The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Archive for November, 2014

14 BEST Black Friday Apple Deals!


The 14 Best Black Friday Apple Deals Of 2014

Posted: 11/25/2014 8:51 am EST Updated: 2 hours ago

APPLE STORE

A picture taken on November 15, 2014 in Lille, shows an iPhone displayed in the new Apple store, the day of its opening. AFP PHOTO / DENIS CHARLET (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images) | DENIS CHARLET via Getty Images
This article was reported by DealNews, a site that scours the web for the best retail deals.

If there’s only one rule you follow this Black Friday, it should be never to buy your Apple gear from the Apple Store. Not only is Apple’s sale predictable (the company is once again bundling gift cards this year), but it’s also disappointing, particularly when other retailers are discounting Apple gear at record speeds.

However, some of the initial leaks from the Apple Black Friday sale sound promising — but keep in mind these are still leaks. The only news Apple has confirmed is that it will offer (RED) iTunes gift cards on select purchases on Black Friday, and that the proceeds will help fight AIDS in Africa. In addition, not all of the leaked deals sound great. iPad shoppers, for instance, will still be able to score better gift cards from Target, which is offering cards at twice the value of Apple’s sale. (That applies to all iPad and iPad mini tablets.) Likewise, if you’re looking for deals on the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, other retailers will beat the Apple Store’s offerings.

That said, a few Apple Store offers compete, up to an extent. Below is an updated list of the best Apple Black Friday ads, and how they compare to Apple itself.

Best Black Friday Apple Deals

Apple TV Media Receiver with $25 gift card for $99 at the Apple Store
If rumors are accurate, on Black Friday it will sell its Apple TV Media Receiver for $99 with a $25 gift card; assuming you use the gift card, that gives you an effective price of $74, which beats our Black Friday prediction. However, if you just want to pay as little as possible, Staples will offer the Apple TV Media Receiver for $79.

Apple iPad Air 16GB With $100 Gift Card for $399 at Target
This tablet’s $399 price point is nothing special (it’s what Apple charges), but what makes this deal noteworthy is the inclusion of a $100 gift card, which is like getting $100 off the cost of this tablet.

Apple iPad mini 2 16GB With $100 Gift Card for $299 at Target
Although Target is selling the iPad mini 2 at full retail value, it’s bundling a $100 Target gift card, which helps offset the cost of the tablet. Unless Apple changes its Black Friday sale for the better (highly unlikely), this Target deal will be hard to beat.

Apple iPad Air 2 16GB With $140 Gift Card for $499 at Target
Sensing a pattern here? Target is taking Black Friday seriously this year, and as with its other iPad deals, the current-generation iPad Air 2 is also selling at list price, but with a generous $140 Target gift card. This deal will most likely trump Apple’s Black Friday sale, which last year bundled a $75 Apple gift card with iPad Air purchases.

Apple iTunes $100 (4 x $25) Multipack Gift Cards for $79 at Sam’s Club
Whether you’re purchasing for yourself or as a stocking stuffer, Sam’s Club has the best iTunes gift card deal, taking roughly 21% off this multipack iTunes gift card set. Just need one card? OfficeDepot takes 20% off a $50 card. Though keep in mind that our data shows December may ring in more aggressive iTunes gift card deals.

Apple TV Media Receiver for $79 at Staples
This Apple TV Media Receiver is only a buck over our Black Friday prediction for this set-top box. However, last Black Friday, Apple’s streamer dropped down to $72, so there’s a chance this may get cheaper. However, if you need it today, Staples’s Apple TV deal is already live.

Apple iPhone 5s 16GB Smartphone with $30 gift card for $79 at Target
Target’s Apple deals are very aggressive this year, and although the retailer doesn’t have the best iPhone 6 deal, it takes the top spot for best iPhone 5s deal. It’s worth noting that Costco has offered the iPhone 5s for as low as $58 in the past, but if you factor in Target’s free $30 gift card, this deal is a price low by $9. It also beats Apple’s direct pricing, which sells this phone for $99. It also beats Apple’s direct pricing, which sells this phone for $99.

