Back to school deals

Published 8:26 pm Friday, August 3, 2012

It is that time of year that most children — and some teachers — dread. Summer is coming to an end, and the start of the school year is on the horizon.

I was one of those children that dreaded the end of days at the pool and lounging around doing nothing but watching T.V. I liked staying up late, sleeping in, sleepovers and getting my fill of cartoon watching.

There was still a hint of excitement in the air for me, though. The start of school also meant one important thing to me — shopping! I loved to go back-to-school shopping probably more than most kids. There were the obligatory items that teachers required, but I was there for the fun stuff.


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I still distinctly remember picking out Lisa Frank pencils, a new Trapper Keeper, bookbag or even my treasured New Kids on the Block lunchbox. (I am dating myself, I know.) And of course I also needed a new outfit for the first day and shoes to match. I still liked getting the basic pens, pencils and folders. I enjoyed getting everything new and organized before school started. Nothing stayed that organized, but it was a nice start to the year.

Although my parents might have looked forward to me being in school five days a week, I don’t think they were too happy about forking over all that money for back-to-school shopping.

With the economy still recovering and many still struggling, school supplies can be an extra un-wanted burden. There is a special weekend that wasn’t around in North Carolina in my younger years. This weekend in Virginia is the annual tax-free weekend that helps ease the pain of buying all of those items. Through Sunday, school supplies costing $20 or less each and clothing items and footwear priced at $100 or less each will not be subject to Virginia’s 5-percent state sales tax. Retailers will also be offering special sales for the weekend.

The basic bookbags, pencils and paper are not the only items that are included in the tax-free weekend. The list of items covered includes pens, pencils, loose-leaf ruled notebook paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, construction paper, sneakers, dresses, jeans and T-shirts. For a complete list of included items, visit and click on the link on the main page for the back-to-school tax holiday.

During this time of year, also don’t forget about the less-fortunate children in Suffolk and donate back-school supplies. The Suffolk Office on Youth and the Suffolk Substance Abuse and Youth Council are partnering on a back-to-school supplies drive through Wednesday, Aug. 15. Several drop-off sites are available in the city. The collected supplies will handed out at the 2012 Suffolk Teen Summit, set for Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Suffolk Riverfront Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center on East Constance Road.

The Salvation Army also is collecting donated school supplies. They can be dropped off at the organization’s office at 400 Bank St.