Trib Tips

This week's Trib Tips traverses dunes and cliffs, and shows you a way to take kids out to eat without getting miffed.
Marie Havenga
Dec 7, 2012

And, as holiday dress-up time approaches, Trib Tips reader Carrie Seylhower of Grand Haven teaches us how to stop singing the static cling blues.

Cash in on community

Looking for a great local holiday gift, but can't decide where or what? Head to the Chamber of Commerce office, 1 S. Harbor Ave. in Grand Haven. They'll fix you up with Dune Dollars, which spend like cash at close to 70 area businesses — including restaurants, gift shops, boutiques, coffee shops and grocery stores.

Dune Dollars are available in $5, $10, $20 and $25 increments. Call 842-4910 for information.

Scale the cliff

Speaking of dunes, there's another steep incline that's getting a lot of attention. The country is abuzz with “fiscal cliff” talk, but what does it really mean for you and your wallet?

The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Policy Center estimates 90 percent of Americans would experience a tax hike in 2013 if Congress doesn't extend Bush-era tax cuts set to expire on Dec. 31. Cliff consequences include higher tax brackets, lost deductions and capital gains rate increases.

Check out these two “fiscal cliff calculators” to estimate the potential dent in your dollars:

— The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com) has an awesome tool that lets you select your family type and income category. With that information, data from the Tax Policy Center spells out your estimated tax liability under both the Republican and Democratic plans, and what your tax hit would be if no deal is reached and we careen over the cliff.

— Another calculator at creditcards.com lets you enter your annual income and exemptions to calculate your current tax versus your over-the-cliff cash consequence.

It's almost certain that your payroll tax will increase, but Democrats and Republicans are trying to hammer out an extension plan that could prevent other tax hikes from hitting your wallet.

Check out the Oct. 21 e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune for a full story on the fiscal cliff with advice from local financial experts.

Counter offer

If you're taking a bunch of little ones to dine at a fast-food restaurant this holiday season, it may feel like a cliff. Here's a way to smooth the outcome:

Pull up to the drive-through, order for each child and pay. Tell the window attendant you'll be coming in with a carload of kids and ask him or her to place the food on a tray at the counter. You can immediately grab the burgers, sit everyone down and enjoy a truly happy meal without trying to calm chatty children and corral the chaos at the checkout counter.

So long, static

Carrie Seylhower of Grand Haven submitted this tip to reduce static cling: “Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing pantyhose. Place pin in seam of slacks and — ta-da — static is gone!”

Have some household hints or savings secrets of your own you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you. E-mail your suggestions to Marie Havenga at mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com. Include your name, address and phone number. You may also snail-mail ideas to: Trib Tips, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417; or call 616-847-2628.

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