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With eight school-age grandchildren, we are checking closely on the No-Sales Tax Back to School extravaganza across the states. Most of the states are offering limits of $100 or less on clothing, and $20 or less on School Supplies, but some state limits vary so check closely; $750 or less for Computers and software.

Tips for getting the best for your dollar:

1. Plan NOW! Be sure to get the required lists for each of your children ahead of time. Budget a strict amount for each child for supplies, clothing, shoes. They can have a $40 backpack, if they’re willing to go skimpy on supplies and no designer label shoes. Help your kids learn to make value decisions by letting them choose the best scenario for their purchase.

2. Collect Coupons! While doing this you will see which stores are offering the best value for your money. Avoid trendy items as much as possible.We allow each child to choose one item with a favorite logo, preferably something they can carry all year (notebook binder, backpack, etc.) Encourage your kids to offer to do money-raising tasks to help with extras. Grandparents are great for justifying donations of a little support money.

3. Compare stores: Schedule at least two stores which let you use coupons and have the best discount on items your kids actually need. Remember, this is not the only time you are going to be able to get bargains. Some items you will actually want to wait to purchase after school starts.

So, the states coming up the quickest are those for this weekend:

August 2nd -4th Friday to Sunday.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

August 9th-10th and 11 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

  • Georgia
  • Texas

August 11th-17th Sunday to Saturday

  • Maryland! Yes for a whole week!

August 18th -24th Sunday to Saturday

  • Connecticut

Please be sure to verify individual state policies and dates as some had not yet been released at the time of this notice. Most important, do NOT spend more than you can pay cash for in the next 30 days. No teacher or administrator would want you going into debt and putting hardship on your family to get school supplies. Many schools have starter supplies to help families with back to school crunch. This is a great opportunity to teach your children to Buy Smart and still get a few things special to them.