Students Save On Back-To-School Shopping During Tax-Free Weekend

Saturday, August 8th 2020, 9:04 pm
By: Ashlyn Brothers

TULSA, Okla. -

Friday marked the start of tax-free weekend statewide with plenty of people taking advantage of a chance to save some money. 

Walmart representatives said it's a common misconception, but tax-free weekend doesn’t apply to everything.

 "It helps get everything back to normal, and I think that's really important in times like these,” student shopper Nichole Bullock said.

Oklahoma is one of sixteen states offering tax-free shopping this year and has been for 16 years. Oklahoma’s current state sales tax rate is 4.5 percent.

"Now's the time to [participate] because you could save, you know, quite a bit of money,” shopper William Goodall said. “Depending on your financial situation, that could go towards food or clothing or whatever else you might need.”

Oklahoma retailers are required to not collect sales tax on footwear and clothing items that cost less than $100 through Sunday.

“They will take advantage of that [tax-free weekend] and come to the stores and shop for the clothing items,” Walmart Broken Arrow store manager Frankie Catlett said. “And they just load up, kind of, on basics. You just need t-shirts, socks, underwear.” 

Bullock’s friends agreed with her, saying that saving a few extra cents goes a long way. 

"I normally have to pay my phone bill, my car insurance. I need to pay for gas, I need to pay for school supplies, school clothes, everything like that," student shopper Sarah Thompson said. “So, with tax-free weekend cutting off the tax on my school clothes, it really helps out for me to be able to do other things with my money.”

"It helps people like me whenever you just need a little bit off and you're just in a poorer situation,” student shopper Destin Barnes said. 

Stores like WalmartTarget and Academy offer online shopping and curbside pickup for customers who don't feel comfortable shopping in-store. The Best Buy at the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center has masks and hand sanitizer readily available. 

“Our online shoppers, when they go out to the car to dispense, they don’t even have to have any type of contact with the customer,” Catlett said. “The customer can pop open their back trunk and we will load it in. We no longer have to have them even sign that they accepted the order. They can just wave to us and drive off. That way, there’s no contact with anybody in our stores.” 

The sales tax holiday doesn't apply to rentals, certain accessories or special clothing designed for an athletic activity or protective use.

Catlett said Walmart’s major selling point is one-stop shopping, as it allows customers to get everything at one store and “decrease the exposure that you could have in a COVID environment.”

Walmart also has regular rollbacks on electronics and its back-to-school section.   

“We’ve already capped out for the day [as of Friday], so that means that any slot that we had for our online orders has already been filled for [Friday], and we expect that through the weekend, and really expect that all the way up until our Broken Arrow schools start here,” Catlett said.  

Meanwhile, separate from tax-free weekend, Best Buy is offering student deals on laptops, tablets and phones. 

"We just want to make sure that you're fully taken care of with knowing that we cover all options,” Best Buy operations supervisor Kiana Nelson said. “Also, with one-on-one sales consulting, we’ll make sure your student has exactly what they need for their education. We’ll be here to hear you out in every situation from their career, their major and so forth. We’ll make sure they have exactly what they need.” 

Nelson said Best Buy’s Geek Squad is also ready to serve your student’s needs, whether it be in the store or across the country as they move back to campus. 

Tax-free weekend ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, so if you don't get the chance to shop in-store, you can still save online.