This week is the official start of the year-end holiday season.And that typically includes spending time looking for the perfect gift.
The day after Thanksgivings usually is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, earning the name Black Friday because many retailers depend on that one day of sales to help change their business ledger entries from red-ink losses to black-ink accounting of profits.
And two jurisdictions are doing their holiday part to help the tradition along.
Washington, D.C.: On Monday, The District of Columbia kicked off its annual Christmas shopping sales tax holiday. Between Nov. 24 and Dec. 7, shoppers in and around the national capital can buy clothes, shoes and accessory items that cost $100 or less and not owe Washington, D.C.'s 5.75 percent sales tax.
One of the great features of this sales tax holiday is its length. Since it runs into early December, you don't have to fight the Black Friday crowds for some tax-exempt savings.
South Carolina: Down in South Carolina, a more condensed, and specialized, sales tax holiday coincides with the day after Thanksgiving frenzy.
On Nov. 28 and 29, Palmetto State shoppers can take advantage of the state's newly instituted Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday. The name says it all. Shoppers can purchase handguns, rifles and shotguns and not have to worry about paying the state's 6 percent sales tax on the firepower.
Shop smart: Of course, despite what advertisers say, you usually don't save money by spending it. So don't go shopping just to keep a few dollars out of the tax collectors' hands.
However, if you do need some clothing or weaponry and are in, respectively, the D.C. or South Carolina areas, take advantage of the tax breaks. In this economy, we call can use every consumer, and tax, break we can get.