9 ways Siri can be your personal finance assistant
We're still a few years away from having personal robot assistants, but voice-activated applications on most modern smartphones are already making our lives easier. Apps like Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana can be helpful in a number of ways, and are particularly useful as personal finance helpers.
I personally use Siri a lot to help me, and I am always surprised at how much the app can help me get information without the need to even type or search the web myself.
Siri won't make you rich, but it can help you be smarter about your finances without a lot of work. Check out these personal finance tasks that Siri and similar apps can help you with.
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1. Check Stocks
It's easy to use Siri to track the performance of your investments or the overall stock market. Just say, "I need the stock price for Apple," and Siri will tell you the price and the daily movement. It's also an easy way to check on the ticker symbol.
2. Helping You Calculate the Best Bargain
Quick, what's a better deal? Three 20-ounce cans of juice for $6, or four 24-ounce cans for $9? To find out, you'll need to calculate prices on a per-ounce basis. Asking Siri to perform some simple math will help you learn that the second deal is a little bit better.
3. Driving Directions
Yes, accurate driving directions can help you with your finances. That's because you can plan trips to ensure the shortest route, thus saving you gas. You can also find routes to avoid tolls and bad traffic.
4. Finding the Nearest ATM
You need cash right away, but you'd rather not go to the first ATM you see, because it may not be tied to your bank. To avoid a fee, you can ask Siri to find you the nearest branch of your bank or a surcharge-free ATM.
5. Research Food Ingredients
When you're at the grocery store, you may come across products that like to tout certain ingredients, and you sometimes pay a premium for them. ("Sweetened with agave nectar!") Before you buy, you may want to do a little bit of research on what these ingredients are and whether they are worth paying extra for. Siri and similar apps can help you with this.
6. Set Reminders
You never want to be late paying your bills, and you don't want to be charged for missing things like doctor's appointments. You can use Siri to remind you of important things. All you need to do is tell Siri what you want to be reminded about, and when. ("Remind me to finish this article for Wise Bread at 10 p.m.") There's even location-based reminders, like "Remember to mail the mortgage check when you are near the post office." You can also use Siri to adjust or create to-do lists on your phone.
7. Figure Out Tips
What's 18% of $43.95? And how can you split that four ways? Siri can help you. Siri will even know local taxes, to help you calculate checks before they even come.
8. Find Out How Much Things Cost
Using Siri, you can look up pricing information for a wide range of products. If you simply ask "Find me prices for a Toyota Corolla," it will provide you MSRP and invoice prices, plus other related charges, and even shows a chart with historical price information. It's still not easy to do true comparison shopping, but you'll learn enough to know if a particular store is trying to rip you off.
9. Find Budgeting Apps
If you need some extra personal finance help from your smartphone, Siri can help you find it. A simple query like, "Find me some budgeting apps," will give you a list of saving and money management apps from the app store.
How do you use Siri or Cortana or Google Now to help you stay on top of your finances?