COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - If you want to stock up supplies for the kids before they head back to school, this weekend is made just for you.
South Carolina's annual sales tax holiday weekend runs August 4-6. It begins at 12:01 am on Friday and runs through 12 midnight on Sunday.
Before you draw up that list of items like pencils, notebooks, backpacks, a new computer and maybe a few new school outfits, you might want to consider a good question.
Who gets the better end of the deal? You, the customer, or the retailer?
"I'm going to say it's a win-win situation for both parties," said Prof. Mark Rosenbaum, chair of USC's Department of Retailing. "Really what this weekend does, it changes the value proposition for a few days."
Rosenbaum says the the tax-free weekend can be about more than saving on sales tax. It's a chance to see what's out there if you're looking for more than just the usual back to school fare.
That's good for both the consumer and a business they might not otherwise visit.
"This is the weekend to explore the neighborhood," said Rosenbaum. "It's the weekend to shop the stores where the value proposition may have been slightly off, maybe a luxury store or maybe a small boutique. It's a great time to get an incentive that wasn't there at another time."
Tax-free weekend doesn't only apply to the standard brick and mortar store.
If you want to avoid the crowds, and still scare up some savings, all it takes is Wi-Fi and a trip online to do some research and get the most bang for your buck.
And that piece of advice can work any time of year.
"There are deals to be had 24/7," said Rosenbaum. "For big retailers as well as frugal customers, there are better deals to be had online. Especially by going to sites like Retail-Me-Not or Coupon Cabin where you can have major incentives on demand."
State revenue officials say shoppers have saved anywhere from $2 to $3 million dollars in tax in previous years.
Knowing what qualifies as tax-exempt and what doesn't can make your planning much easier.
You can find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about tax-free weekend by clicking here.