If you’re anything like me, you still use an old school hardcopy day planner because you love to be able to physically write down your objectives and goals for the day. And you use post-it notes to make To Do Lists because it’s oh so satisfying to be able to draw a line through the tasks you’ve completed. And you prefer real books over ebooks because, well, because books.
However, as tactile as I might be, I still recognize that technology is a darn good friend of mine, one of which I welcome with open arms– especially if it means that I stay more organized and it makes my life easier!
These are my top five favorite apps for the moment.
I say for moment because I’m sure there’s something new out there that I don’t even know about yet, something that will make my head spin with list making organizational awesomeness.
What it is: There are plenty of shared organizational tools out there, Evernote, Asana, etc., but for my daily household needs, I prefer Wunderlist . While I do still make post-it note To Do lists, Wunderlist allows me to share tasks with anyone I want. Whether it’s a colleague about an upcoming project, another fundraising mom on the PTA, or my partner about the grocery list, this app is amazing when it comes to collaboration. Simple design and an easy user experience allows you to get in and get out without distractions.
Why I Love it: One of my favorite ways to use this app is to keep a shared grocery list, which I’ve cleverly titled Grocery Goodness. While I’m at the store my partner can add items to the list while he’s at home or on the go. Forgot to check before you left if you’re out of dish soap? Just have someone at home take a peek around the kitchen for frequently used items and add them instantly to your shared list! I’m also a big fan of being able to tick off the boxes after grabbing an item. The kids love using it to, I assign them my “list keepers” and it allows them to practice their reading skills and keeps them occupied during big shopping excursions.
What it is: YNAB, also known as You Need A Budget is used daily in my household. This app is not free, but is worth every penny. Download YNAB to keep your expenses under control, manage your monthly bill pay, and to save, save, save! You customize your budget according to what your regular expenses are and add additional categories that fit your needs, i.e. birthdays, travel funds, date nights, etc.
Why I Love it: One of the coolest things this app does is to help you save money wherever you can. For example, if you budget $150 for gas for the month but only end up spending $100, then that remaining $50 rolls over into the next month. This means less funds being spent out of pocket and more money to stuff away into fun categories or into your savings! It’s also a pretty awesome way to have a full understanding of where your money is going– down to the penny– and keeps you from overspending. If you only have $20 left in your “fun money” category but your thinking of buying a new pair of $30 shoes, you just might reconsider. If nothing else, in our day of primarily using plastic money, this app helps make you aware of your spending and makes your purchasing decisions much more conscious ones.
What it is: Similar to other money sharing apps such as Square Cash or Paypal, Venmo is designed to allow you to make or receive payments for anything from freelance work projects to your share of the bill at the seafood restaurant you ate at last night. All you need is an email address to find and add friends and a credit or debit card. It’s secure, super easy to use, and payments are instant– unlike PayPal which has a few days of wait time before you see funds reach your bank account. Additionally, other shared payment systems only allow you to link up debit cards (cash), but Venmo allows credit card payments, too!
Why I love it: There are so many ways I use this app, especially since I’m a gal that carries zero cash. We’ll have friends over for board game night and realize as they’re on their way over that we’re out of ______ [fill in the blank]. Text your friends and ask them to stop and pick it up, then Venmo over the cash so they’re not out any money. Additionally, any time I can rack up frequent flier miles on my credit card, I take full advantage. If I’m out to dinner with friends, I’m happy to pay the bill with my credit card and then have them Venmo me over the cash for their portion.
What it is: A super inexpensive and much more efficient version of a taxi service. Again, because I never really carry cash, this app is awesome when I need a ride. I realize that more and more taxi companies these days are upgrading to credit card payment systems, but Uber has taken the liberty to go above and beyond with accurate wait times for when your ride should arrive, and you can even track the car on a map to make sure you’re where you need to be when you need to be there. Also, you can play whatever music you want in the car through the app! They really did think of everything to create a positive and convenient user experience.
Why I love it: I’m not a big drinker so as little as two brews in my system will warrant a request for a safe ride home, and Uber is always there. Additionally, I find this the best way to get around while on vacation, when visiting new cities, or catching a ride to the airport. I’ve always had good experiences with the drivers I’ve encountered and definitely feel safer using Uber than a traditional taxi. Uber’s drivers have undergone background checks and you get to leave feedback on your experience after every ride; if a driver receives too many hits of poor feedback, they lose access as a driver!
5. Google Docs
What it is: Google’s version of Microsoft Word, except that you can share it with anyone that has a gmail account, and that person can be given access to not only view the document but to edit it as well! So much more effective than emailing a Word Doc back and forth.
Why I love it: I use Google Docs and Spreadsheets pretty much everyday. I use it to save passwords and login information, to share content with colleagues, to keep a running list of article and blog ideas, and to share tasks and content with my web developer. Basically anything I need to do for work is done through Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, and the app is great for making edits and viewing documents on the go.
What are some of your favorite apps that make your life run a little more smoothly? Please, do share!