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Tax-free tips: Shopping for a dorm room

Most items used to decorate a dorm aren't tax-free. The items are mostly what you would find in a desk or closet.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tax-free weekend runs from Friday, July 26 to Sunday, July 28 in Tennessee. There are over 150 items on the tax-exempt list, but what if you're shopping for a dorm room?

RELATED: Here's what you need to know to be ready for Tax-Free Weekend

10News took a trip to the University of Tennessee to find out how you can dress up a dorm room on a budget.

Magnolia Hall is one of 13 residence halls at UT, and it's the newest. The room I toured was suite style, which included a bathroom inside the room.

When looking at a dorm showroom, it's important to keep in mind all rooms are different, and so is each person's style.

"Definitely make it creative to you," said Carlie Fleming, a UT junior and housing tour guide. "Make it homey. Bring whatever you need to make sure you do that."

The National Retail Federation predicts college students will spend more than ever on back to school items this year. Richard Swearingen, associate director of housing administration at UT, said when you're shopping for move-in day, it's important to be prepared.

"I think you can prepare very well what you're going to bring and anticipate being flexible," Swearingen said. "The showroom you saw and your parents measured up while you were here during orientation might not be exactly the room you're assigned to."

Not everything in your dorm room is going to be tax-free, but here are the things you can be sure to grab during the tax free holiday that go in a dorm:

  • Any and all school supplies. Paper, pencils, you name it, as long as it's under $100.
  • A laptop under $1500
  • Clothes under $100

RELATED: 'Does tax-free weekend apply online?' and other questions you might have about the sales tax holiday

Those cute decorations and the matching bedding aren't going to be tax-exempt, but there are ways to get deals.

"Definitely look online," Fleming said. "I looked online on some websites like roomify. They definitely just gave me an idea of what I needed. On that one they had bundles so you can get like the bedding stuff, you can get laundry, they have lamps, fans,"

Things like mini fridges and microwaves are already included in each room at UT, so those are some expenses you won't have to fork over.

UT also offers a check list for what to bring and what to leave at home when moving on campus.

Plenty of stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, and Walmart have dorm room bundles already out for sale.


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