Download the right apps, and smartphones can be your own personal financial assistant.
The six apps described here can help you with purchases big (a new home) or small (groceries), and help you keep track of your funds so you can buy those things in the first place. A tip of hat to CBC business columnist Rubina Ahmed-Haq, who advised us on this list.
The apps are all free, well-reviewed, available for iPhones and Androids and not affiliated with any particular bank.
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Flipp is a shopping app that allows you to plug in your postal code and see all local sales flyers in your area.
The free app keeps track of more than 800 flyers, including circulars from Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Walmart.
You can search by products as well, so you can find the store closest to you.
And if the store has price matching, there's no need to carry around sales flyers from a dozen different places. Just show the flyer on your phone.
2. Checkout 51
Keeping with shopping, Checkout 51 allows you to save on brand-name products with sales available through the app.
Once a week, the app lists products you can buy and the rebates you could receive for those purchases. The products are either associated with a certain store (tomatoes at Walmart, say, or Scotch tape at Staples), or brands that you can buy anywhere (Pringles, Folgers, Kellogg's).
If you buy any of the items, you upload a photo of your receipt to the app. When rebates for products purchased total $20, the Toronto-based company sends you a cheque.
Receipts, developed by Toronto company Wave, allows you to cut down on the clutter in your wallet or maybe that receipt-filled shoebox.
It allows you to take photos of your receipts, invoices and bills, which are uploaded to Wave's free accounting software. Electronic receipts in your email can be forwarded to the app and email PDFs can be uploaded.
The app in most cases can read the receipt and convert it to digital data, which you can edit if necessary.
This personal finance app is based on the "envelope system" of home finance — breaking up your take-home pay and putting it into various envelopes for separate categories of household spending.
The free version allows you 20 envelopes to plan and track your spending.
It also syncs across multiple phones so you can share the budget with your partner.
5. XE Currency
This app allows you to access current exchange rates so you can figure out how much that souvenir actually costs in Canadian dollars.
XE Currency is a popular free app that gives you live quotes for every major currency in the world, along with a mobile currency calculator. Its website boasts that it's the most downloaded foreign exchange app.
It also stores updated rates if you're offline, and is available for BlackBerry.
A paid version increases the number of currencies you can track at once.
6. Canadian Mortgage
Ever been out and about hunting for your next home and wished you could easily figure out how much it would cost to carry the mortgage?
Canadian Mortgage provides an app that will do the math. Calculate monthly payments for different interest rates, payment frequencies and amortizations.
It also calculates first-time buyer rebates and land transfer taxes across the country.
It's available for BlackBerry.