Sales Tax Holidays Can
Although the events are generally designed to help parents and students save money on school supplies, some of the things that professional truck drivers might want to look at -- depending on the state where you're traveling or where your home support team is located -- are clothing, footwear and computer equipment.
Where to Find Details
A list of the 2014 State Sales Tax Holidays has been compiled by the Federation of Tax Administrators. Many of the states have their holidays early in August.
The list includes links to each state's specific tax holiday information.
Please make a note of the following things:
Digging further, here's an example from the state of Tennessee this year:
First, this list of State Sales Tax Rates and Food and Drug Exemptions tells you how much tax you could be saving: In Tennessee, that's 7% sales tax.
Second, see on the sales tax holiday listing that Tennessee puts a cap or maximum cost on qualifying items clothing, school supplies and computer equipment.
Third, we clicked on one of the three items being limited (clothing) and found a list of items that qualify. The sales tax holiday doesn't cap the overall amount of clothing purchased but the cost of each item.
Fourth, Tennessee specifically states: "Clothing items costing more than $100 or any clothing purchased for use by a trade or business is not exempt from tax." If you plan to use clothing for personal use, that may be different.
Notice restrictions like this for the state where you intend to make purchases.
Once, we knew a sales tax holiday was coming up in a neighboring state. We talked with the management of a computer store where we wanted to buy items toward building a desktop unit from scratch. They let us pre-select the items we wanted and held them in the back in a shopping cart with our name on it until we came in during the sales tax holiday and purchased them: no sales tax! We saved over $75.
Several times, we have gone shopping for clothing on the sales tax holiday target weekend. Men's blue jeans aren't cheap, especially in the big and tall size that Mike wears. We've also saved a bundle on other clothing items like underwear and socks.
Our home state of South Carolina has a pretty generous list of items that qualify for savings, including computers, computer software and bed linens.
Other Ways to Save Money
As we've mentioned before, we have saved money on clothing by shopping at thrift stores. Vicki has purchased some really lovely shirts (casual and dress) for Mike for $1 each at her favorite thrift store in Columbia, SC.
Will truck stops really be charging no sales tax on qualified items? They're supposed to. If they don't, ask why they don't.
We don't normally recommend shopping for clothing at truck stops because the prices tend to be higher (at least in our experience). However, we have found some good buys at truck stops.
For example, the shirts we are wearing in the photo at right we bought at a truck stop on sale.
No defects. Perfection condition.
Just marked down.
If you have success saving money on one or more sales tax holidays, let us know what you bought and how much you saved.
Money saving tip: Multiply the total amount you intend to spend by the sales tax rate of the state or jurisdiction you shop in to calculate your savings.
For example, If you intend to spend $200 on clothing and another $50 on shoes -- and you live in a state with a sales tax of 6% and all of those items qualify for no sales tax -- you will save:
$250 * 6% (or .06) = $15
What could you do with an "extra" $15?
To save even more money, use a cash back rewards credit card that "pays" you to use the card as long as you pay off the balance promptly. Don't let your savings get swallowed up in interest charges. Not only that, but make sure you sign up for any additional savings by using the card. One credit card we like to use allows up to 5% cash back on certain products purchased during certain months of the year.
Budget certain purchases for certain times of the year. For example, many parents buy clothing for their children just before the start of school. If that time of year doesn't work out for you, find a time that will. Hopefully, you'll be able to coincide your purchases for a time when you can combine several savings at once.
Don't fall into the trap of buying things just because there is a sales tax holiday going on. If you genuinely need -- or foresee that you will need -- an item, fine. Some people overspend because in their minds it is "justified" because they saved money. Evaluate your needs and priorities.
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