Free iPhone Apps to Help Your Every Day

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Free iPhone Apps to Help Your Every Day (Frugal Friday) - three simple apps you already have that can help you.

I’ve had my iPhone for about two years now. It was a big leap for me to get one. Previously, I’d owned only free, not-so-smart phones that I upgraded only when the provider was offering me a new FREE phone. It took a lot of convincing to get me to pay even one cent for a phone when they could be had for free.

I can be pretty stubborn sometimes. Just ask my husband.

I bought an iPhone 4 when there were newer, fancier models to choose from because it was cheaper. I paid $99. I didn’t need all the bells and whistles. I’ve since found that this is the way with me and Apple products. They come out with something new and I buy the older model for a cheaper price. I’m sure they have an entire marketing team who planned it that way.

Regardless, “my 4” has served me really well as a phone, as a camera, and as a personal planner. While I’m still a pencil and paper kind of girl and keep a physical household notebook, I also make good use of a number of apps on my iPhone.

I was recently approached by an app company to help them develop some new add-ons to their productivity platform. It seemed really exciting at the outset since it’s a nationally known application, but there were some snags in the whole thing. One, I’ll be honest, the compensation structure was complicated and not guaranteed. I’ve got too much to do to work for free. Two, the contract required a blanket endorsement of their whole line of product, with which I’m not really familiar. It’s really important to me that whatever I recommend to you is really worth your time. If it’s just a guess that it might be, well, that’s not good enough.

How could I tell you to go use product X and buy their add-ons, when really? Most of the apps I use on a regular basis are free; many are even pre-installed apps straight from Apple. So rather than sell you on something you may or may not need, I figured I’d just share how these help me and how you can make these iPhone apps work for you.

I do not want to tout myself as a Mac devotee, but now that I have an iPhone, iPad, and an iMac, I guess you could say I’m sold. I think PCs are great. There were honestly just too many choices out there. Macs are pretty straightforward and your choices are limited. So far, I’m a fan.

If you don’t own an Apple product, my guess is that there are similar apps available on other smart phones and tablets, presumably for free. Please share those in the comments so others can benefit from that comparison.

Free iPhone Apps to Help Your Every Day (Frugal Friday) - three simple apps you already have that can help you.

Free iPhone Apps to Help Your Every Day

I think a lot of us don’t pay attention to programs and apps that come pre-installed on our phones, tablets, and computers. Here are three that I love and use every day of my life.


I love Reminders. I create all kinds of checklists in here. Currently, I’ve got running lists for all the stores that I shop at, packing checklists for road trips, a bathroom cleaning checklist for my kids to know when the task is truly done, lists of recipes to develop, school supplies to buy, and of course, things to do.

The app will show you what’s on your list, allow you to see the history of what’s been on the list, and allow you to move items easily from one list to another. Bonus points: it syncs to my iPad as well as my computer, so I can consult my lists or add to it no matter where I am. Well, except the shower.

Free iPhone Apps to Help Your Every Day (Frugal Friday) - three simple apps you already have that can help you.


This is simply a notepad app. No big deal, right? Well, I use this sucker all the time. I’ve got an amazing array of notes:

  • a master weekend packing list
  • a running list of things to see in France and England on our trip
  • a note about FishChick’s recent (and serious) allergic reaction to dust and weeds to share with the allergist
  • a list of places to stop along the 5 and the 405 as we drive to and from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles on weekend trips
  • our regular order for In-N-Out Burger
  • the weight machine settings for when I’m at the gym
  • clothing sizes for my people for when I go shopping
  • songs that I like on Pandora and want to  buy
  • possible post topics or recipe ideas
  • a list of sugar-free breakfasts for our sugar fast
  • special quotes I want to remember

Free iPhone Apps to Help Your Every Day (Frugal Friday) - three simple apps you already have that can help you.

Obviously, the uses for Notes knows no bounds. Again, it syncs to all your other devices, and the bonus here is that you can text or email your note to someone else. This is super helpful, especially when FishPapa is running to In-N-Out Burger for me.


While I love my paper calendar, I love the digital calendar because it can be more easily shared and it can remind me of what I need to do. In fact, every morning my Google Calendar sends me an email of my schedule for the day. I have dodged many a missed-appointment-bullet this way.

I sync my Apple ID with Google calendar. I’m a Gmail kind of girl and love the interconnectedness of Gmail and Google Calendar. My husband and the two big boys all have Gmail accounts so I can easily share appointments with them. The beauty of your kids growing in a technological world is that they have no excuse for not knowing your agenda.

