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Christmas in July, Germantown, Nashville
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Christmas in July? Retailers wooing holiday spenders even earlier

By on Jul 07, 2014

How are we spending our summer vacation?   Prepping for back-to-school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, if the displays in retail stores are any indication. Consumers who didn’t buy their swimwear back in March probably found themselves picking through a clearance rack featuring a few “size 2 junior” mismatched bathing suit bottoms and tops the week before the […]

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RV Dauphin Island
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Drivers prepping for the holiday sift through roadside aid deals

With legions of Americans about to hit the road for a three-day weekend provided by the Independence Day holiday’s serendipitously falling on a Friday this year, you might want to take a look at  personal finance quirk related to roadside assistance plans. AAA forecasts that 41 million people will travel more than 50 miles from […]

Costly 'debt repair' programs don't make student loans vanish
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Costly ‘debt repair’ programs don’t make student loans vanish

Watching the Weather Channel the other day, hoping for a drop of rain, my ears pricked up at a commercial for the Student Loan Repairman, one of many companies that claims it can stop wage garnishment, “cut loan payments in half” and otherwise ease patrons’ debt burden. With many recent grads confronting the reality of […]

you udder buy some manure sign
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Quicktips: Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents

Maybe this column should be called “quirky tips” instead of “quick tips,” because I can’t resist sharing some of the interesting and offbeat jottings from my notebook.  Hopefully you can embrace the oddities and spin an idea or two into a colorful summertime business feature. First off, my ears perked up the other day when […]

self publishing books
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Self-publishing industry empowers local authors, service providers

Several of the best new books I’ve read lately have had one thing in common: They’ve lacked any sort of publisher’s imprint on the inside cover or title pages. Self-publishing, in either hardcopy or e-book format, is a fast-growing sector, driven by authors too impatient to wait for a traditional publisher’s verdict on their work, or […]

Boy fishing with grandpa
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Ties, tools, paternity leave: What fathers mean in the marketplace

The annual salute to dads comes up June 15, and like all traditional and manufactured holidays and observances, marketers are not shy about using it to spark consumer spending.  My e-mail inbox is clogged with frantic exhortations from national chains pushing grills, apparel, retro beer posters, tools, cheese-and-sausage packs and other delights for Pop — all […]

Checking out Pride London 2013 photos
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Around the U.S., June means LGBT pride and profit

One of June’s most widespread observances is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, which as this Library of Congress history page notes, commemorates the Stonewall riots in Manhattan which were a milestone in the gay liberation movement in the 1960s. Celebrations in the form of parades, parties, rallies and so on will be […]

Kids watching Netflix on a phone
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TV consumers spending more, watching less: At what cost?

A $49 billion cable television merger is a pretty big headline, and one that’ll keep audiences talking for days if not weeks, especially when it concerns a product that’s in pretty much every household’s living room.  As reported Sunday, AT&T wants to buy satellite television provider Direct TV in a $95-a-share merger that will affect […]

Coupons Living Social images
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Online promos: What’s working, what’s not for your local merchants?

With Groupon Inc. set to release earnings May 6, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at the evolution of the daily deals / couponing craze several years after it peaked. (And Mother’s Day, coming up May 11, likely will drive even more than the usual number of promos, which will help you find […]