The first day of classes for Sealy ISD is just around the corner on Aug. 24, and residents already have begun back-to-school shopping.
A back-to-school fair is set for 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 4, at Sealy Junior High. The event includes giveaways, face painting, dental and health information and one backpack with school supplies per child, while supplies last. Children must attend with an adult.
And as for stocking up on school supplies, consumers should approach shopping much the same as they buy groceries, said Joyce Cavanagh, a College Station-based Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialist in family economics.
“Find out what you already have and then prepare a list of what you need and try not to deviate from it,” Cavanagh said. “Figure out how much you can spend and stick to the budget. Avoid impulse buying.”
She said if parents take their children shopping with them, they should try to “tune out” any whining and begging and explain to them why you won’t be buying items they don’t need.
“This can be difficult, but it may also be a good teaching moment in that parents can show their children the difference between items they want and items they need, as well as how adults have to budget their money,” she said.
Here are some other tips from Cavanagh on how to be a more cost-conscious back-to-school shopper:
Cavanagh said an often overlooked opportunity is for consumers to buy school supplies during a sales tax holiday, set for Texas this year on Aug. 11-13.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar advised in a press release that the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced below $100 from sales tax, saving shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend during the weekend.
“Most folks won’t hear the back-to-school bell for another month, but it’s never too early to take advantage of the opportunity to save money on everything from ball caps to ballpoint pens,” Hegar said. “As the father of three young children, I know how these expenses can add up.”
Lists of apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free can be found on the Comptroller's website at TexasTaxHoliday.org.
This year, shoppers will save an estimated $87 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday.
Texas’ tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999.