Apple iPhone 6 16GB Smartphone for $99 at Sam’s Club
The good news is that this is the best iPhone 6 deal we’ve come across since the phone’s launch. It surprisingly beats Walmart and Best Buy, which traditionally have the best iPhone deals. Unfortunately, the bad news is that there will be just 15 units per store. So if you’re not a Sam’s Club member (or if you’re not one of the lucky 15), your next best bet is Apple, which rumors indicate will bundle a $50 (RED) iTunes gift card with purchases of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This deal even beats Target, which will offer the iPhone 6 bundled with a $30 Target gift card for $180. Meanwhile, iPhone 6 Plus fans will want to make their purchase from the Apple Store because that’s the only deal we’ve seen on this phone.

Apple iPhone 5c 16GB Smartphone with $30 Gift Card for 1 cent at Target
We’ve seen this iPhone for free multiple times before (even Apple offers it for free on contract), but this deal merits your attention because it’s the first for-profit iPhone 5c deal we’ve ever seen. Thanks to the bundled gift card, after purchasing this deal you’ll have an extra $30 in your pocket.

Apple MacBook Air Intel Haswell Core i5 1.4GHz 11.6″ Laptop for $780 at Best Buy
Not only is this the best MacBook Air deal of Black Friday, but it’s also the best MacBook Air deal of all time. It’s beats our MacBook Air Black Friday price prediction by $19 and unlike most MacBook Air back-to-school sales we saw this summer, this deal doesn’t require a valid .edu e-mail address.

Apple MacBook Air Intel Haswell Core i5 1.4GHz 13.3″ Laptop for $1,050 at Best Buy
Best Buy has a stronghold on MacBook Air deals, and although we saw the flagship 13″ MacBook Air bottom out at $750 this past summer, this specific configuration (with a 256GB SSD rather than the standard 128GB SSD) doesn’t see as many discounts. So for the moment, this deal is $149 under Apple’s price and the best offer we’ve seen on the 13.3″ MacBook Air.

Apple iMac 21.5″ Core i5 All-in-One Desktop at Best Buy for $900
Outside of refurbs, it’s extremely difficult to find a sub-$1,000 iMac. In fact, the 21.5″ iMac hit $980 just once this entire year. So at $900, this iMac is a stellar deal; the Apple Store will offer the next best deal on iMacs. It’s bundling a $100 gift card on all iMac and iMac 5K Retina deals.

Apple MacBook Pro Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 2.5GHz 13.3″ LED-Backlit Laptop for $900 at Best Buy
Although we’ve seen this MacBook Pro at this price before, it’s not a common sight. Just keep in mind this is the mid-2012 model, which means you get an Ivy Bridge processor and a non-Retina screen. For current MacBook Pro laptops, the Apple Store is offering the best deal by bundling a $100 Apple gift card.

Apple iPod Touch 16GB MP3 Player (5th Generation) for $150 at Best Buy
Though not as popular as it was in its heyday, this is the best iPod touch deal we’ve seen for Black Friday 2014. (You typically pay this price for refurbished iPods). If you miss Best Buy’s deal (which starts Thursday at 5 pm in-store and online), Toys “R” Us will offer the same model at the same price starting Friday at 7 am in-store and online.

Best Buy and Target account for the majority of noteworthy Apple deals this Black Friday. It’s very unlikely that the Apple Store will even come close to matching them. Last year there were some reports that the Apple Store was price matching its competitors, but there’s no guarantee they’ll do that again this year and even if they do, your mileage may vary. Finally, iPhone 6 shoppers need not lose hope, because Fry’s has yet to reveal its Black Friday deals, and this retailer is known for its stellar iPhone discounts.

Excited for Black Friday deals? Consider subscribing to the DealNews Select Newsletter to get a daily recap of all our deals; you never know when a Black Friday price will be released! You can also download the DealNews app, check out the latest Black Friday ads, or read more buying advice.

This post has been updated to reflect the latest deals from the Apple Store.


FAQ Unclaimed Property: Where Do I Call With Questions?


Some of the Numbers have changed as the Unclaimed Property Program is now being adminstered by the Department of Revenue.  The Office of the State Treasurer is still responsible for promoting the program and is happy to answer any questions we can for you.  However, at the request of the Department of Revenue, direct lines to claims processors were removed from our website and they asks you to call and general line.  That number is:

(608) 264-4594

 

Small Logo Cropped


Small Business Saturday!


