If the winter storm taught us anything, it's that many of us were woefully unprepared for prolonged blackouts and extreme weather conditions. Hey, we're not used to freak ice storms down here, so it's understandable.

Still, there's a tax-free weekend coming up during which Texans can save on emergency supplies (including some generators) in preparation for tornado season and any other natural disasters that could be headed our way.

Between April 24-26th you can purchase certain emergency preparation supplies tax-free!

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There is no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase, and according to the Texas Comptroller's Office, you do not need to give an exemption certificate to claim the exemption.

Eligible items include:

Portable generators
Emergency ladders
Hurricane shutters
Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)
Can openers - nonelectric
Carbon monoxide detectors
Coolers and ice chests for food storage – nonelectric
Fire extinguishers
First aid kits
Fuel containers
Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
Ice products - reusable and artificial
Light sources - portable self-powered (including battery operated)
Examples of items include: candles, flashlights and lanterns
Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
Radios - portable self-powered (including battery operated) - includes two-way and weather band radios
Smoke detectors
Tarps and other plastic sheeting

These are the items that do not qualify for the tax exemption:

Medical masks and face masks
Cleaning supplies, such as disinfectants and bleach wipes
Gloves, including leather, fabric, latex and types used in healthcare
Toilet paper
Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles
Camping stoves
Camping supplies
Extension ladders
Repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies
Services performed on, or related to, emergency preparation supplies

For more information about tax exemptions, call the Comptroller's Office at 1-800-252-5555 or go to this website.

We all learned some hard lessons about being prepared when Texas froze over back in February. If you can budget in these supplies, make sure you take advantage of the tax-free weekend and save some cash while you stock up. Also, consider shopping local to help out area businesses that were hard-hit by the storm too.

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