Tax free weekend on appliances begins

You may not know it, but this weekend, you can shop tax-free on certain items.

This is one of those quiet sales that you may not have heard about, but it gives you a chance to get energy-saving appliances without paying sales tax, and, on top of that, plenty of stores are offering even deeper discounts.

From light bulbs to washing machines, this weekend may be the best time to consider making a move toward energy conservation.

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, appliances with ENERGY STAR ratings are tax free. That means you can keep the 8.25 percent sales tax on qualifying items.

To make the sale even sweeter, stores like Home Depot are offering discounts on appliances beyond the sales tax incentive.

"Maytag is offering a 10 percent discount off the regular price, so you take that 10 percent and add 8.25 percent," Home Deport representative Zion Greenfield said. "Eighteen and a quarter percent off of retail is really a significant savings to the average customer."

At Best Buy, the store is also having a sale on top of the sales tax holiday. Appliances are being marked down 15 percent and shoppers have already come to map out the savings.

"We have had a ton of people come in that are doing price shopping and they are waiting on the weekend, so it is a good opportunity if you are looking for appliances -- now is the best time to do it," Best Buy representative Lance Mercier said.

ENERGY STAR-rated appliances are not the cheapest options, but they will save you money over time.

The tax free sale extends to washing machines, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, ceiling fans, refrigerators under $2000, and air conditioners under $6000.

You can save on small things, too, like light bulbs, but the tax free weekend has not gotten a lot of publicity.

"When kids go back to school it is heavily advertised, and this is really the first year that the local media and the national media have not told folks there is an ENERGY STAR weekend," Greenfield said.

Not all appliances have an ENERGY STAR rating. For instance, clothes dryers, freezers, stoves, water heaters, and heat pumps are not part of the tax free sale. While you'll be paying sales tax on those items, many stores have still cut prices.

The sale starts at midnight on Saturday, May 23 and lasts until stores close on Monday, May 25.

The sale also applies to online purchases; however, you have to buy during the sales tax holiday -- in other words, before midnight on Monday, May 25, and you have to have it shipped as soon as you buy the item.

You can also put something on layaway during the tax holiday and avoid paying sales taxes.

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