For better or worse, it can feel like your smartphone is never too far out of reach. It’s part phone, part news agent, part texting device, part music player, part pretty-much-anything-else-you-want-it-to-be. While having your phone nearby can be a distraction, it can also be a valuable resource and make your life easier. It can store information, provide valuable content, and give us direction, to name a few. Best of all, many are absolutely free.
Here are some of my favourite free apps for a more effortless life. While these links are to download them from the Apple App Store, you can search for them in your App Store of choice!
At any given time, there can be so many things to remember, and keeping track of everything wastes precious brainpower. The plain ol’ Notes app that comes pre-loaded on most phones can be a major help for scattered lists and ideas.
I use it mainly to drop ideas as they come up; anything from a gift idea to a to-do, a reminder to call someone, or a blog post idea. I’ve also used it to record grocery lists, recommendations from friends (like podcasts and books), anything I need to copy and paste often (like tags for Instagram posts), and quick reference items (like Canadian customs limits). It may lack bells and whistles, but I’ve found it to be the quickest way to capture miscellaneous notes.
It seems like almost every store has a loyalty program these days. While this can make shopping more lucrative, it can also weigh down your wallet or keychain with the extra plastic.
CardStar stores all your loyalty cards electronically in one app. Just add your cards by scanning their barcodes or manually entering your card numbers, and see the store logos appear, making it easier to spot them. Once shopping, find the store you’re at in the app, and voila – a barcode will pop up for the cashier to scan. Hello, points!
This location-based app can make your life easier in so many ways! Save time searching for movie information by using Poynt to find a theatre close to you and browse their films and showtimes. Use it on road trips to find restaurants and gas stations nearby when you’re in unfamiliar territory. Call on the Businesses directory if you’re looking for the closest dry cleaner, bank, or pharmacy, to name a few. I recently learned that Poynt also includes a Parking feature which displays the closest lots and their pricing.
Genius, if you ask me.
If you don’t get store flyers or find the printed ones cumbersome, browsing digital versions is an efficient solution. Flipp lets you peruse flyers from a wealth of stores, clearly highlighting which days they start and end. Circle flyer items with the tap of your finger, and have them saved to “Clippings” for easy access, and build your shopping list right in the app itself. Flipp even provides some electronic coupons to save you money at checkout.
Shopping for a specific item like eggs, a 55″ TV, or Cheerios? Search for the item on Flipp and see all relevant flyer clippings! You can quickly scan through the excerpts to find the best deal.
The power of crowdsourcing is in full effect in this transit app. While Maps or Google Maps can highlight general road congestion or suggest the fastest route to a destination, Waze takes it one step further by offering real-time updates on accidents, construction, and slow-downs. Then, Waze uses this information to offer alternate routes that will save you time. Its detail and specificity make navigating super easy.
Using these apps and others, you can shave off needless time and energy from your day, leaving room for the more important stuff. Leave me a comment and let me know what your favourite app is for making your life easier.