5 Holiday Shopping Tips To Get You Through Winter

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The winter holiday season is upon us! Stressed out about how much holiday cheer is going to cost you this year? Fret not! We’ve got a few holiday shopping tips to help you and your wallet survive all the meals, flights and gift-giving ahead.

1. Spend money on experiences, not just things.

Sure, a new game console or a pair of shoes are appealing, but when you’re thinking about gifts—for yourself or for someone else—remember the value of experiences, too. A ticket home to see Grandma could mean a lot more to you than an iPhone X down the line.

Sometimes it’s more about what you spend your money on rather than how much you spend. Buy an experience you will remember, an experience you can share. Memories are one of the few gifts that never stop giving, and the winter holiday season is famous for them.

2. Prepare yourself for unexpected holiday purchases.

Even if you don’t have an emergency or rainy day fund lying around, it’s good to expect the unexpected. Overestimating what you’ll pay for dinners with friends and presents for your family can help keep you from running into the red every time you swipe your Qapital Visa® Debit Card.*  

Some things are out of your control, for example, knowing exactly how much you’ll spend on that first night out at home with your best pals from high school or that spontaneous present you’ll buy your daughter when you see it in the store. Face the reality of holiday splurges! If you know you’re going to have hot chocolate every day it snows, then don’t lie to yourself and pretend you won’t buy one every morning. Budget it into your weekly spending.

3. Think of spending on others as spending on yourself.

As the saying goes, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” By that logic, every present you give to someone else is also a present you give yourself.

Don’t buy into the “giving is a gift in itself” ideology? Well, when you think about it, gifts that are experiences are gifts to anyone who partakes in them—including and especially you. So you treat yourself when you treat your best friend to a cup of coffee or shell out half a month’s pay to fly home for the holidays!

4. Choose debit over credit.

If you already have a Qapital Visa® Debit Card, you know the benefits of choosing debit over credit (especially when your debit card is synced up with Qapital Savings Rules). You can spend less time worrying or feeling guilty about purchases, and more time enjoying yourself over the holidays.

If you don’t have a Qapital Visa® Debit Card, what are you waiting for? They’re free, they’re sleek, and they come with our exclusive Weekly Spending Target budgeting tool.

5. Small indulgences can make the holidays feel decadent. Embrace them.

Everyone gives in to their guilty pleasures some time or another—those small indulgences that you crave all year long, all week long, all day long. Giving in to what Qapital’s Chief Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely refers to as the “what the hell effect” is all too normal. Enjoy what you know you can’t resist, and if you treat yourself to something nice, let go of the guilt before it grips you. Never underestimate the power of little things over our happiness.   

Happy holiday spending!

*Issued by Lincoln Savings Bank, Member FDIC

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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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5 Ways to Save Money For Holiday Gifts with Qapital

save for the holidays
The leaves have only just begun to fall — is it too early to think about holiday shopping?

Before you groan, “It’s not even Halloween yet!” think about this: If you start saving for those holiday gifts now, you can end 2015 in the black, without adding a sleigh-full of credit card debt.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent a staggering $459.87 on gifts for their family and $80.00 on gifts for friends. We spend around $26 on gifts for co-workers and $30 on gifts for our pets. None of this includes decorations, cards, food and travel that go along with the holiday season of spending. Approximately 38% of Americans will pay for all this ho-ho-ho with a credit card. It will take you almost a year to pay off that $460 on with a credit card at 10.990% interest plus interest.

Set a new savings Goal in Qapital now and you’ll have enough money to pay cash for your holiday presents. Now that’s a reason for good cheer.

Here are five ways to grow your holiday savings without spending all your gingerbread:

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