FARMINGTON — Shoppers looking to purchase clothing, shoes and school supplies this weekend can do so without having to pay taxes.
Starting at midnight on Friday, New Mexico starts its annual "Back to School Tax-Free Weekend."
The state estimates shoppers will save $4 million this year, according to a press release from Gov. Susana Martinez.
During the tax-free holiday, the state will not collect gross receipts taxes on several back-to-school items, but there are limitations placed on some items. Those limitations include a $100-limit on clothing, footwear and accessories, a $1,000-limit on computers and a $500-limit on computer-related items. School supplies under $30 will be tax free and other school items such as calculators must be under $200, while maps and globes should be under $100.
For shoppers, this weekend not only marks the coming of a new school year, it's an opportunity to save some money.
Patricia Benally, 26, of Farmington, said she spent time Thursday scouting out different sales to make the most of her spending this weekend — both for herself and her daughter who will be starting first grade when school resumes.
"At 12:01 I will be at the cash registers," she said Thursday evening in a phone interview.
She said last year, she waited to get her daughter's school supplies until school started. But when she did, she had a difficult time finding items on list of needed supplies that came from her daughter's teacher.
"This is such a big deal," she said.
She plans to limit her spending to $200 for the weekend and though her tax break would only be about $14, Benally said that amount helps.
"I actually plan for tax-free weekend," she said, adding that she has been paying extra on her bills to have spending money for the weekend.
Some shoppers are making a road trip to Farmington from nearby Shiprock and Dulce, N.M., which is about 85 miles east of Farmington.
Ina Montoya, 40, of Dulce, said she plans to come to Farmington to shop for her three school-aged children.
She will be looking for school supplies, clothing and shoes.
"The (Jicarilla Apache Nation) gave us dividend," she said. The tribe gives out stipends, or dividend, to tribal members periodically and Montoya said the tribe usually gives out dividend during tax-free weekend.
She plans to spend about $500 dollars for her children and said she opted to come to Farmington because it was closer than Santa Fe or Albuquerque.
Montoya said the money she saves this weekend will help pay for travel expenses like gas and food.
"Getting around costs a little bit," she said.
Christina Begay, 44, of Shiprock, said she plans to take advantage of the duty-free weekend too.
"I usually pick up the items as I see them go on sale," she stated in a text message.
She has two school-aged children to shop for and plans to spend about $400 during the weekend to buy them clothes and supplies.
"The school supply lists get longer and longer every year," she said.
She plans to put the money she saves in her children's saving accounts.
"They are aware they have a savings account and understand a little about saving money," she said.
Dana Fontenot drove to Farmington from Durango, Colo., on Thursday. She was with her daughters Maya and Amelia Mouret.
Maya was trying on backpacks at a large retail store.
"I came here thinking if was tax-free weekend," Fontenot said.
She said she researched on the Internet and found a page that stated the weekend started Thursday.
Though she was disappointed she was a day early, she said she planned to purchase school supplies and clothing and might return to Farmington during the weekend.
Tax-free weekend ends on Sunday.