax free sale is only for one weekend. I'm sure Lawrence won't suffer too much. And in this economy, especially when you are trying to run a household on a budget, it IS what is in the bottom of the purse (which is probably not much, at least for me.) I personally love these tips and appreciate the work Jenn and Julie go to to help me save money. Thanks, girls!!


Jerry Jennings 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for encouraging business to LEAVE not only the town but the state! That's a sure-fire way to help the local economy and boost sales tax income and local financial improvement. There are plenty of bargains in town. You ladies need to look at the bigger picture.... which is NOT at the bottom of your purse.


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