How to shop smart: SC sales tax holiday weekend

SC sales tax holiday lasts August 1-3. | Source: MGN Online
SC sales tax holiday lasts August 1-3. | Source: MGN Online

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Tax free weekend is underway to help you save some money on that back to school shopping, but expect stores to be packed. This year's sales tax holiday, will be much different than any other we've seen before.

It's the first year in more than a decade, North Carolina does not have a tax free weekend. Some out-of-state shoppers only have to drive a mile across the border, so expect the crowds to pour in, especially in Horry County. This is good news for stores, bad news for shoppers.

Stores say they're preparing to handle big crowds, and you should too. If you want to avoid them, it's all about timing. Store managers say mornings are the best time to beat crowds, especially before noon. Since many stores have extended hours, you may be able to shop earlier than usual. No matter when you hit the stores, the best tip is to go in with a plan.

"Look at the school supply list before they come in and see what they need online  before they come into the store and then they can purchase everything for that tax free holiday," said Kayla Whaling, Walmart Spokesperson.

If you hit the stores this weekend to shop, check your receipts - you could save up to 8.5 percent on taxes, depending on what you buy and where you buy it.

The National Retail Federation says shoppers will spend, on average, about $700 for back to school, that's up 5 percent from last year.

Shopping tax free means saving around $6 for every $100 you spend. All in all, South Carolina shoppers are expected to save about $3 million.

How much you save does depend on what you buy, not all items are tax free. While you won't be able to save on things like cell phones, jewelry and furniture, you will score tax-free deals on anything "back to school." Use this weekend to go after big ticket items, like laptops and tablets. Other tax free items include clothes, shoes, bedding and school supplies.

The holiday ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. If you can't make it to the stores by then or just want to avoid crowds, you can wait for online deals. Walmart is now having a Cyber Monday and you can expect more than 75,000 items on sale.

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