Valdosta Daily Times

August 4, 2013

It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . Sales tax holiday!

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

SAVANNAH — Well my dear budgeteers, it has been one of those weeks. On top of a stomach bug and complete chaos at work, my little Chihuahua Lucy discovered the sweet, deliciousness of used dental floss. We're not totally sure how much she ate out of the bathroom trash can, but so far two of her evening constitutionals have been more of a team effort than I prefer.

On the plus side, her toots smell like mint and I have no doubt that her bum is as clean as a whistle.

However, knowing that the most wonderful time of the year is next weekend has kept me going. Yes, I'm talking about the creme de la creme of budgeteer holidays, the one that we train for all year long . . . Sales tax holiday!

That's right, in Georgia, during the weekend of August 9-10, you will be able to enjoy no tax on clothing, footwear and so much more. The exemption excludes clothing accessories such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches and watchbands.

Obviously the state has ignored my many emails and for one reason or another has failed to consider the deep-seeded repercussions of excluding jewelry. Like seriously, nothing is more devastating than having the perfect outfit only to have nothing to accessorize it with.

But I guess that's why there is no Georgia Fashion Week.

Despite my disappointment, the sales tax exemption still does apply to a lot of items that will really help you stay on budget. These quintessential items include:



All School Supplies

All general school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less. This includes items such as backpacks, pens, pencils, rulers, glue, notebooks and more.



Clothing and Shoes

All clothing and footwear that does not exceed the price of $100 per item.



Computers

All computer purchases of $1,000 or less are exempt from taxes. This includes personal computers, laptops, and hand-held devices like iPads and Kindles. Cell phones, computer games, gaming systems, MP3 players and computer related accessories are not exempt from taxes.



For a full list of exempt and taxable items, go to Georgia Department of Revenue's website at https://etax.dor.ga.gov.

While the sales tax holiday is nothing short of a budgeteer miracle, you still have to not throw caution to wind when shopping. Like any other shopping assault, you must diligently develop survival tactics:

• Be sure to make a list of only the items you need so that you are not distracted by all the things you don't need. Shiny signs and big red sale stickers are landmines designed to kill your budgeteer spirit and drive you into (dare I say it) buyer's remorse. Make sure to set a budget for yourself so you don't overbuy and overspend.

• Make a list of stores you plan to hit. Traffic is usually pretty crazy this weekend, so don't add to the stress by trying to figure out your next attack on the fly.

• Once you have developed your list of stores, check The Valdosta Daily Times for back to school ads from local retailers. This will help you figure out which items you need to buy at what store.

• While I don't usually encourage buying in bulk, this is one time of the year where it is necessary. You know your kids are going to go through lots of paper, pens and pencils, so don't just buy enough to get them started. Get enough to last them for the year. But remember, only do this for the really essential items and only if they are at a super good deal.

For those of you wanting to get a jump start on your tax free shopping, Florida's sales tax holiday does go through today, Sunday, August 4 until 11:59 p.m. While their sale is not as good as Georgia's, you will be able to enjoy:



• No sales tax on clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $75 or less, per item.



• No sales tax on certain school supplies selling for $15 or less.



• No sales tax on personal computers and certain related accessories selling for $750 or less, per item when purchased for non-commercial home or personal use.



That's all I have for you this week, budgeteers. May the fiscally responsible force from Clark Howard be with you and remember, even in the name of saving money, misdemeanor simple assault is still a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines (yikes), so keep your feistiness in check.