Five on Friday: Favourite Free Apps

Even though I can remember a time before even my parents had cell phones, I feel completely lost if mine isn’t nearby or on me at all times. I don’t even feel like I use my phone that often, but if I don’t have the ability to grab it quickly when I need it, I get stressed. I work in a museum that has no cellular service, and because there is wifi accessible to staff in most areas, I find it hilarious to watch people of all ages realize their phones are useless to them while in the museum. School groups that come in are particularly entertaining as it’s often the first time many of them have been somewhere where they are unable to access the outside world through their phones. They act like you’ve transported them back to the dark ages or something (the museum is cold war era, not that long ago). It’s made me think more about how I use my phone and which apps I value the most, so for today’s Five on Friday, I decided to share my five favourite free apps (stay tuned for my favourite paid apps later on!). These apps may include in-app purchases, but for all included here, I have not purchased any.

Five on Friday: Favourite Free Apps | kathleenhelen 


I love listening to podcasts during my commute, whether by bus or car, while walking, while doing dishes and chores, basically everywhere, all the time. There are literally podcasts on every topic imaginable, and I like to listen to a variety of them, from history podcasts to celebrity podcasts to personal development podcasts.


Canadian weather is so unbelievably unpredictable. You can usually assume it will be freezing cold during the winter and sweltering hot in the summer, but those aren’t hard and fast rules. I like to have access to the latest weather update and forecast because it can change on a dime. The weather app is also usually one of the first apps I open in the morning to get an idea of what my day may look like weather-wise and help me to decide how to dress. The weather app also has the ability to send you notifications about the weather in your area, which I love because sometimes you're stuck inside with no windows and it is nice to know what’s been going on when you finally do emerge.

Nike + Run Club

I love to run as a means of clearing my head and reducing stress. Because I recently gave up my gym membership to reduce my spending, I’ve started running outside again, and the first thing I did was reinstall the Nike + app. I love that it tracks not just the fact that I’ve gone for a run, but the route I took, the distance, and the speed I ran throughout. Plus it gives call outs throughout your run to tell you how far you’ve gone, how long you’ve been running, and your pace. This lets me keep track of my distance as I run, which allows me to decide when to turn around, without having to be constantly aware of the distance. I have my app set up to let me know my stats every 0.25 miles.


I may not be the best at posting on Twitter. Sometimes I’ll post eight times in one day followed by two weeks of silence. Whoops. But I do check my Twitter feed at least once per day, and more often than not a lot more than once per day. A lot of people think of Twitter as an outdated form of social media, but I think it’s still the easiest and quickest way to get news and information, along with updates from friends. There are also still a lot entertaining and interesting accounts on Twitter that are just killing it. My current favourite is definitely @SUEtheTrex.

Life Cycle

This one is a relatively new-to-me app. Because we always have our phones on us, this app tracks where you go throughout your day and creates a wheel that shows where you’re spending your time. It will show you how much time you spend at work, commuting, grocery shopping, running, or simply socializing with friends. It creates a wheel for each day, week, month, and year, allowing you to gain insight into where you spend your time. There is also a premium option that is paid ($12.99 for a year), that lets you see graphs of some kind that explain trends. I haven’t tried the premium version and have found the free version perfectly acceptable and useful on its own (which is why I’ve included it in my free apps roundup).

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