Southwest Florida families benefit from back-to-school tax holiday

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With the summer more than halfway done, parents everywhere have one thing on their minds: back-to-school shopping. Buzz60

Department stores and shopping malls were buzzing with high-pitched voices Friday as children joined their parents to take advantage of the first day of the back-to-school tax holiday.

As part of the statewide event, school supplies priced at $15 or less and clothing and footwear $60 or less will be available to shoppers tax-free through Sunday.

Click here to see a full list of tax-exempt items.

At Target on Immokalee Road in North Naples, Gretchen Wood browsed the aisles with her three children in tow. The family’s shopping list included markers, glue, notebooks, scissors, lunch boxes and a backpack.

More: Back-to-school tax free shopping to begin Friday and include clothing, supplies

Wood said it was her first time taking advantage of the tax break and she expected to save a significant amount.

“With the three of them, it adds up pretty fast,” she said.

Wood’s daughter, Ella, 8, a third-grader at Vineyards Elementary School in North Naples, said she was hoping to find a unicorn lunchbox. Her sister, Abigail, 7, a second-grader at Vineyards, said she was focused on finding a unicorn and cupcake lunchbox, as well as multicolored folders. 

“I want pink, green, yellow and blue — one of each,” Abigail said.

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Budgeting for back to school season could save you a lot of money in the short run and set an example for your children in the long run. Buzz60

At Miromar Outlets in Estero, parents pushed their little ones in strollers, toy shopping carts and front packs, while older children followed closely behind or clung to their parents’ hands.

More: Lessons in Shopping

More: Cross items off your back-to-school list with these tips

The mall will host a Back-to-School Bash on Saturday, featuring special giveaways, including four $500 Miromar Outlets shopping sprees, a fashion show near Kate Spade New York, live entertainment and makeup tutorials. Throughout the holiday, Miromar shoppers can benefit from the tax break as well as store-specific sales and coupons.

“With the tax holiday and the sales, it helps a lot,” said Rachel Bohn, who was visiting from Brandon, Florida, with her four children to take advantage of the outlet’s large selection.

Bohn plans her back-to-school shopping around the tax holiday each year, she said.

Because she hadn’t yet received a school supplies list from her children’s teachers, Bohn was focused primarily on finding shoes and clothing deals.

Waiting in line to check out at Rack Room Shoes, where there were buy-one-get-one-half-off deals with certain brands, Bohn’s daughter, Emily, 3, showed off the trendy pink sneakers she picked out for her first day of preschool.

“I like them because they have sparkles and they light up,” Emily said.

Unlike last year, this year’s savings will not be extended to tech items such as computers and printers.

More: The right credit cards can give you a break on back-to-school purchases

Savings opportunities also were limited in 2016 when the holiday was shortened from 10 days to three and the eligibility threshold for tax-free clothing was reduced from $100 to $60.

Collier County public school students are scheduled to begin classes Aug. 15. Lee County public schools are set to start classes Aug. 10.

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