3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Smartphone

“You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think we only use 10 percent of our hearts.”

Okay, we admit that quoting “Wedding Crashers” is a bit out of place here, but we can sort of relate since, in our opinion, some people only use 10 percent of their smartphones (see what we did there?) And as much as we try not to care when we hear of someone just using their spiffy new iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy SIII just to play Temple Run all day, we can’t completely hide our disappointment when we think of all that wasted firepower. After all, there’s a reason why top of the line gadgets do not sell for cheap—they’re brimming with potential so that users can get the most out of them.

Now here’s our question for all you smartphone users: is your gadget smart because you are making full use of it, or is it smart because it is capable of teaching you new things? While you stew on that, here are three ways you can maximize your smartphone usage so it won’t feel like you’ve wasted dollars on a gizmo, however flashy it is.

#1 Make your smartphone your health buddy.

The way we see it, you don’t have to pay for a personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals. Of course, this is assuming that you’ve gotten your doctor’s approval to start a fitness program. With your oh-so-smart phone, you can download an app that will remind you to exercise, another one to help you eat right, and yet another that can schedule doctor’s appointments. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as there are literally hundreds of health apps out there that you can download to help you take control of your wellness. The only challenge here is to actually use these apps when the urge to just play all day is too strong. In this case, your smartphone is unlikely to provide you with the willpower to commit to your fitness plans; so it’s really up to you to make such a commitment your top priority.

#2 Use your smartphone to save money.

Want to learn how to manage your budget? There’s an app for that! Need to check your account balance and recent transactions? Well, lucky for you there are banks that have free mobile apps available for both iOS and Android phones. There are also apps that will help you create and manage grocery lists, track your bills, and even organize all your rewards cards in one place. But before you purchase all these nifty applications, try to assess your money-saving needs first against the benefits and the possible drawbacks. This practice will also help you with future purchases, whether it’s a business phone/lifestyle/music/match-3 game/productivity/or whatever it is app.

#3 Turn your smartphone into Mr. or Ms. Smarty-pants.

Okay, before you accuse us of encouraging you to become a boring smartphone owner, let us be clear that we completely understand if most of your apps are gaming-related. The point we are trying to make here is to try the plethora of offerings (by kind-hearted developers, thus making them free!) out there, including those that can enhance your knowledge base, improve your memory, and help you learn a new skill. Remember that aside from letting you call, text, email, and tweet, your iPhone or Android phone can be a powerful learning tool. It can teach you the art of origami, a second language, and even the differences between musical keys. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to educational apps, and you are only limited by an unreliable Wi-Fi connection or a not so smart phone with ridiculously low memory storage.