Thanks to our state legislatures, Arkansas joined some of the other states for a back to school tax free weekend in 2011. Again this year, we had the opportunity to enjoy purchases for just a little less on the first weekend of August. School supplies, shoes and clothes under $100 per item were on the list, along with other accessories. A six percent (Arkansas's general sales tax) savings can make a difference, especially if people have several children to get ready for school.
The economy is not great so anything we can save is helpful. An extra $20 is $20 we wouldn't have if not for the tax exemption. I hope everyone took advantage of the tax free weekend. The check-out lines proved a lot of people joined me in a little savings.
My generation came along when things had started getting better so we, unlike our grandparents, have to really work at our saving skills. For the most part, we see it, we want it, and we get it. All of my grandparents were hard workers and knew how to save and wait. They did not waste anything. Even when things got better, they could not even throw out a plastic butter dish or a rubber band from the newspaper.
I can remember my Grandma Chipman making jelly out of purple hull pea shells. It was like grape jelly without the grapes. She could make anything taste good but I wondered why she didn't just buy a jar of jelly because making the jelly was messy and purple was everywhere. That is the difference in her generation and mine.
I loved eating at her house. She loved to cook and we could always expect homemade pies and cakes except during cotton chopping season. She was one of the few people who really enjoyed chopping cotton. She looked forward to it. She chopped cotton until she was well into her 90s. She had to give in to the automatic cotton pickers in the 1960s but she fought it as long as she could and finally had to give up picking cotton by hand.
Their generation learned how to work hard, grow their own food, cook it, preserve it, make their own clothes, walk or get in buggies to go to town once a week or so and to church on Sundays. They did not get too tired or too busy to go to church and give thanks for what they had. They rested on Sunday afternoons or played or went to community baseball games during the season.
Today we have everything at a touch of a button, only work 40 hours a week and probably get less done than they did. They were made of sturdy stuff.
They worked hard to make it better for us and we should appreciate it. I can't imagine how it would have been to grow up in the "good old days." Like I have said many times before, we can't miss what we have never had, so I guess it was just the way it was and no one thought anything about it.
Can you imagine going through a summer like this one without air conditioning. Wow, what a nightmare!
I hated the days when we had to drive with the windows down trying to save our hair-dos with headscarves. Young people probably would not believe that vehicles were once made without air conditioning or we teased our hair up into a bee hive. Both are not good memories.
Even when air conditioners were available in cars, it was an expensive option. It was a luxury, not a necessity and many of us just could not afford the extras, so we still drove cars with no air conditioners. That was the way it was and we did survive. We did travel more at night.
Back to the tax free weekend, I am sure my parents would have appreciated a break when they were getting all four of us kids ready for school. I don't remember much about the cost, but I do know we always had a new pair of shoes and at least a few new clothes. We chopped cotton in the summer and used our own money to help buy clothes. We always had pencils, paper, and a trapper keeper. I think that is all we needed to get started.
The list is a little larger today, but so is the income. It probably all balances out about the same.