Save more with great financial apps

Some people use their cellphones like, well, phones. Others who have smartphones are seeing them as multipurpose tools that can do everything from act as a flashlight to amuse the kids with games.

The best way to use your phone/mini computer is by downloading the right apps. When it comes to managing your money, your phone allows you to tune into an array of tools that can help you pay your bills, manage your money, understand loans and more. It’s a great idea: managing your money is not about balancing your chequebook once a week, but thinking about finances throughout the day when you make purchases, hear news and talk with friends.

Why talk apps now? Because Ratesupermarket.ca now has its very own Mortgage Rate Comparison app. This iPhone app offers you many of the same functions as the website, plus a few additional tools. It’s the ideal app to have up and running when you’re shopping for houses or are approaching a mortgage renewal.

Fundamentally, the app keeps track of the latest competitive mortgage rates in Canada. You can boot it up while you’re browsing real estate listings or chatting with your bank.

My favourite tool is the calculator. Many web sites have these, but the Ratesupermarket.ca app lets you plug in your mortgage amount, rate and amortization period quickly (some of the online calculators run by the banks take forever, forcing you to link out to the bank’s latest mortgage rates) and gives you an easy-to-understand snapshot of your payments. Better still, once you’ve used the calculator and zip back over to the latest rates, the app automatically lists your monthly payments for each rate.

The app also lets you enter in your mortgage renewal date, and will send you a reminder when it’s approaching, plus it links out to mortgage experts across Canada when you’re getting serious about signing a deal.

OK, enough of that, what else should you be downloading at the app store?

Tip calculator. I need this so badly. I’m awful at math on the fly, and with the ever-changing taxes in my province, I never know what to tip. Tipulator is one of the most popular. It’s sweet and simple, letting you choose your tip percentage. A click lets you round up, round down and split the bill between two or more pals. I personally will be using it this weekend.

ATM finders. Most of the big Canadian banks have their own ATM finders. If you’re like me and run out of cash at the worst times, this is handy for figuring out how to refill the wallet.

Banking apps. Similarly, our banks all have their own basic apps to let you access your account online (and mine, RBC, has a location finder built in). Perfect if you’re sick of those ATM receipts and you want to check your bank balance before you withdraw money or make an Interact purchase. Also great for those “Oh crap!” moments when you suddenly remember, when you’re at the grocery store, that you forgot to transfer money into the mortgage account.

Finance management. Mint.com is so hot. Well, the app is pretty solid too. The service lets you sign up and access all your accounts, loans and investments in one place. If you’re one of those people with your finances with different organizations, it’s a great way to see them in one shot, transfer money, and assess where you’re at. The app also lets you create a budget (you’d never do it on your own!) and has a security feature that, if your phone is stolen, you can deactivate your phone’s access to the site online with a quick click.

Bills. BillTracker lets you keep track of upcoming bills so you can better budget your money. It comes with lots of extra features like charts and budgets.

Shopping. Save Benjis is a money-saving shopping app that perhaps doesn’t fit the rest of the list, but it’s so popular I had to include it. This $0.99 app serves Canada now too, and allows you compare prices as you’re shopping so you can see if what you’ve found is at a fair price. If not, you can click on the app and buy it online.

 

Diane
Writer for RateSupermarket.ca

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