Serious shopping requires some strategy, so we have a checklist of must do's before you hit the ground shopping this weekend.
Melissa Baldwin is stocking up on supplies and getting her two sons ready for middle school. But instead of waiting for the tax-free weekend, she is beating the rush.
"Crowds, I'd rather get it done ahead of time," she said.
But many moms say they will be back in the stores Friday to take advantage of the discounts.
Tip No. 1: Before you head out, shop your home first!
"You have got to be on a budget and stay on a budget," single mom Vicky Lopez said.
Lopez just checked each kids' closets before her back-to-school shopping spree.
"We just did our clean-outs last week as a matter of fact and then I make a list of everything that we need and try to save as much money as I can," she said.
Tip No. 2: Check the ads before you go shopping and make a list. Experienced shoppers like reyna hernandez have been doing their homework for weeks.
"Last week with the newspaper, they had better deals," shopper Reyna Hernandez said.
Tip No. 3: One stop shop by price matching.
Hernandez says it takes a little more time to plan when you price match but it's worth it. At Walmart, she doesn't even need to bring the ad.
"Trying, trying to save as much as possible," she said.
Other stores that price match include Target, Best Buy, Sears, Kohl's and Staples. Be sure to check each store's price match policy.
Tip No. 4: Shop for deals online before making your way to the shopping malls. School teacher Megan Gagante says she always checks online prices.
"I go to Amazon first. Usually I will price it out on the store, then with my iPhone I go to Amazon right away and then see if I can get it cheaper on Amazon," Gagante said.
And finally, if you are heading to a specific shopping center, check the website for coupons and sales. For example, The Galleria's website has "Deals" section with special promotions and coupons. We found $10 off coupon at Foot Locker stores. Over at the Houston Premium Outlets, their website has a free VIP club you can join. We found 46 offers valid this weekend, a couple that include 30 percent off your entire purchase.
Some stores will be offering extended hours but it varies from store to store even within the shopping center. Houston Premium Outlets is opening up early and staying open late this weekend. JCPenney is doing the same.