I know a smart phone is not in the budget for everyone. It took a HUGE amount of convincing for me to take the leap and by an iPhone. $99 is a lot of money. I can’t imagine paying more than that. Hint: I probably will not be upgrading any time soon unless I have to. But, if you are able to invest in a smart phone or tablet, there are ways to make free technology work for you in lots of great ways.

These three apps are nothing “special”. They are not hyped in any way; they are not considered de rigueur, probably because every smart phone has them or something like them. But, they are free and super helpful.

Do YOU have a free app that you love?

Free iPhone Apps to Help Your Every Day (Frugal Friday)

This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.

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  1. I’ve used the Free version of the Cozi app for years now (on my iPhone 4 which I’ll have forever and never upgrade!). It has a digital calendar I color-code to each person in our family, which sends me or my husband reminders when we ask it too. It’s taken a while, but finally my husband refers to it on his computer before making a doctor’s appt or other so we’re not conflicting (we only have one car). It also stores my shopping lists (with checkboxes, which I love) for the three grocery stores I shop, which serve as master lists since I use them again and again. I also use the Journal function to write down the funny things my kids say to later put in their scrapbooks.

    1. I love the Cozi app because it’s since between my ipad, iphone, and Kindle Fire.

  2. What doe the reminder app do that is different from notes or calendar? I use notes and put reminders on my calendar, but I haven’t played w reminders yet 🙂

    1. Reminders is in checklist form, so you can click the bubble and the item disappears. I just made my kids to do lists (color coded to tell them apart) for the day on it. We’ll see if it works.

  3. I use the Lose It app! You can track calories and excerise on it and it has helped me lose a few pounds!

  4. I love Freegal. It’s tied to my local public library. You enter your library card number and you can download 3 songs per week. It’s the Sony catalog, so there’s lots to choose from.

  5. Thanks, Jessica. That was very helpful. I have my first iPhone and am wanting to learn enough to make it useful!

    1. I’m sure I’m not maxing it out yet. Since I bought a Mac computer, I’m going to be taking a class at the store. Maybe they’ll show me some new tricks.

  6. I made the leap to an iPhone 4S when the 5s were coming out, and we needed to make a change in our contract. I never dreamed how much I would like it!

    My most favorite apps are Out of Milk and Pepperplate, which are both free! Out of Milk is a shopping list app – or whatever else list you need. I have one for each store and love that I can store my rock-bottom prices in it and that can be checked off as I shop. I can also share with the hubby if I need him to pick something up for me.

    Pepperplate is a recipe and meal planning app that goes across al platforms. I like to do different things with each one. I like to copy and paste the recipes, including the original source and a picture, from the computer. I have it available on my phone while I’m shopping to look a recipe up. I use the iPad in the kitchen when cooking. I have many of Jessica’s recipe in there now! 😉

    Both of these are available for both Apple devices and Android devices.

      1. I had a free-to-me Android for about six months before I got the 4s. I think the differences are in the processor and the camera quality and maybe Siri.

      2. Hi Jessica. I had the 4 (which I hated) and now I have the 4s. But I had a Droid before them both. The main difference is the option to talk into it and for it to put what you said into the written word. I use this for shopping lists, texting, searching swagbucks, whenever I can. Also the maps app talks you through the directions, advances as you drive. Or walk. And it reroutes as needed. So. Much. Better.

  7. i use reminders ALL the time and got my husband to start too. i love how you have created different lists in reminders. what a great idea! i saw that was a feature but didn’t think to use it for grocery stores.

  8. AppsGoneFree, they list different apps each day that are free only for a limited time. I’ve gotten tons of photo and educational apps for free that cost anywhere from 99 to 2.99, I’ve even gotten a few 10.00 apps

  9. I have had my first hiccup with my iPhone. My daughter’s iTouch is synced with my iPhone and iPad so I can monitor her activity more easily. Well, she decided to empty her notes which were actually my notes! It removed them from all devices and my cloud backups were no help in retrieving them! Gone forever! Other than that I love my iPhone and my favorite free apps are Grocery IQ for shopping lists and coupons and P Tracker Lite to help keep up with my “time of the month.”

    1. Oh my! That would be a huge bummer, and I could totally see it happening to me if I had the device under my apple id. Ugh. Hang in there, Mama!