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It's hard to believe that July is almost over, then bang it's August and before you know it Labor Day, the long weekend most kids dread because they know it means heading back to school is right around the corner.

Parents of school children and college students making their way back to the dorms will be starting their back to school shopping pretty soon, and there will be 16 states participating in a tax-free holiday season, beginning as early as today, CNBC reports.

Total back to college spending is expected to reach $54.1 billion this year. Spending for students in elementary school through high school will hit $29.5 billion, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

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Shoppers need to be prepared before they begin their back to school shopping and be sure they know which items are on sale and which aren't, senior state tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting Carol Kokinis-Graves told CNBC. The analysts gave some advice to consumers.

"One thing that's common is that there's always some sort of price ceiling. You can only buy products for less than a certain amount, and sometimes items sold in a bundle will go over the ceiling."

"Many parents go out to buy clothing and shoes for school, but a lot of times, tax holidays don't apply to athletic gear," she said. "Consumers need to check because there might be certain clothing excluded or items that don't qualify."

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