LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Tax-free weekend is to the first day of school, what Black Friday is to the holiday season.

Thousands of families across Arkansas hit the stores Saturday to snag bargains for their kids, and maybe even themselves. Around 10:30 Saturday morning, parking lots at McCain Mall in North Little Rock were already filled. The mall opened an hour early and will close an hour later.

“Everybody has shoes and jeans,” said a mom of six.

“We're trying to fight the crowds and get the good deals,” one dad shopping with his son said.

Who doesn't like to save a few dollars?

"I shop nonstop, all year round,” said Mrs. Watson. “We have one who graduated from college, two who are in college right now, a senior in high school, a sophomore, and one is a freshman. Saving money is big for us.”

She and her family travel from Saline County every year for back to school shopping. It’s time to shop and it’s also time to hit the books.

“Here in a little while it's going to be about the pencils, notebooks, lunchboxes, and all that stuff,” said Mr. Burney.

He thinks every penny counts. For many families, shopping at the mall and other stores is an annual tradition.

"We pretty much start at 8 a.m. in the morning and shop. We shop all day long,” Watson said.

“We like JC Penny a lot, Crazy 8, and of course Walmart,” said Burney. "With my son, the way his sizes run right now, apparently it's a very popular size. A lot of people are looking for these same jeans, t-shirts, and long sleeves.”

Lots of shoppers said they like to hit the ground running early to avoid crowds and to have more options. But this weekend isn't just all about the kids. Everybody loves a good sale, including parents and adults.

“We love the Nike store. We save a lot of money at the malls, at the stores, and we love Dillard’s. I love Dillard’s,” said Watson.

McCain Mall opens an hour early on Sunday as well at 11 a.m. instead of noon. That mall is offering a shopping spree contest if you show up early.