Kay Murry of Smiths, Ala., contentedly wheeled a Wal-Mart cart full of merchandise to her car following a brief shopping trip at the bargain store's Phenix City location.
She was pleased because she'd just purchased a few much needed school supplies for her college-bound daughter, and, on most items, she paid no tax.
"I got a computer desk, a computer chair and shelf paper for her kitchen," Murry said smiling.
Last weekend, bargain hunters enjoyed tax-free shopping on the Georgia side of the Chattahoochee River. Now it's Alabama's turn to reap the rewards of the sales tax holiday. The state kicked off its tax-free weekend Thursday for shoppers looking for a break on certain back-to-school items.
Until midnight today, shoppers can skip out on state and local taxes on certain apparel, computers and school supplies.
That's exactly the type of merchandise Gloria Helmes and her 9-year-old grandson, Austin, were looking for Saturday morning when they stopped by the Wal-Mart on Highway 280 in Alabama.
"We're going to buy school supplies, clothes for him and shoes, a book bag and just whatever, you know, is on the list of things," Helmes said.
Most cities and counties in Alabama also are dropping their local sales taxes for the weekend. In Phenix City and Russell County, that will mean a savings of 8 percent on an applicable purchase. Other participating local areas include Lee, Barbour and Chambers counties.
This is the fourth year the state has implemented a sales tax holiday.
Murry and Helmes both said in these tough economic times it's important to them to take advantage of such tax breaks. According to the National Retail Federation, four out of five Americans said they are making changes to back-to-school budgets because of the economy. An NRF consumer survey revealed 56.2 percent planned to hunt for sales more often, 49.6 planned to spend less overall and 41.7 percent said they were purchasing more store brand and generic products.
"I mean just for instance the gas prices are starting to go back up now so you've got to pay attention to every little bit that you spend," Murry said. "You've got to be very careful about every penny that you spend."
Some Wal-Mart shoppers, like Daniel and Heather Moreno, had no idea that this weekend is Alabama's tax-free holiday, though Daniel Moreno said he did see the difference on their receipt.
"We noticed the difference," Daniel Moreno said. "Usually I watch our money add up, the charge of it and it's usually like $400 and something dollars and it as $350 today."
Heather Moreno said now that she knows she can purchase many of her three children's back to school items tax-free, she'll definitely be doing some more shopping before time runs out.