Family life

Best time-saving apps for parents

Can't think of anything worse than standing in a bank lineup with your kids? Download these solutions for many of your to-do list dilemmas.

By Jennifer Kwan

Best time-saving apps for parents

Photo: Corbis Images

6 time-saving apps for parents

Time-saving solutions

Looking to streamline your tasks? We’ve rounded up some handy and helpful mobile and smartphone apps to help you manage your money and to-do list.

A version of this article appeared in our March 2014 issue with the headline "6 time-saving apps for parents," pp. 28-30.

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: Corbis Images

Banking apps

Canadian banks and other financial institutions have mobile apps so you can check balances and payments, as well as transfer funds to other accounts via Interac e-Transfer. But there are other cool things going on to make your finances easier to manage. ING Direct and CIBC both allow users to take a snapshot of a cheque to deposit it, while RBC lets you transfer funds via Facebook Messenger contacts (currently available on iPad, with use on iPhone expected to roll out before spring).

Free, iTunes.com

Read more: 5 smart money apps>

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: iTunes

Mobile payments

Tap and pay with your smartphone? Sounds like the perfect way to save time when you have a wiggly kid in your arms. There are different kinds of mobile payment options, but they typically allow you to either store banking info on a mobile device or register loyalty cards to pay for items, eliminating the need to carry cash and credit cards. Most of Canada’s banks have been active on this front, and wireless carriers are also getting into the game. Tim Hortons now offers an app for mobile payments, so you can register a Tim’s card onto your phone, then simply tap to get your java fix. Wendy Morelli, a Markham, Ont., mom of two, has another favourite. “I love the Starbucks app,” she says. “I pull out my phone and, boom, it’s done.”

Read more: How safe are apps>

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: iTunes

Mint.com

This app makes it easy to track your finances, putting the info in the palm of your hand. Voted Editor’s Choice for the personal finance category by PC Magazine, Mint provides a detailed overview of balances across all your accounts, helps with budgeting and categorizes your spending habits. It sends you advice on where you could shave costs, as well as notify you when you’ve gone over budget or need to pay a bill. You have to sync your online banking usernames and passwords, then Mint will bring information together using what it says is bank-level security. It is a read-only service, which means you can’t move funds or do your banking, but you can track and budget.

Free, itunes.com, play.google.com, appworld.blackberry.com

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: iTunes

Receiptmate

Use your iPhone camera to scan receipts, tally the totals for budgeting purposes and store receipts for safekeeping. Receiptmate eliminates the need to manually enter data into spreadsheets, and you can throw out the paper receipts that typically end up crumpled in your purse or wallet, says Toronto dad Michael Hainsworth, co-host of tech TV show App Central. “Not only does it save the receipt in your iPhone, it saves it in Evernote, a cloud-based, synchronized note making app,” he says. In order to use Receiptmate, you must have an account with Evernote, which can also help you to manage tasks so efficiently that Gershkovitch says it’s “almost like having an assistant.”

$3, iTunes.com

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: iTunes

Reebee

No more junk mail, thanks. Reebee is an app that puts flyers in your mobile device instead of on your doorstep. The app features flyers in your local area and also sends alerts when new deals are available. “I always have my phone on me, so it’s an easy way to check sales if I’m on my way somewhere,” says Terri Coles, a mom in St. John’s, Nfld.

Free, iTunes.com, play.google.com, appworld.blackberry.com

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: iTunes

Spendee

Spendee is similar to Mintit helps you keep track of your income and expenses and then displays that info with easy-to-read pie charts and graphs. Spendee eliminates the security concern by not requiring you to sync your banking infowhich is a big draw for some peopleso you just enter the amounts and keep them up-to-date on your own. The app received a stamp of approval from tech guru Amber MacArthur, who loves how it identifies spikes in her spending. “I know that Saturdays are a painful day for me because I might go shopping,” she said. “So maybe it’s a good time to stay home.”

$2, itunes.com, play.google.com

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: iTunes

More apps for parents

6 must-have apps for new moms>
Get organized, and keep track of every precious moment, with these essential apps for new moms and dads, including our very own Milestones app!

Best time-saving apps for parentsPhoto: Today's Parent Milestones app

This article was originally published on Feb 26, 2014
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