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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The Inspiration for our New Product – Qapital Spending

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Written by George Friedman, CEO.

At Qapital – we spend a lot of time thinking about people’s relationship with their money. About how the way people are wired affects the way we manage our money. And about how human nature shapes our financial decision-making (sometimes for the better, sometimes not).

It’s why we design our products in tandem with Behavioral Economist, Dan Ariely – who helps us find ways to make the act of saving more successful. Like having people save for specific goals, instead of generic savings accounts. Or having people upload custom photos for their goals – because we know that when people can see what they want in front of them, they save 2x more.

By combining behavioral economics and technology, we built an app that turned people into great savers by making saving easier and more motivating.

Today, we’re taking that same philosophy a step further with the launch of “Qapital Spending” – a checking account designed to help people spend more intentionally, and reach their goals even faster.

This means that Qapital is moving from a simple savings app, to a more holistic goal-focused personal finance platform. Or – in human speak – a new way to bank designed to help people put their money towards the stuff that matters most.

Now, with the addition of Qapital Spending, users can better monitor and manage their weekly spending and savings habits in real-time. They can automatically puts a little away every time they swipe – making saving for their goals a daily, automatic habit. Qapital users even get helpful notifications about how much they’ve saved and track progress towards their goals.

Just like traditional banks, Qapital lets people send paper checks, set up direct deposit, even earn interest on their account balances. But UNLIKE banks, Qapital has no monthly fees, no minimums, unlimited transfers and more. So basically – the stuff you need, without the stuff you don’t.

It’s the next step in our effort to create a better banking experience. One that helps people not only manage — but improve —  their financial lives. One that’s less frustrating, and more fulfilling. One that helps people get the most possible happiness out of their money.

And the best part, is this is just the next step. Much more to come in the next year.

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How I Saved for My Wedding Making My Lunch and Using the Qapital App

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Written by Laura Hager, Blogger

For years, I had been dreaming about my wedding. I had been pinning pictures of pretty venues, gorgeous dresses, and color palettes to my Pinterest board long before I was engaged. I had so many ideas saved up! Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when my boyfriend got down on one knee and asked me the question. We were in a newly engaged, dreamlike state until we realized that we had no way to pay for our wedding.

How had I scrolled through endless wedding Pinterest boards and never thought of how I was going to pay for it?! After a few days of trying to coming up with schemes to earn money, it hit me. I could create a new goal on my Qapital app! I had my Qapital rules saving my money into two goals already, so I knew that this type of savings plan was perfect for me! I logged into my app and created a new goal and titled it “My Wedding.” I knew I need to add money to that goal as soon as possible, so I created two rules. The first adds a certain amount into the goal every Sunday and the second rounds up every purchase to $3.

What I love about Qapital is that I just have to create the rules and let the app do its thing. I don’t have to think about my savings goals all day. My handy app is constantly working towards my savings goals for me, even when I forgot. Something else I love about Qapital is the automatic overdraft protection. Overdraft fees are the worst! The app helps by postponing the transfers until the withdraw account is ready to go. Plus, it holds the transfer amount and remembers what it was going to transfer so no saving rules get skipped!

In addition to the rules I created, I started manually transferring money into my wedding savings goal. If I decide to make coffee at home instead of hitting up the closest coffee shop, I transfer the $4 I would have spent into the app. If I decided to check out a book at my library instead of purchasing a new one, I move the amount I didn’t spend over to Qapital. It’s so easy to manually transfer a specific amount of money. And in only a week of this new habit, I saved $50 from packing lunches and brewing my own coffee.

Using Qapital to save for my wedding has relieved a lot of stress! It’s also helping me become more aware of my spending habits and helping me become a better saver!

Do you have a wedding coming up? Let me know which saving rules are helping you get to your dream wedding goals!

Laura Hager lives in Phoenix, AZ with her fiancé and their small dog, Astro. She runs a blog called Laurel and Fern. She loves scrapbooking, baking, reading, and all things creative. Her website is www.laurelandfern.com and her Instagram is @laura_hager.

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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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