While I don’t particularly miss Alaska, I do miss living in a state without sales tax. Even nicer, until I finally surrendered my old AK license, I was able to request an exemption from sales tax while in Washington state.
Now, sales tax is a definite concern — especially since impoverished Arizona double dips with both sales and income tax. (The sales tax just hiked up to 9.3% so it’s considerable.)
Given that fun fact, and being the miser that I am, I’m now actively trying to avoid sales tax when possible.
Obviously, we can’t avoid it completely. Whenever we go out to eat, we’ll be slapped with it. Groceries have a lower rate, but sales tax is charged, nonetheless. And when we need an item at the last minute (or, really, less than a week ahead of time) we really don’t have much choice in the matter.
But when it comes to stockpiling, I have a lot more leeway.
Right now, for example, I’m trying to stockpile things we use. Mainly, this is because Bing cash back is going away. While cash-back rates were even higher as Father’s Day approached, I went ahead and scooped up as many deals as I could. I picked up a host of Philosophy products, a couple of pairs of shoes for myself, some shoes for when Tim’s finally wear out, plus day-to-day needs like extra sunscreen.
But I wasn’t just stocking up on good prices and good cash-back rates. By shopping online-only stores, I was saving nearly 10% right off the top.
Considering that Tim uses seven different Philosophy products, which range between $25-65, that’s a big deal. A really big deal, in fact.
Of course, this is easier in some areas than others. We can buy some groceries at Amazon — and I plan to do some more research about what’s available — but the majority of purchases will need to be made in brick and mortar stores.
And when it comes to cat food, I’ve yet to find an online store that consistently offers free shipping. Ditto on cat litter. Until I do, the bags we get at Costco will have to suffice.
Likewise, clothes aren’t an option. I need to try things on, which pretty much necessitates a brick and mortar store.
But for things like sunscreen, makeup or even toilet paper, you can’t beat a lot of online drugstores. Their pricing can be better than regular stores, you can get cash back and, of course, no sales tax!
I mean, seriously, have you ever thought about how much sales tax you spend on toilet paper? Unless you are a devoted couponer, it’s probably pretty significant. And all for an activity that you can’t even talk about in polite society! Or, really, any society, I would hope.
Of course, if you get movie passes — either on eBay or through My Coke Rewards — you won’t pay sales tax either. Well, so long as you don’t upgrade to 3-D. There are also plenty of coupons for free drinks or soda, thereby avoiding sales tax that way, too.
This hardly an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are plenty of things to add. Anyone have experience buying things online that most people just pick up in person?