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Back-to-school costs are skyrocketing. Here’s how to save with tax-free holidays

(NEW YORK) — From books to clothing to electronics, back-to-school shopping is around the corner for many families.

According to new survey data from the National Retail Federation, American families are expected to spend over $860 this year on school supplies. But with inflation hitting hard, parents are likely looking for a break wherever they can.

“We feel the squeeze like everybody else,” Lindsay Chamberlin, a mother of three in Florida, told Good Morning America. “Everything seems to be going up, but really the back-to-school deals have been really good.”

Seventeen states are now offering tax-free holidays for school supplies, cutting sales tax ahead of the start of school. In Florida, where many schools begin in August, the sales tax holiday kicks off Monday and runs until Aug. 7.

“This week is my Olympics,” Chamberlin said. “The savings really stack up, definitely with the tax advantage in the stores stacking their sales on top of it. We’ll definitely be finishing up our shopping by Friday.”

Which states are offering tax-free holidays for back-to-school supplies in 2022?

  •     Alabama (already passed; ran from July 15-17)
  •     Arkansas (Aug. 6-7)
  •     Connecticut (Aug. 21-27)
  •     Florida (July 25-Aug. 7)
  •     Iowa (Aug. 5-6)
  •     Maryland (Aug. 14-20)
  •     Massachusetts (Aug. 13-14)
  •     Mississippi (July 29-30)
  •     Missouri (Aug. 5-7)
  •     New Mexico (Aug. 5-7)
  •     Ohio (Aug. 5-6)
  •     Oklahoma (Aug. 5-7; only clothing items are exempt from sales tax)
  •     South Carolina (Aug. 5-7)
  •     Tennessee (July 29-31)
  •     Texas (Aug. 5-7)
  •     Virginia (Aug. 5-7)
  •     West Virginia (Aug. 5-8)

In addition, Illinois is offering a reduced sales tax of 1.25% on school supplies from Aug. 5 to 14.

For other ways to save, check cash-back apps such as Ibotta and Rakuten for deals and for computers and electronics, look for refurbished models, buy from certified sellers, check return policies and comparison shop.

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