Tax-Free Weekend: Secrets to saving big

Take a look at some of the items that qualify -- and ones that don't -- for the upcoming tax-free weekend.

(WXIA) -- A new study found that parents of children from kindergarten through high school will spend an average of $434 on back-to-school items.

This weekend will help shave that number down; you can shop tax free!

"Everyone is going to be having great sales, summer clearance, certainly, this is the right time of year," Lenox Square marketing director Lauren McNulty said. "Tax-free weekend is always a great weekend for us, sort of the Black Friday of the summer."

The tax-free holiday starts at midnight Friday and only extends to midnight Saturday, so McNulty says it's important to shop strategically.

Some of these savings are sneaky, so you have to be on the lookout . For example, paper is tax free this weekend, but envelopes are not.

There's a lot to keep track of, so we tracked down the best deals and steals.

"If you're picking up your regular pieces, look for stuff that will go summer to fall," McNulty said. "Staple pieces that will last with you as you go through the school year."

If you're looking ahead to Halloween, know that costumes are tax free, but individual masks are not.

Athletic wear, including skates, are covered, but life jackets and vests are not. Shirts, shoes and laces are all tax free, but umbrellas, sewing machines, wallets and watches are taxed.

McNulty says it's smart to check the whole list before you head out.

"The higher end items are not going to be included, some accessories are not included," she said.

The tax-free deal is available in stores as well as online, so if shoppers can't get to the mall, they can get to their browser to shop the best prices.

A number of malls are hosting extended hours so you have more time to take advantage of the deals.

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