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Normally if someone is continually pocketing your spare change, it’s a cause for concern, and you really must talk to that one uncle about it. Well, not anymore! What if the culprit that’s taking your spare change is really helping you manage your money better? Cue Qapital, an app that’s described as “banking designed with your goals in mind.” It’s so much more than that, though.
While attending the Lola Retreat in New York City this past April, among the many other financially savvy things I kept hearing was the name Qapital being lovingly thrown around. (Whether or not I immediately knew how it was spelled is a different matter. Leave me alone.)
I downloaded the app on the Sunday of the conference with no real knowledge of what it was, other than it “saves for you without you even noticing.” How ominous, I thought, but what the heck? I’m awful at saving anything, and I could use all the help I could get.
Exactly four weeks later, I had saved almost $150. I had no idea. Didn’t even feel it.
You may say my not noticing these savings is a clear indicator of my horrendous spending habits, and to that I say . . . ahem, well, something that’s not publishable. But what are we waiting for? Here's my Qapital review.
How Does Qapital Work?
The app helps you save money by taking it from your bank account through a set of “rules.” It deposits the saved money into the Qapital app, thus acting like a bank. You can withdraw the saved funds and put them back into your account with just a 24-hour delay.
The Rules I Live By
Do you find that you spend too much money on Grubhub each week? Punish yourself by saving: Give an extra $10 to Qapital every time you buy that cursed pad thai. Or are you a freelancer who, like me, never puts money away for taxes? (I’m feeling so attacked by this article.)
You can also name goals to aspire to. Mine is a $5,000 amount, creatively called Savings for Life. Yep. And I write for a living.
I have another rule set up for any deposit more than $1,000; the app takes an automatic 20 percent. Y’know, because taxes don’t let us have nice things.
Qapital allows you to pick and choose these rules to help you maximize your savings. In my Savings for Life category, I have two rules at play. The Round-up Rule ensures that every time I make a purchase on my debit card, the amount is rounded up to the nearest $2, and the difference is saved. It “saves the change,” as it were. Are you really going to notice a couple of cents here and there? I watch my bank account like a hawk, and I didn’t see the money go. A tad worrying, for sure, but also, yay, savings!
The second major rule I use for this goal is the Guilty Pleasure Rule. You set any amount to save every time you buy the things you’re trying to stop buying.
For me, that’s Thai green curries from Grubhub, so I penalize myself a whopping $10 each time I buy takeout. Trust me, it’s necessary. I have a problem.
As I said above, I use the Freelancer Rule for each time I get paid. Because I’m a foreigner, my tax percentage is somewhat lower than what most Americans pay. Even though the automatic percentage on this rule is preset at 30 percent, I still use it to try and save a little extra. Whether I have to take some of the money back out after a few days is another thing.
There’s a bunch of other rules that the app has to suit your needs, such as:
- The Set & Forget Rule, with which you set up daily, weekly, or monthly deposits to make automatic savings.
- The Payday Rule, with which you automatically save a certain percentage each time your boss coughs up.
- The Spend Less Rule. Bet against yourself — set a budget for something, and if you spend less than that, reward yourself by saving the difference! Savings are a reward for the future you, don’t forget. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to try and sleep at night.
- The 52 Week Rule. This is pretty simple: $1 in week one, $2 in week two, and so on. Personally, this is too slow for me, and then I’d have a heart attack in any week over 25 — that’s my Grubhub money! But if you actually succeed, you would have socked away $1,378 without interest.
- The Apple Health Rule, with which you gain money as you lose weight. The only exercise I get is lifting a beer bottle up and down from my mouth, so this one is not for me.
- The IFTTT Rule. No, this isn’t only the sound you’ll make when you save yourself a hell of a lot of cash. It stands for “If This, Then That” and represents customizable rules that are completely up to you. So when you buy another lipstick from MAC for $20, you can beat yourself up about it financially, too.
Oh Qapital, My Qapital: A Final Word
The embarrassing ways I spend my money are actually helping me save now, thankfully. Why is it embarrassing? I work for a financial literacy platform. Do the math! I can’t do the math, though. That’s why I spent $120 on Kendrick Lamar tickets and now can’t afford the rent. Ha ha ha! Please help.