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16 states are celebrating back-to-school season with tax-free weekends: Here’s what to watch out for

Written by Gabriel Moss · August 3, 2022
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TAX-FREE shopping weekends are rounding the corner in 16 states — DON’T miss out on your fair share!

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Sales tax is a pesky part of everyday shopping for many Americans, and it can make some purchases way more expensive than they first appear. Some states have sales tax rates which can climb to 7% (or higher, in California’s case), which means a $100 purchase, for instance, can quickly become a $107 purchase. 

The caveat here is many states which enact a sales tax will also hold annual tax-free shopping windows: specified time periods where tax forgiveness is issued to purchases made on certain items up to a specified amount per item, and this varies depending on the state’s policy. 

Barring a few lucky exceptions, the majority of states which honor such tax-free windows only offer tax forgiveness on items between $50–100, which means you probably won’t be skimping out on sales tax when buying the next LG OLED TV — that is, unless you live in a sales tax-free state such as Oregon.

Tax-free periods are great for avoiding sales tax on apparel items, low-cost personal electronics such as SD cards, and other school supplies. You might buy a ton of items in these categories for less than $100 per item, which means you’re likely to get the most savings during a tax-free shopping period. This is especially relevant now it’s August, the prime back-to-school shopping season. 

Here’s a quick rundown on each of the relevant tax-free shopping dates for 2022:

The List

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    SanDisk 128GB USB-C thumb drive
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SanDisk 128GB USB-C thumb drive

SanDisk 128GB USB-C thumb drive on white background
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SanDisk USB thumb drives such as the SanDisk 128GB Ultra Dual Drive are a safe and secure way to transfer data between home, school, and work without any fear of sensitive information being compromised on the web. They’re handy and can fit into your pocket, and this Ultra Dual Drive can conveniently hook into both USB-C and USB 3.1 ports due to its dualistic design. 

Everybody needs a good backpack, regardless of whether they’re trekking to the classroom or to the great outdoors. Adidas is offering a great deal on its Prime 6 backpack, just in time for tax-free shopping weekend, and it’s not one to overlook. It’s spacious inside at 12.5 x 11 x 20.25 inches, featuring five zippered pockets — the perfect amount of space for hikers and professionals, not to mention students shopping for a great all-purpose bag.

As we mentioned in our top graphing calculator picks back in June, the TI-84 Plus CE is a powerhouse of a calculator which offers the widest variety of functions to help with statistics, calculus, geometry, and more. It even plays games, though it may not be the most interesting device to play them on. In many states, this falls under the $100 item limit for tax-free shopping, meaning it’s the perfect time to stock up.

The TI-83 Plus is a fine calculator in 2022, and what it lacks in the sheer quantity of features seen in its counterpart (shown above), it makes up for in a much simpler interface and an arguably more navigable layout. This is an easy recommendation for K-12 students who are learning subjects like pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry.

Right now, you can buy a whole year’s worth of BIC Xtra-Smooth mechanical pencils for a paltry sum of cash. These 0.7-millimeter medium-point mechanical pencils don’t need to be sharpened as long as a #2 lead is installed into the point. They can be more tactile and easier to maneuver than any regular #2 pencils, but they also produce a much cleaner look on paper as well, making them great for tests or any other kind of day-to-day writing.

Every student needs a high-quality notebook filled with loose sheet paper that they can pull out at a moment’s notice — whether to do their homework or make paper airplanes with their friends. Regardless of the intended use, the 200-page Five Star spiral notebook is a steal, and comes with a note-taking app that can help you quickly translate your notes into flashcards and text documents in Google Drive.

Bringing a box lunch to school is a classic activity in many parts of the world, and that tradition is no less important in the United States. The Dickies basic insulated lunch bag is stylish and compact, and it can even keep your food and drinks at their original temperatures.

When we tested out 10 different Cheerios flavors back in June, we discovered an underappreciated top-tier flavor: Blueberry. If you’re getting tired of the original flavor, this fruity cereal treat could make a fantastic early morning or mid-day snack for students of all ages.

These Adidas Forum low tops are highly stylish and breathable, swinging above their weight in the basketball shoe scene since 1984. These make great trainers for the young athletes just entering their prime. But their black-and-white layout and flexible build, including the removable strap, make them timeless.

The Nike Hayward 2.0 is a great unisex backpack for all ages. It’s spacious and sturdy, with a polyester shell and adjustable straps, but the overall design is quite stylish as well. It comes in several different colors (not just black-and-white!) and the large Nike logo imprinted on the back is certainly eye-catching.

This midweight Antora jacket from The North Face promises powerful waterproofing, which can be especially useful as the hot days turn cold and rainy during fall. Not only is it a sturdy jacket, but it’s also highly fashionable with an array of different color options from black-and-gold to bright red.

The North Face offers its Antora jacket for women as well, and it comes in colors like black-and-wasabi (yes, wasabi) and gold-and-white, just to name a few.

Water bottles are an incredibly useful tool to keep yourself hydrated all day long, and this Brita water bottle actively filters out its contents as you drink, which can be great for turning tap water into tasty filtered water on the go. According to Brita, its filtration relies on a chlorination process facilitated by a replaceable filter, which means it’ll need some extra maintenance every now and again, but at least it comes with a built-in straw for easy sipping.

As it turns out, some schools still require their students to turn in physical copies of assignments — even in 2022. This is where the HP DeskJet 2755e comes in. For under less than a hundred bucks, it not only comes with six months of Instant Ink, a monthly subscription service that can help you save on replaceable ink cartridges each month; it’s also a photocopier and scanner, which can be useful if you need to turn any physical documents into digital documents.

Apple’s AirPods are still one of the most popular wireless headphones around. They can connect to almost any Bluetooth-compatible device for up to about five hours, they’re completely wireless, and they fit easily inside of your ears, making them a fantastic tool for late-night studying, listening to podcasts, or listening to music.

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About the Author

Gabriel Moss

Gabriel Moss

Gabriel has written about everything from the latest video games to other, rather obscure topics, like magnetic slime robots and black holes. His work can be found at websites across the net, including IGN, SlashGear, Fanbyte, GameSpot, VR Fitness Insider, Lifewire, and many others. When not pursuing one of his many hobbies, he enjoys taking long walks through the forest (assuming the weather is nice enough,) or heading to the local market to scout some deals. When not doing any of these things, he can be found taking a nap, but he may not enjoy being woken up.

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