The best IFTTT recipes for forgetful people

Find your phone, remember to pay bills, and automatically turn off your curling iron with these handy IFTTT recipes.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Freelance Writer
Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don't let her near any control panels.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
4 min read
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

I'm a very forgetful person, which means that technology is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, there are lots of techy ways to help people like me remember everything -- on the other hand, there are a lot more tech devices for me to accidentally forget about.

But let's focus on how tech can help you remember things like paying bills on time and turning off your straightening iron so it doesn't burn the house down when you're gone.

IFTTT, which stands for "IF This, Then That," is an automation tool that connects devices, apps, and social networks together so you can automate actions. ""="" shortcode="link" asset-type="gallery" uuid="25715ada-84a0-11e3-beb9-14feb5ca9861" slug="get-connected-with-these-ifttt-friendly-smart-devices-pictures" link-text="The service lets you set up " section="pictures" title="Connect with these 35 IFTTT-friendly smart devices (pictures)" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"25715ada-84a0-11e3-beb9-14feb5ca9861","slug":"get-connected-with-these-ifttt-friendly-smart-devices-pictures","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"smart-home"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":"Content","hubTopicPathString":"Appliances^Smart Home","reviewType":null},"section":"reviews"}"> with trigger actions ("If This) that trigger other actions automatically ("Then That"). While IFTTT is often touted as simply a way to save time and money, it's also convenient tool for making sure you don't forget to do things. Here are several IFTTT recipes to help keep your life on track.

Find your phone

I'm always misplacing my phone. Luckily, IFTTT can help! This IFTTT recipe calls your phone if you send yourself an email with a specific hashtag (this will only help if your phone isn't on silent mode, however). If you have an Android phone, you can use this IFTTT recipe to turn your phone's volume up to 100 percent with an email hashtag (you'll need a second IFTTT recipe to ring it, though).

Switch to Wi-Fi

Forgetting to switch from cellular data to your home Wi-Fi network can be costly -- especially if you play as many online games as I do. This IFTTT recipe automatically switches your Wi-Fi on when you enter your home (as indicated by Android's location services). Right now you can only do this automatically on Android since iOS doesn't let IFTTT control its Wi-Fi switch, so iPhone users will need to use this IFTTT recipe, which will notify you to turn your Wi-Fi on when you enter a designated area.

Pay bills on time

If you're as forgetful as I am, automatic bill pay services are definitely a life-saver. But not all bills can be paid automatically (e.g., rent), and for those bills, there's IFTTT. This IFTTT recipe sends you a monthly text message at a specific day and time, so it's perfect for reminding you to pay your rent, utilities, credit card bills or any other bill you might have trouble remembering. If you get email notifications about bills, this IFTTT recipe automatically creates a Google calendar reminder to pay the bill within 5 days (you can specify a different number of days). And finally, this IFTTT recipe tracks receipts and bills sent to your Gmail inbox and automatically logs them in a Google spreadsheet (perfect for anyone who needs to track expenses for business).

Turn off everything when you leave the house

These IFTTT recipes require a little extra hardware -- namely, Wi-Fi connected smart light bulbs such as Philips Hue or Lutron Caseta, or a smart switch like Belkin's WeMo Switch. Forgetting to turn off your lights when you leave home is normal -- so this IFTTT recipe will automatically turn off your Philips Hue lights when you leave an area (this one turns them back on when you arrive home), while this IFTTT recipe works for your Lutron Caseta lights. But lights are probably the least of your worries -- I frequently forget to turn off my straightening iron. But as long as my straightening iron is plugged into a Belkin WeMo Switch, I can use this IFTTT recipe to automatically turn it off when I leave the house.

Remember where you parked

There are a few different smart car gadgets that plug into the OBD-II (on-board diagnostic) port of your car and keep track of things like vehicle health, mileage, and where you parked. But if you'd rather not drop $50 or more on one of these devices, you can use an IFTTT recipe to make sure you don't forget where your car is. This IFTTT recipe sends you a text message (this one an email) with your car's location (you will need to remember to press the Do button when you park your car, though).

Remember everything

For the truly forgetful, this IFTTT recipe sends you a notification whenever you leave your house. You can set up the notification to say whatever you want; the default is "Take your keys!" While this is a useful recipe for super-forgetful people, it can get a bit annoying when it goes off every time you leave your house. But some of us need that!