The leaves have fallen, temperatures are dropping, and once again, “Black Friday” is upon us. As most of you are aware, Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving, and is both the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season and one of the busiest shopping days of the year. As we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, it’s important that we take the time to appreciate the impact of small businesses on our communities and on our lifestyles.

Tomorrow, November 28, is the 3rd annual “Small Business Saturday“, an effort by American Express to encourage us to shop at small businesses during this critical time of year. In addition to supporting smal businesses with your purchases tomorrow, I’d encourage everyone to read and share the following statistics with their friends and family. It’s important tat we  remember just how much small businesses contribute to our economy.

Small firms:
•    Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
•    Employ half of all private sector employees.
•    Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
•    Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
•    Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.
•    Hire 43 percent of high tech workers ( scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).
•    Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
•    Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.
•    Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau and Intl. Trade Admin.; Advocacy-funded research by Kathryn Kobe, 2007 (www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs299.pdf) and CHI Research, 2003 (www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs225.pdf);U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Are you looking to start a small business? The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation provides many great tools for women and minorities looking to start a small business in Wisconsin. If you’re interested in getting started, check out their calendar of classes- 16 between now and Christmas – that will teach you about topics like business certification, credit score improvement, budgeting, Quickbooks, and many more.

Related Reading:

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation


FAQ Edvest: Who Can Open A College Savings Account?


Any individual with a Social Security number or federal Taxpayer Identification Number who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien can open an account and contribute to an Edvest account on behalf of any beneficiary. You can even open an account for yourself. An organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an estate or a trust may also open an account. Such entities will be subject to additional restrictions or administrative requirements and may not open an account online or participate in e-Delivery. Open an account today.
OST Design large sealedvest

The History of Thanksgiving


corn

national geographicWe turn to our friends at National Geographic to share this article with you on the history of Thanksgiving:

On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving.

Native Americans
Long before settlers came to the East Coast of the United States, the area was inhabited by many Native American tribes. The area surrounding the site of the first Thanksgiving, now known as southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island had been the home of the Wampanoag people for over 12,000 years, and had been visited by other European settlers before the arrival of the Mayflower. The native people knew the land well and had fished, hunted, and harvested for thousands of generations.

The Settlers
The people who comprised the Plymouth Colony were a group of English Protestants who wanted to break away from the Church of England. These ‘separatists’ initially moved to Holland and after 12 years of financial problems, they received funding from English merchants to sail across the Atlantic to settle in a ‘New World.’ A ship carrying 101 men, women, and children spent 66 days traveling the Atlantic Ocean, intending to land where New York City is now located. Due to the windy conditions, the group had to cut their trip short and settle at what is now called Cape Cod.

Settling and Exploring

As the Puritans prepared for winter, they gathered anything they could find, including Wampanoag supplies.  One day, Samoset, a leader of the Abenaki, and Tisquantum (better known as Squanto) visited the settlers. Squanto was a Wampanoag who had experience with other settlers and knew English. Squanto helped the settlers grow corn and use fish to fertilize their fields. After several meetings, a formal agreement was made between the settlers and the native people and they joined together to protect each other from other tribes in March of 1621.

The Celebration

One day that fall, four settlers were sent to hunt for food for a harvest celebration. The Wampanoag heard gunshots and alerted their leader, Massasoit, who thought the English might be preparing for war. Massasoit visited the English settlement with 90 of his men to see if the war rumor was true. Soon after their visit, the Native Americans realized that the English were only hunting for the harvest celebration. Massasoit sent some of his own men to hunt deer for the feast and for three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together. The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat, far from today’s traditional Thanksgiving feast. They played ball games, sang, and danced. Much of what most modern Americans eat on Thanksgiving was not available in 1621.  Although prayers and thanks were probably offered at the 1621 harvest gathering, the first recorded religious Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth happened two years later in 1623. On this occasion, the colonists gave thanks to God for rain after a two-month drought.

The Myths
Believe it or not, the settlers didn’t have silver buckles on their shoes. Nor did they wear somber, black clothing. Their attire was actually bright and cheerful. Many portrayals of this harvest celebration also show the Native Americans wearing woven blankets on their shoulders and large, feathered headdresses, which is not true. The Englishmen didn’t even call themselves Pilgrims.

