A Saver’s Journey Around the World

Written by Carl Parson

This week, Qapital met with Phillipe Casorla Sagot to hear about his Journeys around and across the globe.

phillipe fjord

Wednesday noon, and that Swedish sun seemed to have finally come out for the summer. Everyone at our Stockholm office were drawn closer to the windows, excited like magnets. But the sun wasn’t the only thing to excite me. Today, I was going to interview one of our super-savers, Phillipe Sagot.

“The world is big, but you run into people you know everywhere”

Maybe I shouldn’t have been very surprised right then — but I was. When Phillipe came into the office, he immediately walked up to two of my co-workers. “Hey, what’s up?” he said.

Apparently, Phillipe knew not only one, but two people working at Qapital. I asked them all if this meant they had staged this whole meeting.

“No”, they all smiled. And Phillipe said, “I guess the world is big, but you still run into people you know everywhere.”

We found a quiet little room. I asked if it’s okay to record, then I opened the shades to let the summer light in.

“You’re originally from Costa Rica” I asked. “What brings you to this little city of ours?”

“Work. And, well, I guess I like to travel around. I just came from Norway, actually. It was amazing. The Fjords — wow.”

“Wow, yes — those fjords have quite a reputation” I replied (But didn’t reveal how badly I’ve wanted to go there lately.)

“The only thing with Norway was how expensive it was.”, Phillipe continued. “I got some salmon and a beer, and it cost me $60! I guess you gotta pay for those pretty views”

I tried some type of clever reply to this, and said, “I guess it’s a good thing you’re saving with Qapital.”

He laughed, looked at his phone, and agreed.

“I’ve started saving for a trip to Tokyo. It’s a fascinating place.”

“I remember downloading Qapital like two years ago. I didn’t use it at first. But I came back to it, and thought, ‘why not’, you know?” This was like six months ago. Now I’ve saved up $1900.”

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“What are you saving for?”

“I want to go to Tokyo. I went there two years ago. Ever since, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I just want to go back. And this is actually the first time I save for a trip in advance. I used to put everything on my credit card, then payed for it afterwards… which kind of wasn’t the greatest.”

“So when do you think you’ll go?”

“Well, I started saving in December. I figure it’ll take me a few more months. I’d like to go in the winter. But I don’t think I’ll stay in Tokyo all the time. This is the advice I give to some: If you’re down to travel a bit outside the city, you should go to Kyoto. It used to be the capital — and you can feel it. It has a lot of tradition.”

“Tell me more about that.”

“Tokyo is crazier. The pace is crazy. It’s crowded — but not in a bad way. Kyoto is calmer. You can go to the temples that are so unique to Japanese culture. You can sit down with the old ladies wearing traditional sandals and garments. And the tables there are only like four inches high. It’s really, really different. I love it.”

“I can’t wait to reach my goal.”

I gave Phillipe a Qapital t-shirt and mug, and said, “It’s not much, but I wanted to give you something to show how happy Qapital is that you came over for this interview.” and he gave me a polite smile.

“I love them”, he said.

“One last question”, I asked. “Do you think Qapital has made you a better saver?”

“Well, before I didn’t save at all. So definitely. I rather not put the big travel expenses on credit anymore. It just feels better if I have the money I’m spending. I gotta say, I’m happy to save. I can’t wait till I have reached my goal.”

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How I Saved $951.68 for my European Adventure with 2 minutes of Minimal Effort

Written by Lucy Ross, Editor in Chief at Likeabossgirls

You know that feeling on the first chilly day of the season when you reach into the pockets of the coat you haven’t worn in months and you realize you are now holding a $5 bill? Yeah, I don’t know about you but I get pretty jazzed about that. Fancy latte and a muffin, here I come!

So imagine that feeling times 200. Literally.

That’s how I felt when I went to check my Qapital app as I hopped on a plane to Budapest and found $951.68 saved and ready for spending on fun things. I had just set it up 6 months earlier!

LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING

Ok, let me explain. In August 2016 I decided I wanted to finally take this idea of a European springtime travel sesh out of my head and into action. I’m a digital nomad–a.k.a. I get to work from my laptop, so wherever I have a wifi connection and one of those aforementioned lattes, then I am good to go!

For me it was just a matter of logistics: where will I go, where will I live, and how long will I be there. And of course, intertwined with each question: how much moolah will I need to cover my expenses and then some.

I did some digging on this fantastic site where digital nomads rate cities based on different factors that affect our livelihood and quality of living called NomadList.com. I found that Budapest and Prague met my requirements:

  • High-speed internet that is easily accessible (i.e., complimentary fast wifi at all cafes)
  • Friendly toward foreigners
  • At least of a third of the population knows English
  • Safe for a solo lady traveller
  • Low cost of living

BUDGETING FOR A TRIP

Once I nailed down the locations, it was on to planning out my finances. I calculated my average monthly expenses for the last year in the U.S. and then told myself Lucy, your monthly expenses for this 2 month European jaunt need to be equal or less than that!

So off I went finding airbnbs and flights that were in the budget. Easy enough.

But I know myself and know that if I have an opportunity to go to some cool cultural event (like the Hungarian Folk Dance concert I just went to last night) then I want to be able to go do those things guilt-free… “When in Rome…” right?!

I knew I wanted to set up a savings plan for the “little luxuries.” Within that day, I learned about Qapital (gotta love targeted Instagram posts!).

HELLO EASIEST SAVINGS APP EVER, NICE TO MEET YOU

The premise is simple: it’s too hard to save AFTER you’ve spent money. So why not just save while you spend. And make it automatic!

I downloaded the app and within 2 minutes I had set up rules for reaching my savings goal of $1000 (=$500 for each month I’m there) for the little luxuries of my 60-Day European Adventure.

I had 3 “rules” for saving that I set up in the app:

  1. A Round-Up Rule: Every time I made a purchase using one of my connected cards, Qapital would round up to the nearest second dollar and put that difference in my savings
  2. A Spend Less Rule: For every week I spent less than $15 at Panera Bread (where I have a bit of an addiction!), then the difference is saved in my account
  3. A Steps Rule: Every day I walked 10,000 steps or more, 5 buckaroonies get transferred to my savings (Yay health! Yay savings!).

Here are screenshots of the my rules and activity for a few days in March:

qapital_Rules

So that was August 19th when I set up those rules. On April 3rd, as I boarded the flight for my first leg of my journey, I wanted to see how my progress was looking (FYI, they also sent me monthly reports of how close I was to my goal so I could adjust or add rules whenever I wanted).

And what did just six-and-a-half months of mindless automatic saving have in store for my future little luxuries? $951.68! Not bad for a mere 2 minutes of effort setting up savings “rules” back in August! Concerts, fancy dinners, and facials, here I come!

I guess what I’m saying is two-fold: Saving is smart. But making saving AUTOMATIC is wise. Do both. It’s actually kinda fun.

Lucy Ross is a Web Design, Videographer &  is the Editor In Chief at Likeabossgirls.

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Resolution Ready for 2k17? Qapital Will Help Keep You On Track!

We all have good intentions when it comes to setting resolutions. Unfortunately, intentions aren’t the thing that usually keeps us going when it comes to meeting these goals. You’ll need drive, determination, and a sometimes…a little help.

Lucky for us, Qapital is all about #Qapitalizing (pun intended) on your already existing behaviors, which means if you’re looking to change those habits up for the better, why not reward yourself financially in the process? The ability to do so is just a few pushes of a button away.

In order to better help guide you, I reached out to some Qapital customers (and employees), and asked them for their resolutions for the upcoming year:

Matt Russell, Los Angeles-based musician and Customer Success Representative (as well as “Best Use of Emojis In Customer Interactions” award winner), is resolving to “change more diapers” this year (after the birth of his new baby girl), and would like to “shed some extra pounds.” If losing weight is something you’re interested in, Qapital has you covered. Using an iOS? We’ve got an Apple Health Rule for you; simply activate it and choose your trigger. Would you like to meet a daily walking, running, or exercise goal? Once connected, the Rule will save your set amount after you’ve reached it. If you’re on an Android, or already using your favorite fitness app, we can connect through IFTTT with Qapital + FitBit, Nike +, Strava and several others!

As for the diapers…while we can’t help you physically change those, we can keep you on track with an IFTTT Location recipe. Simply set up the location to fence the baby’s changing table. Enter the location, and voila! Future college money saved!

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Joe Weber, a Los Angeles Based comedian intends to travel more in 2017. If this sounds like it’s right up your jetway, Qapital suggests setting up a Freelancer Rule, which will set aside a percentage (you choose!) of each direct deposit over a chosen amount. If you’re a Pinterest fan, why not use an IFTTT Qapital + Pinterest Recipe to save some cash each time you pin something to your Travel Board? A little goes a long way, and so will you (once you’ve saved up)!

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Tracey Carnazzo, Qapital Customer Success Representative and New York City-based comic says, “I’m going to pay off my debt this year using Qapital,” and she’s already got her Rules in place. She set up the 52 Week Challenge Rule, which will save $1 the first week, $2 the second, and so on through the year. By this time in 2017, she’ll have saved $1,378. She’s also using the ever-popular RoundUp Rule, paired with a Weekly Set & Forget. Here’s to being debt-free, Tracey! We’ve got your back!

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Chicago-based Freelance Illustrator, Sterling Martin, has several resolutions: “I am going to buy a new computer, restart my 401k, cut my cholesterol, and get a new job doing graphic design.” We’ve got lots of ideas for those! For the new computer, maximize your time on the old one and set up an IFTTT Qapital + Spotify Recipe –  you’ll save each time you add a song to a playlist. Add additional money to your 401k by setting a Freelancer Rule to save each time you get a direct deposit. You can transfer back to your personal account, then roll it over whenever you choose! Cut back on cholesterol by rewarding yourself with trips to the grocery store (instead of a fast food restaurant). You can set up a Guilty Pleasure Rule to save each time you spend at your local market. When it comes to getting that new job? Maximize your talent by using an IFTTT Qapital + Instagram Hashtag Recipe. Post a photo of a recent illustration, use a specific hashtag, and watch the savings add up! Bonus: you’re marketing your work at the same time!

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Alfredo Aponte, the Head of Design at Qapital,  would like to “stay better connected with family while I am afar. And post more small updates for them on Facebook and Instagram.” If you’re feeling the same, try using an IFTTT Qapital + Facebook Status Recipe to save money each time you update online. Now they’ve got an update, and you’re one step closer to a plane ticket back to visit. You can also trigger savings when you post on Instagram with an IFTTT Qapital + Instagram Recipe. Or keep yourself in touch with family by setting up a weekly chat or phone call. You can save money in two ways – with the 52 Week Challenge as well as a Weekly Set & Forget.

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The possibilities for saving are endless! If you’re in need of some help, feel free to email socialmedia@qapital.com – we’ll be happy to throw some ideas out for you. Think you’ve got it on lock? Share your stories with #QapitalResolutions! We’d love to hear what you’re going to accomplish this year, as well as your successes.

From the team at Qapital: stay safe this New Year’s Eve, have a great start to 2017, and always – happy saving!

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“Eat. Travel. Write.” Marisel Salazar Saves For A Renowned Culinary Destination

From a background in communication and nutrition at Cornell, to a culinary epiphany in Spain, Marisel Salazar (@breadbutternyc) now runs the food photography and writing game across the Internet.

Everything on her Instagram feed is both personal and client-related: a showcase of the many culinary events she attends with restaurants and chefs, and places she visits while freelancing in food writing. It is so clean and consistently beautiful, you feel like you can almost taste the creations she’s captured.

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I naturally started noticing a pattern amongst A, the places I went to and B, the types of things that I eat.

Originally from Panama, and with detours to Hawaii, Marisel naturally gravitates toward a green and tropical vibe. “It could change, but this is what I’m digging right now.”

