NATICK (CBS) – Consumers are taking advantage of the tax-free holiday weekend, but they are also being very careful how they spend.

“I am only going to buy what I need not what I wish or what I want because of the economy,” said Dan Ceterone, a contractor who is looking to buy some tools. “My costs have gone up and my income has gone down, so if I can save 6.25 percent,  I am going to do it,” said Ceterone.

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Sears in Natick was busy most of the day Sunday, and they even offered extra discounts. The most popular items are appliances and garden supplies.

After one of the most turbulent weeks in stock market history, a tax-free opportunity brought some smiles.

“I think it should be done every year. We need to get the incentive out there for the consumers to go out and spend some money to help this economy,” said Penny Brown of Sherborn.

But, there is no doubt people are watching how they spend, even in this tax-free weekend.

Another interesting trend is that people are trading in their family heirlooms now to get cash back.

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“People just don’t have the money. If you don’t have the money, you can’t buy it.” said Mark Rogozinski, who owns Marquis Jewlers in Newton.

He has been in business for 35 years and says this is one of the worst times he’s ever seen in the economy.

“A lot of clients that own gold and need the money are coming in selling to us so that they can survive,” said Rogozinski.

That’s why Ceterone is only buying the tools that he needs.

“Look and see what happened in Washington last week and judge for yourself. People are afraid of what they’re gonna decide to do, and that’s going to affect our wallets,” said Ceterone.

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Many stores opened their doors early Sunday morning, extended their hours and also offered special discounts hoping to boost sales.

Paul Burton