Amy Long, AVP, Branch Customer Service Manager
Parents are preparing to send their kids back to school – which means their shopping lists are quickly filling with clothing and other needed supplies.
For Ohio residents, the good news is, you can make your money go the extra mile by planning your back-to-school shopping during the statewide Sales Tax Holiday! Every year, during the first weekend in August, Ohioans get a pass on paying tax on specific school-related items. In 2023, the holiday will run from Friday, Aug. 4 at midnight through Sunday, Aug. 6 at 11:59 p.m.
With the weekend fast approaching, how can you make the most out of it? Here are some of our top tips.
Have a Back to School Shopping Plan
Before you head out the door, think about what types of purchases you plan to make, and take the time to review specifically what is and isn’t exempt.
Pencils and glue are one thing, but some school supply lists include headphones, graphing calculators, and more. Whether inexpensive or pricey, having a plan and shopping around could help you save big bucks.
According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, the following items qualify:
- Clothing priced at $75 or less
- School supplies priced at $20 or less
- School instructional material priced at $20 or less
Keep in mind, items used in a trade or business are not exempt under the sales tax holiday. For a more detailed list and answers to common question, go to the Ohio Department of Taxation website.
Know Your Stores
Think about where you are going to shop and do some research.
Read customer reviews and check for complaints logged with the Better Business Bureau or the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
By reading reviews, you can get a clearer picture of where your sending your business and hard earned dollars. Learn from others experience and decide what stops align with your service and budgetary needs.
Another piece of information to have handy? Return policies. In Ohio, retailers can set their own rules when it comes to returns. However, Attorney General Dave Yost says, “they must clearly tell you their policy before you check out or complete a purchase.”
Stores must also clearly disclose exclusions and limitations to advertised sales or deals, including those online. So before you buy, make sure you review their terms and conditions carefully.
Protect Your Personal Information
When hitting the stores in person, don’t carry around unneeded credit cards or other forms of sensitive information in your purse or wallet. And when shopping tax free online, limit giving out your personal information.
Research the websites you plan to use. Make sure you understand its privacy policies and look at how the site will use your information – and before you enter any payment information, make sure your connection is secure. Look for a lock symbol or the “s” in “https”.
Even after you make your purchases, it’s a good idea to stay on alert. Regularly check your bank accounts for any unauthorized charges or activity. At Waterford Bank, it’s easy to set alerts and manage your accounts in online banking with our real-time alerts service or on our free mobile banking app.
Back to School Financial Education and Beyond
While you budget for your purchases and hunt for the best deals – don’t forget this is a great real-world educational opportunity to get your students involved and thinking about their finances.
Did you know that only 21 states in the U.S. require high school students to take a personal finance course? That’s according to the Council for Economic Education’s 2020 Survey of the States.
No matter their age, increasing your student’s financial literacy can help put them on the path to financial security and generational wealth that builds stronger families and communities.
At Waterford, we are committed to teaching financial education and banking basics to our local students, educating hundreds annually.
To further your family’s financial education, check out these online resources from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Money Smart Initiatives and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.
And don’t forget – community banks, like Waterford, offer personalized service and products that can help you fulfill financial goals at every stage of life. No matter where you’re at in your financial journey, we’re here to help you navigate the landscape with confidence.
About the Author
Amy Long is the AVP, Branch Customer Service Manager, supporting Waterford’s Downtown Perrysburg Office since it opened its doors in 2012. Always available to help in the office, drive-through, or over the phone – she enjoys getting to know customers beyond their business needs and sharing in their personal triumphs! Out of the office, she is an avid athlete and mom, who lives for family and a good baseball game. If you’d like to connect with Amy or learn more about financial education, please contact us here.