Shop Smart on Sales Tax Holidays and Save Big

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Permanent Sales Tax Holidays

If the idea of sticking it to the tax man appeals to you, and you're up for a road trip, don't limit yourself to the states with brief tax holidays. There are five states in the US that never charge sales tax. If you live in or near one of them, you're probably well aware of this, but for lucky folks vacationing near one of these spots, it's nice to know. The five states are:

Alaska

Delaware

Montana

New Hampshire

Oregon

Use Caution Spending Money to Save Money

Finally, just as some people are nutty enough to drive miles out of their way for cheaper gasoline, don't make the mistake of road tripping so far for tax-free goods that your car eats up your savings. Gas prices have come down from their early summer high, but fuel is still pricey. Let's say you live in Columbia, South Carolina and you want to drive to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take advantage of the tax holiday. Here's the math.

That's 450 miles round trip.

Let's say you pay $3.70 a gallon to gas up your car.

And that it gets 30 miles to the gallon.

You'll pay at total of $55.50 for fuel.

At that rate, you'd have to buy $965 worth of merchandise tax-free to break even! If you're planning to use North Carolina's generous tax exemption to buy a computer, it might be worth it. But for peechee folders and pens, not so much.

On the other hand, if you live near a state border or in one of the East Coast states where everything is near everything else, it's a much easier sell. Me, I live in the District of Columbia, which is skipping its tax holiday this year because revenue is low. But Maryland and Virginia are both less than five miles from my house and they're both waiving taxes in the coming days and weeks. See you at the mall!

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