Consumer Alert: Insider tips on ways to save your back to school buck

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Back-to-school shopping can be a budget buster.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-age kids are expected to spend almost $850 on clothes and supplies. And in states across the country, Friday marks the beginning of tax-free weekend. That’s when state and local sales taxes are waived, and you shop tax-free. So of course I checked to find out the dates for New York’s tax-free holiday. And you guessed it. We don’t have one.

But here’s what we do have. I looked up data from the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. All year, clothing and footwear are exempt from the state’s 4% sales tax for everything less than $110. But you have to still pay the local tax. In Monroe County, that’s 4%. And I have good news for college students: Your textbooks are exempt from state and local taxes.

Now to those back-to-school electronics. Consumer Reports says August is a great time to find sales on those products. So I looked up their recommendations for the products that performed well in their tests and are on sale right now.

The Mac Mini is on sale for $649 on Amazon. That’s $50 off, and Consumer Reports said it’s fast and performs well.

Consumer Reports tested this router and gave it a thumbs up. They found the Netgear Orbi Mesh router system on sale for $97 bucks on Amazon. But I checked for you. That deal is gone. The best price I found on that system was at Walmart for $122.

And Consumer Reports says the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet is tops. It’s now on sale on Amazon for $549. You save $100.

As for when things go on sale, it helps to know the store’s schedule. Target has a different day it marks down each department. On Mondays, it marks down children’s clothes and electronics. And markdowns happen every two weeks. The first markdown is 30% off. Two weeks later it’s 50% off and in two more weeks, it’s 70% off. Shopping at Target on a Monday gives you a chance to get new mark-downs before they’ve been picked over.

At Walmart, clearance markdowns generally occur the first five days of the month. Here’s how you can tell if you’re getting the lowest price. If the price ends in a seven, that’s the original price. For example, let’s say the price is $24.97. Because it ends in a 7, you know that’s the original price. If it ends in a five, the item has been marked down once. If the price ends in a one or a zero, that’s the final markdown and the best price.

Here are more ways to save on the site, The Krazy Coupon Lady.