At Selamat Pagi Brooklyn
At Selamat Pagi Brooklyn

“I studied in Madrid for almost a year, and that’s where I had my culinary epiphany, as I’m sure many students do.” she says. “I knew I didn’t necessarily want to work in nutrition anymore. Instead I would like to work directly with food and restaurants.” This passion shows clearly in her work. You can see the love for food, as well as the attention to detail in photos of the restaurants. With someone who enjoys her work so much, it makes sense that she likes to mix business with pleasure.

“Since I do a ton of work with food and restaurants and travel, one of my [Qapital] goals – and this is something I’ve always wanted to do – is to visit a food region. There are so many great food destinations and regions, not just in the United States, but all across the world. The Basque region of Spain, that whole northern region, is one of the top culinary destinations in the world. And I’ve always wanted to do a culinary food trip across it. It’s not just a summer vacation, or just a trip to Spain. There’s a little bit more of what I love to do in my work tied into that.”

When Qapital came along, it seemed like the perfect fit for Marisel, who admits she has always enjoyed being in control of her finances.

“I’m creative. [I’m] Working for myself. Having a handle on my finances is extremely important. I do a financial review with myself every week, going over my spending. Where have I been spending the most? Is it food and restaurant, is it grocery, is it supplies for my business, for doing photography? I do keep emergency funds that I contribute to on an automatic basis.”

She also started her Goals-game well before she found Qapital. “I have very informally set up monetary Goals I’d like to reach for myself.” she says. “So, when I heard of Qapital, I was like, ‘This is so great. Someone is doing what I’ve been informally doing in my own head, but in a very tangible way.’ I save up for Goals, but I don’t track them dollar for dollar, which is something that Qapital provides in the app. The whole concept is really cool – it’s obvious that someone was creative about it. You can get really granular when setting up your Rules.”

At Tacombi
At Tacombi

Now that she’s all set up, where else should she plan to go? With so many food destinations – from the Basque Region, to uncharted food territory in Cuba – the world is definitely her oyster. If you’ve got some ideas for her, make sure to follow her page. We’re looking forward to see what creations she finds once she makes it there!

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Fashion and Flowers: How Jules Denby is Saving Toward Her Dreams

Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with lifestyle blogger and fashionista Jules Denby (@julesdenby) to go in-depth about her passions, social media presence, and new addition to her family. Witty and real, Jules has created her completely unique, aesthetically-comforting and hilarious Instagram feed. For over an hour, we gabbed about wanderlust, the perfectly curated Instagram, and the honesty and bluntness of Snapchat. Laughed about the intricacies and trials of motherhood, the reality of balancing life and work, and appreciating the humor and happiness within it all.
“You feel like you want to do all different kinds of things, but I notice people who stick to one theme…do way better. Fashion is – foremost – what I’ve done.”
Jules has worked in the fashion industry most of her life – her first job being at a clothing store, as a stylist at Madewell, and now as a fashion-guru on the ‘Gram. “I don’t walk around in heels.” she says. “I am wearing exactly what I photograph in. The leather jacket with the cutoffs and Converse.”
@julesdenby wearing @urbanoutfitters, @madewell, and @levis
@julesdenby wearing @urbanoutfitters, @madewell, and @levis.

So you’d think with Qapital, she’d be saving up for her own boutique, right?

Wrong!

Instead, her sights are set on a flower truck. She tells a beautiful story, of getting out of New York for a while to her family’s home in New Hampshire. Driving through the East Coast looking for a catalog company, getting lost with her sister, and wandering into a coffee shop. The two of them were hired together on the spot, and worked there through the fall. It’s there she meets “Paul.” She says, upon seeing him, “I’m going to marry that man.”

Fast forward two years, and Jules is planning their wedding. She speaks with Emily Herzig regarding the flowers for the table pieces, and immediately falls in love.

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“I needed fresh flowers in my house every day. Peony season comes around and I’m like, the first in line at Whole Foods. I was totally obsessed.”

If I learned anything about Jules in the hour and a half that we spoke, it’s that she knows exactly who she is. And she knows what she wants, and wastes no time making it happen. So it’s no surprise to hear, when she and her husband happened upon a flower farm in New Hampshire, she immediately wanted to make it happen for the two of them. After some discussion, and a surprise find on Instagram, she changes her focus to a truck.

“With a farm, you’re tied down. But with a [flower] truck, you can go anywhere, and do anything.”

So how is she reaching that Goal? With Qapital. The Guilty Pleasure Rule saves Jules money each time she purchases flowers at her local shop. And it also helps her set aside cash each time she stops for gas. It’s the perfect combination for saving, and is inspirational in the process. So what had previously been a quick stop to fill up the car is now a reminder that she’s funding her dreams. We’re thrilled that she’s chosen Qapital to help her reach her Goals. And we can’t wait to watch as her dreams become a reality.

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If you’d like to follow Jules along the road to a flower truck, make sure to follow her Instagram and Snapchat!

 

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Lifestyle Blogger Alexandra Machover Shares Her Advice on Events, Emails, and Automated Savings

“When I started, it was about the food. But, there’s more to me than food. My life is about New York City.” 

Alexandra Machover (@spurofthemoments), lifestyle blogger, chats about how she developed her online personality. As she says in her blog, “each year I meet more people, I meet better people, I do more interesting things, and I embrace every moment of it.”

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That’s more than evident in the vibrant photos she captures on her Instagram. Self-described as “clean, raw, and real” you feel like you’re experiencing New York through the images: sitting poolside in the Hamptons, grabbing brunch with friends at the hottest NY spots, or taking a slow coffee break with a close friend.

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“Everything is in-the-moment. I always stay current and positive, and really try to live life to the fullest.”

And she has. Growing up in Long Island, Alexandra attended music school for 18 years, studying classical piano and guitar.Throughout her career, she’s sung pop music, opera, and, “probably the coolest thing about [her]”, a cappella with her NYC group, BLACKOUT.

When she’s not singing, her day is jam-packed. Waking up early to exercise or join a pal for a morning cup,she then jumps into her work day – Freelance Producing videos for PopSugar. After work, you’ll find her catching up with friends, updating her blog, or attending social media events. Between production, emails, deadlines, and making sure she has time to experience the city, it’s no wonder that the automation of Qapital comes in handy.

“I’ve always been a saver. I set the bar high for myself, asking, ‘How much do I need to be paid to be saving money?’ It’s nice to save even more and not notice it. I don’t spend a ton of money, I don’t shop a ton, so saving has always been the priority.”

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So…what is she saving for? And how?

“I need to travel. It’s nice to get out of the city every so often to relax. The fall will be busy. A trip will be nice.”

Using the RoundUp Rule, Alexandra is quickly chipping away at her Goal, and without sacrificing a single moment in doing so. That’s the simple beauty of Qapital. You set the Rules to help you save based on your personal lifestyle and budget. We’ll automate it, you keep living.

with @calebthill. photo @gabrielle.lui
with @calebthill. photo @gabrielle.lui

For more on Alexandra – from fashion to food and fun – follow her across her social!

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Hi, welcome to Qapital!

We’re here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and help you get set up and saving with Qapital!

welcome-to-qapital 01

Now that we’re downloaded onto your phone, you’re probably wondering who we are, what we do, and when you get to sling angry birds.

So, before you even have to ask, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions for you, and – first and foremost – there will be nothing to sling, except savings!

Qapital is a mobile app that comes with an FDIC-insured account that will automatically save money for you based on your spending habits, Rules that you set up, and automatically transfer money toward Goals you’d like to reach, or things you’d like to buy.

Go ahead: think big or small

You might be saving for a wedding, a dream vacation, or in my case – a new gold jumpsuit and sneakers for all my weekend dance parties. Short term or long term goals are also welcome – we’ll help you save for what you want, without constantly worrying about getting by without what you need.

How Qapital Works (and helps you save money)

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Once you’ve linked your checking account, you’ll set up Rules that will help you easily (and automatically!) save based on your spending habits.

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