(WSPA) – Shoppers in South Carolina save $2-3 million over the sales tax holiday according to the state.

With that tax free weekend starting Friday, August 4, it comes at a perfect time for back to school shopping. 

However, savvy shoppers are looking beyond that 6% sales tax for additional savings, so in this 7NEWS Consumer Exclusive, we looked into ways you can score extra back to school savings.

Tax Free holiday details

First, the basics.

The tax free holiday runs August 4-6 in South Carolina this year.

Items exempt from the 6% sales tax include things like:

  • school supplies
  • bedding/linens
  • athletic uniforms
  • diapers
  • headphones
  • flash drives
  • printers
  • shoes
  • towels

Eligible items are still tax free if you shop online.  What is not tax free are things like:

  • makeup
  • eyewear
  • wallets
  • jewelry
  • furniture
  • smartphones

Here is a full list and more details about the weekend.

Special discounts for teachers and college student

7NEWS caught Casey Page, a mother of three who is also a teacher, shopping at Target recently, and we were able to fill her in on the store’s 20% discount for teachers.  

After verifying employment, it applies to one entire purchase before August 26th.

“What!  I never knew that…What great news!” she exclaimed.

7NEWS was happy to help her save money.  

But it’s not just teachers, a similar discount applies to college students.  

“For college students through August 26th you can log into the Target app, put in key information that verifies you are a college student and then you will have a 20% off coupon in your app to use one time on everything that you purchase that day thats qualifying,” according to Rilinda Harris with the Target store in Greenville. 

Other ways to save

Many stores are timing out discounts with the tax-free holiday.  

Check your favorite retailer’s website for pages dedicated to Back to School or the Tax-Free Holiday to find extra savings.

The Children’s Place is offering a tax free discount 4 days early starting July 31 through August 3 for shoppers in South Carolina. 

That’s in addition to other savings including its promo for 20% off this week with the code GIMME20. 

Best Buy has details here on how you can save more.

Walmart is highlighting its back-to-school savings.

  • Download your favorite retailers’ apps
  • Sign up for loyalty reward emails

Buy clothes used

One of the best ways to save is buying used, and there are a lot of options in the Upstate from stores like Once Upon A child to Kid to Kid.  

Those retailers not only sell gently used secondhand clothes, but they also will buy them from you.

They only take popular clothes that are not stained or ripped, so parents know they get a good deal for good quality.  

“I’ve been over to the mall, they have a ton of stuff but the prices just for one shirt is really high, so I love secondhand shops like this,” Victoria Veake, a Greenvillemother who 7NEWS found shopping at Kid to Kid near the mall, said.  

This past year a new option opened in Greenville for teens and young adults called Uptown Cheapskate near Walmart on Woodruff Road in Greenville.

“We are resale, but we do offer more variety of higher end brands such as coach and Micheal Kors, brands that you want to get a discounted prices in great condition,” Mary Sullivan, who works at Uptown Cheapskate, explained.

More ways to save

Price analysts at DealNews recommend a few more techniques to add to the savings.  

First, consider cashback apps like Rakuten and Ibotta.

7NEWS Here to Help did a story on these and you can learn more here.

Above all, comparison shop before you head to the store.  

“Any stores that you’re interested in shopping at, go ahead and add everything to cart,” Julie Ramhold, with DealNews, said. “And then just take a look and see which one is going to be the cheapest way to go.”

Retailers like Target and Walmart make that easy.  

They have set up school list search pages where you simply enter your ZIP code, choose the school, and the list will populate so you can add items right to the checkout cart.

Ramhold also said one of the best ways to cut down on spending is to save some purchases you don’t need right away for Labor Day Weekend.  

Sure, you won’t get the 6% tax free savings, but the discounts on several categories including clothes are so great, especially summer clothing that can be worn well into the fall here in the south, that it is worth the wait.

As for Page, she also has some cost-saving tips of her own; go generic when you can.

“Some teachers will request certain brands because they are better (Ticonderoga pencils, Crayola crayons), some things like folders and notebook paper probably don’t matter as much,” Page said.  

Saving more on a shopping ritual that reminds us, no matter how much we spend, these last few days of the season are priceless.