How Saving With Qapital Helped Me Quit My Job To Pursue My Dream

This guest post is courtesy of Kassondra Cloos.

Photo by Nick Cote
Photo by Nick Cote

Becoming a freelancer is the dream for a lot of writers, who love the idea of trying to make it as their own boss. I first started thinking about making the leap in 2014 when I was a newspaper reporter and not making very much money. I considered quitting to waitress, travel, and pursue creating writing. With tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, though, I needed guaranteed income.

But last year, while working as an editor for an outdoor industry news website—a dream job in itself—I became addicted to saving with the Qapital app, and I started thinking about it again as my savings grew. I had met lots of successful travel writers who told me going freelance was the best decision they’d ever made, and I started preparing to give it a shot.

In December, sick of throwing away all my spare cash on student loan bills, I cleared out my checking and savings accounts to pay off my highest-interest loans. There was a moment of intense freedom, then a few weeks of living paycheck-to-paycheck while I rebuilt my safety net.

I watched my spending closely, and I wanted to hold myself accountable for saving the money I’d no longer need for my loans.

I found Qapital while Googling new savings accounts just after Christmas, and I opened an account immediately. I set up goals for student loans, quitting my job, and vacation, and a bunch of rules, like rounding up to the nearest $1 on every purchase, the 52-week rule (which saves $1 the first week then $2, then $3, and so on), and a guilty pleasure rule for withdrawing money from an ATM.

At first, I saved maybe $20 or $30 a week while I recovered from clearing out my funds to triple digits. But it quickly became like a game, and I created more and more rules. Automatic transfers held me accountable to save the $250 a month I had been spending on the loan I’d paid off, putting it just out of my reach so I couldn’t spend it frivolously. I loved how quickly spare change added up, so I took it a step further and changed my $1 round-up rule to a $5 round-up rule.

Saving with Qapital became addicting, and I’d check my account obsessively, every day, to see if I could round up a goal to a milestone by manually transferring an extra $5 or $10. In the spring, I started freelancing on the side as much as possible to build up my clips, establish relationships with publications I’d want to write for long-term, and save enough to quit.

I created a new goal for taxes, for a third of what I made from assignments, and I put nearly all of the rest into other Qapital savings goals. Instead of spending my extra cash on eating out or new clothes, I funneled every extra penny into my Qapital savings.

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Within just seven months, I saved over $9,000. A little more than half of that came from extra income outside of my regular job, and the rest was from filing away all the extra money I could. I used IFTTT, for example, to save $5 with one tap every time I avoided spending money on non-essential purchases.

With a safety net I finally felt comfortable with, I put in my notice in late July, and started freelancing full-time in mid-September. It’s a little early to know how successful I’ll be in the long term, but I do know that if every month is like this one, I’ll be just fine.

Photo by Nick Cote
Photo by Nick Cote

Kassondra Cloos is a freelance adventure travel and outdoor writer based in Boulder, Colorado. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @kassondracloos, and find more of her work at kassondracloos.com.

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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:

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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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Savings Stories: “Qapital makes saving money fun”

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We know that Qapital is the best way to save money for all the things we want to do in life. But the things we buy are just a small part of the equation. Staying on top of expenses and taxes might not seem glamorous but it’s those things that give us the feeling that we’re taking control.

unnamedMeet Randi Newton, a 37 year-old journalist and sober companion who works with addicts in recovery

Tell us what you’ve been saving for.

I’m always saving for something on Qapital.  My top goals for now are saving for tax time, since I’m a freelancer and saving for a rainy day.

How has saving money been difficult for you in the past?

I’ve tried different ways of saving. I’ve literally put money in a jar, aka the piggy bank method. It was too accessible, sometimes I’d turn to the piggy bank rather than run to the ATM.

What’s your savings strategy with Qapital? 

