With two little kids, it can be difficult to run a lot of errands. I'm not a fan of shopping with tired, sick or cranky children. Thus, when I have kids in tow, I limit myself to one or two grocery store visits a week. I run the rest of my "errands" online. For as long as I can remember, online shopping has been tax -free in California. However, in September of 2012, a state tax for Internet purchases went into effect. Now, I have to pay about 9% more for my online purchases. Slowly but surely, this new Internet tax is chipping away at my bank account. To say the least, I'm missing tax-free online shopping.
I have a Costco card. However, it takes me about 20 minutes to get there. A 40 minute round trip costs me about $4.50 in gas and a lot of time. Thus, I was purchasing my diapers online. When I bought the e-bulk case of size 2 premium diapers, the absence of tax made the diapers 24 cents each. Utilizing two cash back programs, I was able to get 7% or about $4.00 back. This brought the cost of diapers down to less than 22 cents each. After some research, I found that I can get a better deal on diapers online at Costco.com for 16 cents each. Before making the switch, I will have to make sure these new diapers work as well as my other diapers. The tax I will pay online is still less than the gas money I would use to drive to this store.
During Christmas, I spend about $100 online for gifts. Prior to the change, I was enjoying buying these gifts tax free. Now, I pay about about $9.00 in tax for the same gifts. I also send gifts up to my niece and nephew. For me, it is still easier to pay a little tax than to have to buy a gift, wrap it and then ship it. An extra charge a few times a year isn't going to prevent me for paying for convenience.
When I need a lot of household items, I try to go to a big box store by myself. However, during the wintertime, I am more apt to buy household items online. It's much easier than braving the germs and cold weather with a baby. In these instances, I will buy big sizes of toilet paper, soap and laundry detergent. This ensures that I will get free one-day shipping. The last time I purchased $52.75 worth of product and had to pay $4.78 in tax.
Due to convenience, I'm still going to shop online. However, due to more taxes, I will also be buying more bulk items when I go to the store.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
More from this contributor: