Free Apps (Part 1): Grown-Ups' Edition

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By Ed

First off, tablets, smartphones and iPod Touches are not generally viewed as Frugal.  We got our first (and only) iPod Touch as a hand-me-down from my brother when he got another with a purchase from Apple.  Our iPad came from Kijiji on a very lucky score that Robin was the first one in on.  We don't own a smartphone.

With the air cleared on that, I want to give a hall-of-fame list of Apps that we love for keeping the kids busy (while actually learning) and keeping us (fairly) productive.  This week I will focus on the Grown-Ups.  Our list features Apps we generally use every day and are all Free!

Now, Free Apps*.  They often are synonymous with advertising, beta-quality and 'in-app' purchases to unlock all the good features.  There are some good ones outside of the usual - Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc who all have free Apps that we use every day, but not necessarily for "life-hacking productivity".

Here are some not-so social, often used Apps we like.   (Please post in the comments section with your favourites too - we are always adding to our list.)   

*(Apps listed are iTunes/Apple store free.  They may also be Android available too)

Our Grown-Up's Top 5 Free Apps:

WeatherEye (& WeatherEye HD):

We check this first thing every morning to decide what to wear and how to dress the kids - faster than the TV or Radio.  The Weather (Canada) Network's ad-supported app for weather forecasts.  Complete hourly, short-term and long-term forecasts, with other great tools like precipitation graphs, animated maps and extreme weather alerts.  The ads are small and non-intrusive. 


All your Google Stuff (Calendar, Gmail, Reader, Picasa, YouTube, etc) in one place and functional on iOS devices.  We are a full-on Google family and this App is still a must-use for use (even with Google creating the Chrome browser for iOS.  It's ad supported, and they can be somewhat intrusive.  We used it for over a year before finally buying the upgrade, so it's totally tolerable.  Final note of awesome - if your iOS device recently updated to Apple Maps - and you're less than thrilled with them - G-Whizz still has Google Maps for you.


Anyone who wants to create/edit/save MS Office Word/Excel/Powerpoint files will dig this App.  Both Robin and I work in the public sector where Microsoft products reign.  If we want to get some homework done on our devices, this is the App for that.  No ads, but you do need to be connected to the internet to use it (as all your files are saved in a Dropbox account).  Best of all, Word, Excel and Powerpoint look and function exactly like they do on your PC.  I'm sure Apple makes great productivity suites, but bottom line - free beats paying, and CloudOn is free.


Sure, it's got local theatre times, film reviews and more movie factoids than that guy who worked at the video store.  But did you know it can save your children from nightmares?  Our personal favourite aspect of IMDb is the Parents Guide.  This user-created guide gives you a cheat-sheet of all the sex, violence, swearing, intense scenes and drug/alcohol use you will get in any given film.  This is absolutely perfect for parents whose kids have hyper-active imaginations and will have had trouble sleeping after hearing second-hand about a scary movie.  (Yup, that's our kids.)  Before choosing a movie we'll scan the Parent's Guide just to see what we're in for.  Nightmare Risk Management App.

We also use Flixster periodically.  It connects with Rotten Tomatoes for a meta-review score (handy for parents who only get one movie night every few months and don't want to waste it on a dud).


This is Robin's pick.  You don't have to be house hunting to have the Realtor.ca app on your mobile device.  You might be just curious about your own property value and go looking for similar homes.  You might also be curious about that house down the street that just went up for sale, but don't want to peep in the windows or take up the agents time during an open house.  Bam - Realtor.ca has loads of pictures and information for all the places around you.  You might even get a reno idea by cyber-stalking people's homes with it.

So that's it.  Nothing too fancy, but they all do great stuff at a great price.  Like I said, we are always on the lookout for more great freebies.  What are your favs?

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