I started saving small with Qapital.  At first I used Set and Forget to deposit $5 into each goal.  Then once the money started adding up, I upped it to $10 a day. Then I started using the Guilty Pleasure rule since Starbucks, Uber and Seamless Web are repeat offenders in my life. But I actually didn’t feel bad using them, knowing that money would be put into my account toward my Goal. It didn’t take long at all for me to start saving and notice my savings building up.

Do you feel the money leaving your account? 

Sometimes I do feel it, but I know it’s going into another account toward my goals. And I know I can access if I need it, so no matter where the money ends up, I know it’s mine.

Why do you think that the money advice you’ve been given in the past has let you down?

Different strategies work for different people. As much as I’ve loved saving and it’s something I’ve had an interest in, I’m bored by conventional “how to save” articles. Qapital makes saving fun, it’s that simple. I attribute this to the variety of ways you can save money. I really like the colorful graphics on the Qapital app and the sense that I’m doing something to help my future.  It makes it all easy to keep track of and fun.

What are you saving for next?

I’m always saving for something.  I’m dreading tax time, but the Freelancer Rule has made it a little more bearable.

Any advice for new users? 

Saving money is something that a lot of people make excuses for being they “can’t afford to do.” Qapital takes the daunting thought of saving and turn it into something you might actually enjoy doing. No amount you try to save is too small, because it all really adds up over time.  I say start saving slowly and small if you’re intimidated, then after you see the results, push yourself to save more. The person it benefits the most is you.

Get the app!

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Qapital Sponsored NYC Event: Emerging Artist Rahm-Bow

rahm bow - faces in placesWhen you’re an artist, there are a lot of variables that go into becoming successful. Some of these things are out of your control, like talent and skill, but there are others you can strive for, like schooling and connections to the movers and shakers in the scene.

If you’re like Rahmeik Bowen, a visual artist and student at The New School, you show your work online and share it with tastemakers all over the world.

rahm-bow is Bowen’s Tumblr site, where he posts his new work to thousands of followers. We spoke to Bowen about how he’s preparing for at his first show since moving to New York and how he uses Qapital to save money.

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How To Be Productive & Save Money with Qapital + IFTTT

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Who says hard work is its own reward? Now you can reward yourself with savings, just for being productive. With Qapital, it’s easy to trigger automated savings just for staying organized. 

Qapital and IFTTT make it easy to save while working. If you’ve gotten this far and are wondering ‘What the heck is IFTTT?’, check out this blog post to learn more about how this awesome automation tool can help you power your Qapital savings strategy.

Here are three ways to save money and be productive while working your day job:

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Qapital Idea: How to Save Money While Freelancing

freelancer working at his desk
Hey, freelancer! Congratulations on taking the world by storm and deciding that you hold the key to to your professional destiny.

At Qapital, we know that money, whether you’re making it or saving it, is an everyday issue. We created the Freelancer Rule to help you put aside money for taxes but there’s so much more to the app that can make your life as a freelancer better.

Once you sign up for Qapital and link your checking account and credit cards, you can start saving while you’re spending money and time growing your business — and living your life.

Here are four ways you can use Qapital to stay both independent and wealthy while you’re freelancing:

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The 4 Big Mistakes Freelancers Make When Filing Their Taxes

four mistakes freelancers makeFreelancing — it’s great until April 15 comes around and you haven’t got the money to pay the IRS. Or almost as bad, remembering to pay up but getting hit with penalties for not filing quarterly.

According to Jonathan Medows, a New York-based CPA and blogger for the Freelancers Union, the biggest mistake that freelancers make is failing to pay their quarterly estimated taxes.

Quarterly estimated taxes are the payments that self-employed people usually need to make four times a year to the IRS. You generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return.

Penalties can vary for not filing quarterly — that’s money that no one likes to lose.

It doesn’t matter if you use an accountant or file your taxes yourself, if you’re a 1099 employee or a freelancer, it’s up to you to file your taxes four times a year and to make sure you’ve got the money set aside to pay them.

Here are three more big money mistakes that freelancers make when it comes to their taxes:

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