More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

Fashion & Finance: Saving money on the go

April 5, 2012

I love a good deal, and when I can get something on sale, use a coupon, scan a QR code for a discount, or use points towards my purchase, it always improves my shopping experience. It’s like finding a hidden gem in a vintage shop or thrift store, or finding exactly your size shoe on the sale rack… and it’s the very last pair. The thrill of the fashion hunt is exciting and makes shopping just that much more enjoyable for me and millions of others watching their wallets.

As a New York state resident all my life (growing up in Western New York, then 10 years spent in New York City, and now back here in Buffalo), I often made trips to visit friends and family in different states, and often take advantage of lower or no sales tax. I remember hitting the mall in Delaware with my best friend from high school, and getting a kick out of no sales tax with my purchases. Delaware sales tax currently is zero and is one of only five states that do not currently have a sales tax:

•    Alaska
•    Delaware
•    Montana
•    New Hampshire
•    Oregon

When I looked at the price tag in Delaware, THAT was the price, and it made my shopping trips with her all the more fruitful, saving me a couple of bucks. It made me realize that I should take advantage of saving money on the zero sales-tax rate while there, and get some of the things I had been eyeing in stores back home.

Now, when I travel for work or for fun, and see something I may want, I consider the difference in price, including sales tax, and if it’s in my best interest to buy on-the-go, or back at home.

I also take sales taxes and fees into consideration when I shop abroad, whether it a trip right over the border to Canada, or while on an overseas vacation. Prices for different goods and exchange rates vary country to country, and in addition, I am often hit with small international fees for using my credit or debit cards while traveling or visiting another country.

While U.S. and Canadian border crossings and many airports throughout the world have places where shoppers can access refunds on sales taxes, I also found a great article from The site, self-described as “the first ‘.org’ personal finance search site,” offers up some good tips for those looking for ways to save money. In the article, the author describes a few of the best no-foreign-transaction fee credit cards out there, and how they can help save customers some money.

Recently, my home state New York released information about the state’s sales tax exemption for clothing and footwear. The details can be found here. The information states that beginning April 1, 2012, clothing, footwear and items used to make or repair exempt clothing sold for less than $110 (per item of clothing or per pair of footwear) will be exempt from the state’s 4 percent sales and use tax (sales tax). The exemption will also apply to the 3/8 percent state sales tax only in those localities in the MCTD2 that provide for the exemption from their local sales tax.

There are some additional details about county and city clothing and footwear sales tax exemptions as well, but good news is, if you plan on making some purchases this year from New York, you might be saving a bit of dough.

Interested in what the internet had to say about all of this, I also did a bit of research and found this great link from U.S. News, detailing their nine best cities to shop in.  My old stomping ground New York City is up there right at number one, and I can’t dispute it.

I enjoyed many years of shopping in and around the city, and have to say it’s a great place for customers to explore. I may not be living there any longer, but thankfully get to visit often, and take advantage of some of the best shopping in the country. There’s a little something for everyone, in every price range and every style, and it take days, possibly weeks to explore all the city has to offer.

The article also mentioned L.A., Miami and Chicago at the top of the list, and having visited all three of them in the past, I’d have to agree, they have a lot to offer!

So, looking for some new work wear, a great accessory for the office, or something to really stand out at your next interview or client meeting? Well, consider what steals and deals you can find by shopping smart, and taking advantage of lower sales tax rates when you travel out of your home area. Maybe you’ll find something new that you love, and save some money!

Emily Alexandria Burns is a State University of New York Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and started her career in New York City working for companies including Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni, Christian Dior and Jones Apparel Group. She is now e-marketing communications specialist for Freed Maxick & Battaglia CPAs in Buffalo, N.Y., and recently named the Association for Accounting Marketing's 2011 "Rookie of the Year." Follow her on Twitter @FreedMaxickPR or email her at

Comments (3)
Completely agreed Emily good offers do not stay for long so anytime we get it just grab and utilize it....
Posted by trottwouse | Thursday, August 16 2012 at 10:18AM ET
This is such an important discussion. The truth is that most people are hard wired to gather, not plan ahead. And if you consider the marketing whirlwind we all live in from Groupon and Amazon to Target and Starbucks - retailers have been preying on this hard-wired "gathering" instinct for decades - and they are getting so good at it it's spooky. ImpulseSave ( ) is a new app that actually makes saving your money just easy, impulsive and fun as spending it.

In this world optimized to encourage us to spend at every turn, relying on discipline and budgets just doesn't cut it anymore. ImpulseSaving, on the other hand, is just as easy and fun as spending, and it works! Our savers are saving on average close to $4,000/yr.

Really great post. Thank you.
Posted by philfs | Thursday, April 12 2012 at 8:21AM ET
Best article! Best place to find and print coupons of major brands during holidays is Printapons search online and find.
Posted by doriselane | Friday, April 06 2012 at 2:54AM ET
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