Originally Posted on July 29, 2016


from Your Insurance and “Shopping” Ninjas

There are two things in life we can always count on – Black Friday shoppers and back-to-school shoppers on tax-free weekend. Both could easily be the most miserable but yet most rewarding experiences ever. I know I could easily just click a button on Amazon’s website for Rowan and Claire’s back to school list. But instead I choose to subject myself to the narrow aisles of Walmart on tax-free weekend-like a crazy masochist every stinking year! I am grateful that my friend Michelle joins me in this venture every year, and she doesn’t even have kids! I can’t decide who is the crazier one – me or her?

Kay standing next to a pig
Michelle in a Box

Last year, we even inducted my husband into our tax-free shopping at Walmart thinking that our dream team of 3 could move more efficiently. After having his feet rolled over by other shopping carts (since the aisles are so narrow in the back to school aisle), he said he would no longer join me in any sort of tax-free shopping in the near or distant future. Our dream team of three obviously was a short-lived dream!

As you can see, I understand the commitment it takes to endure tax-free weekend, because there are some of us, like myself, who keep showing up in those aisles of Walmart every year, hoping our toes stay intact and away from the competing shopping carts. And yes, it is a competition to get to the last glue stick sometimes. This year, I may even wear a helmet just in case some of those notebooks start falling down on my head and I have no place for me and my cart to go.

Tax-free weekend is July 29-31! I can’t prevent your toes from getting run over, other than telling you to drive your shopping cart defensively, but I can provide you with some tips below on how to have a game-plan for your shopping this weekend.


  1. Set Your Budget. How much can you afford to spend this weekend? It’s not worth saving 9.25% (sales tax) if you are going to charge your purchases and spend 15% in credit card interest over several months to pay-off your bill. Remember, if you can’t get it this weekend, school supplies go on sale after school starts.
  2. Make a List. Make a list of what you need, how many items you need, and sizes (if applicable). You can’t save big if you buy everything you need AND everything you will never use. (No, you will never use 300 pencils – unless you’re a math teacher). This List is NOT Helpful: Binders Pencils Jeans Sneakers It is not specific enough to save us money. We may buy too many items, the wrong size or the wrong color. This List IS Helpful: 3, 1″ binders (Tina likes blue or red, Sam likes orange or white) 2 pairs khaki pants for Tina, size 10 Get the idea?
  3. Search the Ads. You know to do this, but let’s be realistic. Do you have the energy to go to 5 stores? If so, that’s rad. If not, look at the ads for the 2 or 3 stores you’re willing to go to.
  4. Update Your List one of two ways. #1 is to write the store next to each item. #2 is to rewrite your list so that you have a list for each store. Next to each item, write the advertized price so that you can make sure you get the discounted item. Our updated list might look like this: WalMart 3, 1″ binders (Tina likes blue or red, Sam likes orange or white) $2 each
  5. Shop When You’re Full. We don’t imagine you’ll end up eating school supplies, but it’s not worth saving money if you have to spend it buying food on the way home.

(For more details on what items are eligible for discounts, as well as exclusions, see TN Sales Tax Website.)​

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