To buy before September

As I was having coffee with a Spanish friend a few days ago, our talk turned to shopping. Had she snagged any deals at the rebajas this year?

August in Spain means rebajas, a time when locals flock to stores in search of the best sales of the year. Summer rebajas are rivaled only by post-Christmas rebajas; since these offers are a biannual event, you can bet that shoppers are willing to wait in line to save a few Euros.

Sales, sales, sales!

This time around, the discounts even more important than they have been in previous summers. Due to a tax increase that will take effect September 1, there is an added pressure to scoop up specials on clothes, electronics, groceries, and…basically everything. Turning serious, my pal advised me to buy my school supplies as quickly as possible–was I aware that the tax on educational materials was going to jump from 8 to 21 percent?

Curious about the change, I did some sleuthing. I came across a thorough breakdown of the tax increase on El País, discovering which sectors would be most impacted. Did you know that a movie ticket, as well as getting your hair cut at a chain, is going to cost a heck of a lot more? Not everything is going to be as extreme as this 8 to 21% hike; many products are increasing 2 or 3%. What surprised me was to find what was considered “artículos de lujo,” or luxury items. Tampons and baby food fall into this category; since they are not considered bare necessities, they will increase from 8 to 10%. The same goes for medicine, luggage, and even water.

Some companies, such as clothing giants Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Mango, have announced that they will “absorb” the increased tax so that the consumer doesn’t feel the blow.

El Rincón, a bakery/food chain, promises to maintain the current tax

Other companies have taken the opposite stance, using the tax increase as a marketing tool to get buyers into the stores this summer.

A mattress store advises customers to come in before September hits (“Ven antes de la subida de la IVA!”)

Even though the majority of items will have a 2 or 3 percent increase in tax, it is estimated that a family will end up spending an additional 470 Euros over the course of a year.

If you reside in Spain, the El País article, as well as this article from The Huffington Post, should be required reading. So, what will you be buying before September?