Modern Thanksgiving

In the 19th century, the modern Thanksgiving holiday started to take shape. In 1846, Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of a magazine called Godley’s Lady’s Book, campaigned for an annual national thanksgiving holiday after a passage about the harvest gathering of 1621 was discovered and incorrectly labeled as the first Thanksgiving.  It wasn’t until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared two national Thanksgivings; one in August to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg and the other in November to give thanks for “general blessings.”

 

Native Americans and Thanksgiving

The peace between the Native Americans and settlers lasted for only a generation. The Wampanoag people do not share in the popular reverence for the traditional New England Thanksgiving. For them, the holiday is a reminder of betrayal and bloodshed. Since 1970, many native people have gathered at the statue of Massasoit in Plymouth, Massachusetts each Thanksgiving Day to remember their ancestors and the strength of the Wampanoag.

 


Wisconsin Saves Fun Tip: Saving on Thanksgiving Dinner!


OST Design large sealThe Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer proudly teams up with WWBIC (Wisconsin’s Womens Business Initiative Corporation) for “Wisconsin Saves.”  Each week, we will share with you a savings courtesy of WWBIC.  This week, how to save on all the Thanksgiving trimmings…..WWBIC

This year, Americans can be thankful that the cost of preparing a Thanksgiving meal will take a smaller bite out of their wallets. The average price of a feast for ten will be $49.41 this year versus $49.04 in 2013, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s informal price survey of items typically served for Thanksgiving dinner.

Admittedly, the price drop is small — but if you pair it with other money-saving strategies, you can significanlty lower the cost of a Thanksgiving meal. Here’s how:

Look for special turkey sales and promotions. The turkey is the priciest item, by far, on the table at Thanksgiving. The American Farm Bureau Federation found that a 16-pound turkey costs $21.76, on average, this year. But there are ways to get one for less. Some grocery stores, such as ShopRite, are running promotions that allow customers with the store’s club or rewards card to get a free turkey after spending a certain amount during the weeks before Thanksgiving. Waiting until the last minute to buy a turkey also might help you get it at a bargain price, according to AFBF.

Save on all the fixings. Manufacturers often release coupons for Thanksgiving-related food items and grocery stores often have sales on popular feast ingredients. To make sure you’re getting the best deal, you can use a free mobile app such as Favado app (iPhone, Android). It lets you compare deals at local stores, find coupons and search for the lowest prices on the items you need. For more tips to keep costs down, see 10 Ways to Save on Groceries Without Coupons

Don’t go overboard. Leftovers are common at many Thanksgiving gatherings. So unless you really enjoy scouring cookbooks or recipe sites to find creative ways to use all that turkey and stuffing that wasn’t consumed, you’ll save money by buying only enough to feed each guest with just a little left over for seconds. Butterball has a portion calculator to help you figure out what size turkey to buy based on the number of adults and kids you’ll be serving, whether they’re big or light eaters and whether you want leftovers.

Make it potluck. Rather than foot the entire bill for your feast, ask guests to bring a side dish or dessert. Based on the AFBF figures, you’ll cut your costs by more than 50% if you just spring for the turkey
Read more at http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T050-C011-S001-how-to-save-money-on-your-thanksgiving-meal.html#OW9y2zEjidKwJbyA.99

Don’t let wine bust your budget. You don’t have to spend a fortune to serve good wine with your Thanksgiving meal. For example, you can find good prices on wine at warehouse clubs such as Costco. If you buy several bottles at a wine or liquor store, ask about a discount for buying in bulk. Usually you can get up to 15% off the price on purchases of six or 12 bottles. For more tips, see How to Save Money on Wine.

Read more at http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T050-C011-S001-how-to-save-money-on-your-thanksgiving-meal.html#OW9y2zEjidKwJbyA.99


Money Matters: 6 Secrets to Shedding Your Family’s Money Baggage


Thanksgiving family pic

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, and for many of us, that means we’re in for some serious family time.  But everything can’t be fuzzies and pie. A trip down memory lane can remind us of our family’s money baggage.  FEAST ON THIS…. Our friends at www.Learvest.com tell us, the the money lessons you first learned at home tend to follow us through life.

