HOUSTON -

Stores will be packed this weekend as consumers prepare to save some cash during Texas' annual sales tax holiday.

The tax-free weekend is a week earlier this year to help parents get kids ready to head back to school. But you don't have to have children to take advantage of the tax break.

Most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 will be tax-free. The exceptions: golf cleats, football pads and any items primarily designed for athletic use. These are not included. Tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits are tax-free. Also on the tax-free list: diapers and baby clothes.

With no state sales tax, you'll save about $8 for every $100 you spend. That might not be enough to lure you to wait in incredibly long lines, but retailers usually plan big sales to coincide with the tax-free weekend. Still don't want to brave the crowds? Grab your computer. Items sold online, by telephone or mail are also tax-free this weekend.

If you can't pay for your whole haul this weekend, you can put items in lay-away. As long as you put the qualifying merchandise on lay-away this weekend, they will be tax-free regardless of when you make the final payment.

The tax savings start at midnight Friday, August 9th and ends Sunday, August 11th.

For more details about the Tax-Free weekend, click here: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/d/