And here's the thing: This money-saving smartphone app is totally free!

By Brandi Broxson
Updated April 20, 2018
Woman in office with phone and coffee
Credit: Hero Images/Getty Images

I have a confession: I’m the money editor at Real Simple and I’m not great at saving for vacation.

When it comes to funding my 401K or other long-term savings, I’m golden. But short-term goals have always proven more difficult. Why? Since short-term goals are more on me to adhere to, I’d often procrastinate (or forget!) to start saving until a month or two before.

In the past I tried using my checking account to save but found it was just too easy to forget a savings goal and spend the money. I’ve also tried using one traditional savings account for all of my savings goals but didn’t feel successful at that either. You know how some people don’t like their food touching on a plate? I don’t like my different goals lumped together in a savings account. I feel more motivated to see the funds and track their progress separately. Can you relate?

About a year ago, I started using the Qapital savings app and have never been more successful at meeting my goals without the stress of last-minute saving. So how does it work? Qapital connects to your checking account and allows you to deposit to goals you set. (I currently have goals set for a summer vacation, upgrades to my apartment, and even one for Christmas gifts.)

There’s no fee or minimum deposit to open an account, you don’t have to maintain a certain minimum balance, and there’s no monthly fees. Even better, all the funds in your Qapital accounts are insured by the FDIC.

But here’s what really makes Qapital feel different from the typical savings account: You can set auto-deposit rules to help keep you accountable. (And typically when you automate savings, you have better results.)

Additionally, you can set rules for each account depending on how fast you want to reach specific goals. For example, you can set a rule that transfers $5 to a goal every time you go to Starbucks. Or you can set a rule that rounds up each charge you make with your checking account to the nearest $1 and then transfers that money into another goal (or the same one). There are also more general rules you can automate to transfer money when you get paid or on a weekly or monthly basis.

I’ve found that these rules make the process pain-free and allow me to set it and forget it. It almost feels like magic to open up the app and see how much I’ve saved without feeling a hard hit to my wallet!