“We learn from our parents,” explains Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of “Be Fearless.” “Money is an important part of our upbringing. We model our parents’ behavior and it becomes ingrained in us. It’s difficult to break out of that.”

Money Toxic Behavior #1: Living in Denial

What Causes It: “This is classic avoidance,” Alpert says. “It’s the mind’s way of avoiding that which it anticipates will be uncomfortable or anxiety-provoking.”

How to Shake It: Get motivated by the outcome rather than the process, says Alpert: “Think how you’ll feel once you clear the bills off the table,” he says.

Money Toxic Behavior #2: Embracing Debt

What Causes It: “Living paycheck to paycheck and surviving has become the norm over the past few years,” Alpert says. “People are feeling defeated, unable to see the future and stuck in a perpetual cycle of work and paying the bills.”

How to Shake It: Before getting ahead of your finances, you need to start catching up. Start putting as much as you can afford (even if it’s only $10 each week) away to pay off any bad debt like credit cards and car or consumer loans, and start shoring up an emergency fund. When you’re debt free and have a little financial cushion, then it might be time to turn your attention to investing. Think $10 investments aren’t enough? Think again–just ask this woman, who turned $10 stocks into $60,000. It might take some time to get ahead of your money, but the most important thing is that you start right away.

Money Toxic Behavior #3: Throwing Budgeting to the Wind

What Causes It: ”A lot of people use buying as a way to provide comfort in the same way that people might overeat–as a way to feel fulfilled,” says Alpert. They buy lavish and luxury items they don’t need to make them feel complete or special.”

How to Shake It: We don’t need to explain that money doesn’t just “appear,” but seeing where all your dough goes is also one of the best ways to avoid mindless spending. By consistently tracking your earnings and expenditures in the free LearnVest Money Center, you’ll get a sense of how much you really have to spend on what.

Money Toxic Behavior #4: Leasing Instead of Buying

“Maybe it’s a growing up in Detroit thing, but everyone in my family has always leased a brand-new, very cool car for a few years, then traded it back in for another. They’d never settle for wheels that were less than snazzy.”
– Jenny 

What Causes It: “For a lot of people, the appeal of leasing is the convenience,” Alpert explains. “Decisions are made for them. The price and time frame are set, the mileage is limited. People like order and control, and they feel like this provides it.”

How to Shake It: He points out that the hardest adjustment for someone who inherited this practice might not be the age of the car, but making the distinction that a car is a method of transportation from point A to point B, not a representation of who you are. “Don’t let a car define you,” he advises.

Money Toxic Behavior #5: Resenting the Joneses

What Causes It: “Social comparisons are normal and her mom was right that it ‘must be nice’ to be able to buy a new home and take vacations,” Alpert tells us. “Her statement though, suggests a hint of jealousy and/or anger.” Though these emotions might motivate someone in the short term to make changes, he explains, they’re ultimately draining, not a good motivator like setting your own goals to pursue because you truly want to achieve them.

How to Shake It: “Keeping up with the Joneses will only allow you to be as happy as the Jonseses,” Alpert cautions. Money comparisonitis is the real, toxic behavior of constantly comparing yourself to those around you, and the first step to getting past it is forgiving yourself: It’s totally normal. In fact, a study of data collected since 1970 shows that we base our self-esteem more on the money we make compared to others, or our relative financial status, than on our actual financial picture. If you’re concerned that you might have money comparisonitis, take our quiz to find out.

Money Toxic Behavior #6: Wanting What You Want Now

What Causes It: Not everyone sees the value—or the joy—in seeking out the best deal. “For some people, there is great satisfaction in knowing they got the absolute best price on a product, and that outweighs any amount of ‘wasted’ time and energy. For others, it just doesn’t feel worth it,” says Alpert, who explains that they may feel more uplifted by the temporary thrill of immediate gratification.

How to Shake It: Nobody’s saying you have to be an extreme couponer if that doesn’t appeal to you. Splurging—in the right way—can actually be good for your finances. But depending on your financial situation, and your budget, you need to know when it’s OK to treat yourself and when you’re just throwing money away that you could be able to save. One good way is to enroll in our free Take Control bootcamp, which will teach you how to set boundaries—and long-term financial goals—for yourself.

CLICK HERE to read