New Years, and the holidays in general, are an annual realization for many of us that we need to spend smarter.
Maybe it's all the gifts we need to buy for Xmas, or the hundreds of dollars we drop for NYE, but either way, come the first week back from the holidays, our bank accounts aren't nearly as full as we'd like and the stress of having no money sets in.
You could, of course, have more to spend over the holidays (or any other time of the year) if you knew how to budget and save properly. Unfortunately, school nor your parents actually taught you that life skill, leaving you utterly in the dark when it comes to money management and how to be thrifty when spending.
God bless technology for being there when everyone else fails, because there's an app for all that. Or should I say, many apps.
From banking to coupons to calculating tips, there are hundreds of financially-focused smartphone apps available for you to download, and below you'll find a compilation of some of the best/most useful.
Each and every app works in Canada, is compatible with androids and iPhones (for the most part), and (most important of all) will help you save some money in 2016. Read on and get saving.
If you're a self-aware smoker (one who knows/cares how bad smoking is for them but does it anyway) then you probably made quitting smoking a new years resolution for 2016...just like you did last year.
But with a little help from the Smoke Free app, you could make this year's resolution stick, and save a few bucks to boot.
Heralded as the "stop smoking app that science built," Smoke Free provides concrete figures to demonstrate how beneficial quitting smoking can be, including how much money you're saving.
You can even input when you get cravings, which the app then graphs out to map out your "problem times" while providing strategies on how to overcome the urge to smoke.
Interestingly, Smoke Free also functions as an ongoing experiment, as the data you enter will help the developers create new methods to curb the habit of smoking. Those not willing to share any info can rest easy knowing you can download and use the app without being part of the project.
Personally, all I need to get my spending habits in check is to look at the big picture. Think about it: it's really easy to spend $40 (or more) at the bar when you don't have all of your important expenses laid out for you, reminding you where your money should be going. And that's what Mint does best.
An all-in-one banking app, Mint compiles all of your financial accounts (all major Canadian banks supported) in a single spot, letting you then track expenses, schedule payments, and set budgets.
Convenient for anyone who might have several bank accounts, Mint is also just incredibly useful by allowing you to see an easy-to-understand (and detailed) picture of your spending habits. Once you get a concrete visual on how much you're spending on eating out or alcohol, you'll definitely be able to budget better.
Whereas Mint is great for long-term budgeting through your bank account, MoneyWise is a solid choice for on-the-fly expenses, or for those who aren't all that great at planning ahead.
Allowing you to set a budget beforehand, then input a purchase at any time, with your overall financial info always presented, the app lets you track your spending in real-time, forcing you to feel a bit more guilty when dropping dollars on sh*tty pizza or the like.
One pretty unique feature found on MoneyWise (which apparently isn't found on other budgeting apps) is the ability to scan labels. Maybe not the best idea when going shopping for groceries (no one has time for all of those barcodes) but it is pretty useful if you're running an expense account or on a work vacation, as you can just track every scanned label and get compensated later.
Owning a car is a pretty major expense, mostly because of how crazy pricey it can be to just fill up your tank nowadays. Most drivers are always on the hunt to find the lowest gas price around and save a few bucks, but with GasBuddy, the search for cheap gas stations is simplified to the fullest.
Enter your city and postal code, and GasBuddy will let you know exactly where the cheapest gas station is near you. That's a pretty solid feature in itself, but you stand to save even more if you report a low gas price to other users, allowing you to earn points and rewards.
You know all those annoying paper flyers every grocery store has as soon as you walk in, the ones you ignore altogether because you can't be bothered to flip through all the pages even though it may save you money?
That's what SaleWhale is all about, and condenses all of those pesky flyer pages into one intuitive resource.
Compiling the flyers of over 75 Canadian retailers and grocers, SaleWhale lets you know what's on sale and where, with the ability to search specific products (and create "sale alerts" for it) too.
Folks who like to cook will be pretty jazzed about the recipe feature of SaleWhale, where you can input all the ingredients of a recipe and find out where it'll be the cheapest to buy all the food stuffs. Take an $80 recipe to half the price, letting you get more bang out of your food bucks.
Tip Calculator % Free
Okay, so granted that figuring out how much you owe your server for their tip isn't the most complex task when it comes to finances, but add in another couple guests or a higher/lower tip rate and you've got a more difficult math problem.
% Free does all the work for you, and gives you the option of modifying a few tip-factors like the number of people dining and the overall percentage.
Personally, I'm wont to over-tip, and have gotten the pricier end of the stick a few times when dining out with friends, so while this (or any) tip calculating app isn't the most innovative technology, it can help you get your tip-spending straight and ensure you aren't losing too much cash (or not giving enough) which can add up over time.
Snap by Groupon
The fact that this app was made by Groupon is almost enough to convince anyone that it'll save them some cheddar (that's old man for money), and it will, because Snap makes it pretty easy to get in on sales when shopping.
As opposed to SaleWhale, which shows you whats on sale at a store, Snap provides you with offers through the app itself.
Swipe through what Snap is doling out, head to the store, buy the product, then snap (omg that's the name of the app!) a pic of the receipt and you'll get a rebate for the difference between the purchase price and the sale price.
No need to set up your bank account in the app either, as you'll just get a cheque in the mail every time you reach $20 in rebates.