shopping_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

Lamont and Fran Finnie have nine children, ranging in age from seven months to 12 years. In order to provide the best for their children, they said, they have to watch for sales to do their shopping so they can get the most out of their budget.

Because they have so many children, they usually start shopping early, said Fran Finnie.

“We always shop the sales anyway but the school called to remind us not to forget the dates of tax-free weekend,” she said. “When I found out they were doing it again, I said to my husband, ‘Baby, they brought it back.’ I told him, ‘You know what? We’re going to wait’.

“I’m definitely glad they brought it back because it’s beneficial and it comes at the right time of the year. I don’t need it during holidays like Christmas; I need it during school shopping. A lot of people think tax is nothing but when you have so many, every penny counts.”

The tax-free weekend will run from this Friday through Sunday, Aug.13-15.  During the three days, Floridians will not pay sales tax on books, clothing and footwear that cost $50 or less, as well as school supplies that cost $10 or less.

It doesn’t matter how many items are purchased, as long as individually the cost meets the pricing criteria.

In the past, the tax-free holiday typically lasted seven to 10 days but budget constraints kept legislators from extending this year’s period that long.

Still, even if for a short while, parents are excited about the opportunity to stretch their dollars.

Lashawn Proctor agrees with the Finnies. The 31-year-old mother of two also regards the tax-free weekend as a blessing. When it comes to shopping for her 15-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, she plans on buying all she can during the werekend.

“I’m going to try and shop as much as possible and get what I can get. Tax free weekend is a blessing because of how much money we can save. I think they go overboard with these taxes,” Proctor said.

Zlina Eugene, too, is looking forward to the weekend to purchase items for her 6- and 7-year-olds.

“This is great because to be able to buy all you can without taxes is a big deal. You can’t beat that,” Eugene said.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist brought back the tax-free shopping to help parents prepare their children for school in the most efficient and affordable manner, according to a press release from Crist’s office.

“Our children deserve to have the resources and materials they need to be successful and competitive in the classroom,” the statement said. “I am confident this tax break will help students, families and businesses as they prepare for a new school year.”

The tax-free shopping is expected to save Florida families $26 million.

“It is important that we continue to alleviate the tax burden on Floridians, as well as seek ways to improve the economic future of our state,” Crist’s statement said.