9 killer apps

Here’s New Year’s resolution No. 1: make your smartphone pay for itself and then some. These apps will more than suffice.

You probably already consult your smartphone a few dozen times a day for texts, emails and random searches (e.g., how much of the TV show Vikings is true?). Here are nine other reasons to gaze into the screen. These apps can help you pay your bills on time, save money, run your business more efficiently and even invest more profitably. And most of them won’t cost you a penny.

1. Mint (iOS, Android)

Perhaps the best-known personal finance app out there, this all-in-one tool links your home loan, investments, bank and credit-card accounts to your budget and spending patterns. (Don’t worry, it uses bank-level security and alerts you to any suspicious transactions.) Not only will Mint alert you when all your bills are due so you avoid late fees, the app offers a free credit score, customized spending-and-savings reports and personalized recommendations on how you can keep more cash in your pocket. Free.

2. Flipp IQ (iOS, Android)

Want to make sure you’re getting the best price available on everything from groceries to appliances? Plug in your postal code to get local sales flyers from more than 800 retailers such as Metro, Canadian Tire, Loblaws, and Walmart. You can search for bargains by product as well, and Flipp’s coupon-matching feature lets you seek out manufacturers’ coupons to render a good deal even better. Free.

3. Mylo (iOS, Android)

Want a simple, painless way to stash way more cash? Mylo automatically rounds up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change into a personally tailored diversified portfolio of ETFs (index funds). If you spend 4.50$ on a latte, for example, Mylo will round it up to 5$ and invest the difference. Launched in July, 2017, it’s great for saving toward a special trip or purchase, or simply bolstering your investment account. Free download; 1$ a month for the investment account.

4. Bloomberg (iOS, Android)

Stay abreast of what’s going on in the business world as well as within your own portfolio. Apart from delivering breaking news about the global economy – financial markets in particular – you can enter your daily list of investments in the portfolio tracker and follow their daily activity. You’ll even get personalized news about companies on your watch list. Free.

5. Sage Expenses and Invoices (iOS, Android)

Geared to small businesses, this app offers a simple way to handle transactions on the go. Create and send invoices to customers on-site, as soon as you complete a job, and record expenses in seconds, backing them up with receipt photos. Better still, you can easily track and chase down unpaid and overdue invoices. View your business performance whenever you want, right in the palm of your hand. Free.

6. Shoeboxed (iOS, Android)

This app takes expense tracking to the next level. Not only can you photograph a receipt and save it on your expense report, Shoeboxed uses optical character recognition technology to automatically fill in the expense text fields. The result: no manual entry. You also get a designated email address connected to your account, so any invoice, contact or expense information that is emailed to you will automatically be saved in Shoeboxed. Finally, the app tracks work mileage using GPS technology, then enters the statistics into the appropriate text fields to give you an accurate report. From $15 a month for up to 50 documents.

7. Dropbox (iOS, Android)

This cloud-storage device lets you scan, send and receive documents from clients, organizing them in folders – just like on your desktop. You’ll no longer have to wait for forms to arrive by mail, fax or email and they’re simple to find when you need them. Free.

8. Evernote (iOS, Android)

If you’re an avid note taker, you may already have discovered this app for logging reminders, voice memos, meeting notes and to-do lists. Use it to share documents with work colleagues or clients, or to sync information across all your devices. You can store PDFs of the tax forms you send out regularly to clients rather than carrying a briefcase full of paper. Once data is stored, it is fully searchable. The basic account is free.<

9. Upwork (iOS, Android)

Need extra help? Upwork is like a digital temp agency, whether you’re looking for someone to design your website or act as a personal assistant who can fill in during a particularly busy time. Upwork makes finding a freelancer simple. Just plus in what you need and it will search its database of 12 million registered freelancers and provide a short list. You can browse through it, pick the one you want and pay by credit card or PayPal once the work is completed.