Last month, we reviewed a slick savings and goal-oriented app called Qapital. You can read the full review here, but here’s the elevator pitch. Qapital is an iPhone app (Android coming by year’s end) designed to help you set savings goals and then apply rules to automate and reach those goals.
The magic of this app is definitely in the savings rules. And since they’re all automated, it makes saving for a vacation or your emergency fund totally effortless. Qapital offers up a set of standardized rules that are completely customizable, as well as IFTTT-integrated (If This Then That) rules. The standardized rules include a roundup option (save any change rounded up to the nearest $x), and a guilty pleasure rule (“fine” yourself $5 every time you shop at that wallet-sucking abomination known as Target), as well as a few other options.
Then there are the IFTTT rules. IFTTT is a service that does exactly what it says: if this happens, then do that. It’s integrated with dozens of online services like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Nike+, and Qapital. With IFTTT, you can create “recipes” to automagically save money with Qapital. It’s an awesome feature. It has game-ified savings for us and allows us to reward and punish our real-world actions.
To give you a taste of what we’re talking about, here are five of our favorite Qapital + IFTTT savings recipes:
Round up rule.
There’s nothing more effortless than automatically saving every time we spend money. We’re big fans of the Round Up rule that does exactly exactly what it’s called — rounds up any spending to the nearest dollar and puts it into savings. It’s seamless, simple, and adds up quickly for something that doesn’t feel like much of a sacrifice.
Make it rain on rainy days.
This rule is one of our favorites. Each day the forecast calls for rain, we have money transferred from our checking to our rainy day fund (emergency fund). If we lived somewhere like Seattle, our rainy day fund would be raking it in. As it is in Utah, rainy days are a bit unpredictable, but when they do come, we make it rain in our emergency fund, too.
Target is in the cross-hairs.
Our budget doesn’t appreciate the role Target plays in it. Sometimes Joanna goes there for groceries and comes home with pillows, clothes, and decorations. So Joanna decided to set up a recipe that fines her anytime she steps foot within a 100-foot radius of the store. It’s another slick IFTTT recipe that uses your phones GPS to trigger it. She’s only set it up for a month since she can’t stay away longer than that, but I haven’t seen any new pillows recently, so maybe it’s working.
Half-marathon training toward post-baby wardrobe.
When we moved to Utah, Joanna started training for a half-marathon. Lack of time and sleep have made it hard to stick to her training plan at times, but to give herself a little extra motivation, she’s set up a rule. Each time she goes running with her Nike+ app, money gets put toward her post-baby wardrobe. After almost twelve weeks of training, her wardrobe fund is just about ready to be spent. And the saving has been gradual enough that it didn’t break the bank. Win-win all around.
No. More. #blessed.
We don’t use this recipe for ourselves, but we know a few people who could really benefit from it :). Think of it as a virtual swear jar, with a “blessed” twist. With this recipe, every time you use #blessed, you get fined aka money gets moved from your checking into your savings. Even when you’re feeling really, really #blessed, it’s usually better to just say no to that hashtag, and this rule helps you do just that.
These are our favorites, but there’s a recipe for everyone. And you can personalize them to both incentivize and “fine” you to fit your particular goals and bad habits. Here’s just a sampling of other recipes created by other Qapital users. If you’re looking for more ways to save (aren’t we all?), Qapital has a recipe for you. Better yet, download Qapital here and you’ll get $10 deposited in your account — free. Rad.
Just a heads up, this post is part of a sponsored campaign we’re doing with the folks at Qapital. This should go without saying, but all opinions are our own and came straight from our own noggins.
Hi Johnny, does this app work for UK users as well? Thanks, Sarah
Hey Sarah! Based on their FAQ page, it looks like it’s limited to US banks for now. But their site says “We’re hoping to eventually operate in different countries, but we don’t have a timeline for that yet.”
Seriously, that #blessed paragraph might be my favorite thing I’ve ever read on this blog. And I like an awful lot of things I read here.
Back when we were Bank of America customers, they offered a program where any purchases were rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference was automatically transferred into our savings account. It was very effective. I need to start doing that again.
One of my most effective savings strategies is I am not allowed to spend any $5 bills I have and put the money into savings. Of course, it only works when I use cash on a regular basis, which I have stopped doing lately.
And finally, Target. While I find the grocery prices to be great, especially when using the Red Card to get that 5% discount as well as Cartwheel offers, I am not actually saving anything when I am buying All The Things at Target. So now I have to cut the cord and start my cash shopping again at other places besides Target, and I’ll just fine myself if I can’t resist (love that idea).
Johnny and Joanna, will there be an entry about how you liked using it? (I’m catching up on posts so maybe I’ll see it as I read). 🙂