Sunday, August 22, 2010

Texas Back-To-School Tax-Free Weekend

You know summer is almost over when the newspaper announces that it is time for that annual ritual, the Texas Back-To-School Tax-Free Weekend! During this annual event, the Great State of Texas suspends the collection of sales tax on a wider variety of purchases. These include clothing (under $100 per item), backpacks, lunch boxes, "school supplies" (pens, pencils, paper, binders and such) and other "necessities" for those returning to the classroom for the fall.  The full list can be found at the Texas State Comptroller's web site.

All this year, the newspapers and politicians have been telling us that inflation is nearly zero. They lie, big time! Even with the "big" sales, the prices of t-shirts, Levi's (the only brand that lasts on the ranch), underwear and what-not are definitely higher than during last year's tax-free weekend! It is just fifty cents here, a dollar there and two dollars over there, but believe me, it adds up. Comparing last year's purchases to this year's, we bought fewer items this year, but spent almost $100 more. For example, the packages of underwear were fifty cents more, but contained one less per package. The printed T-shirts which were three for $10 last year were $5 each this year. Although we had a better selection of Levi's this year, we also paid $2 more per pair!

The real shocker came at lunch. Rather than grab fast-food, we prefer to sit down in a restaurant, relax and tally what we bought versus what we planned to buy. We ate in the same restaurant as last year. Last year, the bill was $40 before I added the tip. This year, the tab was $55 before tip!

In case you are wondering how I "remember" these price changes: I don't. We use Quicken Home & Business 2010 as our book-keeping system. I simply asked Quicken for a customized report!

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