8 Apps That Make Life So Much Easier
The new Aaron Sorkin-written, Danny Boyle-directed Steve Jobs movie, starring Michael Fassbender, releases nationwide this Friday, October 23. As we patiently await the widely-anticipated premiere, we're geeking out (behind the screen) with some of our favorite life hack apps. Stay efficient, friends.
There are almost too many awesome budgeting apps to mention here, but this app provides you with a simpler approach to your money: how much can I spend today? This is not the app to choose to manage a large budget for a family of four or to track your every expense; however, if you're looking for an easy-to-use, straightforward solution to keep track of how much SPENDABLE cash you have available at all times, it's a great choice.
If you're not necessarily the best at increasing your savings account but want to try to work toward your nest egg, Acorns is a super easy and satisfying app to try. The idea is that Acorns takes small amounts of extra money, i.e. your "spare change" (either by rounding up a purchase or by putting aside a certain amount of money at regularly scheduled times) and invests it for you in the background. You sort of just set it and forget it, and before you know it, you have a nice little chunk of change piling up.
I was already in love with Amazon's Prime service, but now that I've discovered Prime Now, I might actually propose. While you don't have access to all of the items on Amazon, this app allows you to order a limited number of items, as well as food and groceries from local participating stores, that will arrive at your house in less than an hour. It's like magic.
If, like me, your wallet is packed to the max with loyalty cards to every store under the sun, you need Key Ring pronto. This app allows you to ditch your physical loyalty cards and add them all one by one so that your phone can easily be scanned at the register. You simply snap a picture of your card's barcode, as well as the front and back of the card, and you're good to go.
For those of us with more than one hungry member of our household, keeping track of the family grocery list is no easy task. This simple app keeps your lists synced up on all of your devices, with all members of your household. It also allows you to create multiple lists, so you can keep running shopping lists for every store you need (drugstore, Costco, Trader Joes), certain members of the family or even special events (Thanksgiving or baby shower).
While there are built-in options for sharing virtually all of the info on your phone, you still have to go through several steps if you want to mail yourself a link to an online post or article. Mail to Self is a handy little app that, once installed, allows you to mail anything directly into your inbox with just one click. Hello, efficiency!
True confessions: I usually have approximately one million tabs open on my browser at any given time, so it's no surprise that my Safari open-page count is always sky high, too. I'm constantly coming across interesting articles, blog posts and videos that I want to save, read or watch later, and Pocket is the perfect app to help me organize it all in one spot. It also syncs up across your devices, so whether you access it on your phone or online, you always have your reading/watch list queued up and ready to go.
Just for Fun
Just because we all love a good GIF, here are a few bonus apps that won't necessarily make your life any easier, but they will make it way more fun.
Giphy Cam: This app allows you to quickly create a GIF using your phone's camera, add silly effects (like dancing cats) and easily share it on social media.
Giffiti: Add hilarious GIFs, like Britney Spears rolling her eyes or Donald Trump dancing, to images already in your photo library.
Did you misplace Grandma's sugar cookie recipe again? Check out the Cook app. This app lets you create your own digital cookbook and share it with others in your network. You can design the cover, add recipes and tips and even record the story that goes along with the dish. Then, find and make friends and swap books.
How many times have you unpacked your grocery bags to find out you forgot the one thing you went to the store to buy? We've all been there, but let's move on. The Hiku lets you scan items that need to be replenished from your kitchen. You can also add new items you need just by speaking their name. You will always have the list with you since it syncs with your phone, so you won't have to take trip number two to the store again.
You're looking for a photo to send to your sister, but you can't remember if it's on your iPad, laptop, Facebook account or your phone. By the time you find it, you probably could have drawn her a picture. ThisLife by Shutterfly allows you to save and organize all your videos and photos in one place with a touch of a button. Now, you'll definitely find the embarrassing baby photos in time for the birthday party.
If you have a file folder containing every instruction manual and warranty you've ever received, it might be time to toss it and check out Unioncy. Create an account, and upload or forward the receipts to Unioncy. They'll keep copies of everything for you and send you warranty alerts and recall notifications by email.
We all know one truth: The house would be a lot easier to clean if we could stay ahead of it. But knowing it and actually doing it are two different things. BrightNest is an amazing program you can use to track and schedule your chores. You receive reminders about what needs to be done and tips tailored to your family and your home. BrightNest is the little cheerleader you can carry with you as you clean.
You've gotten a little better at getting rid of spam, but now it's time to take your inbox to the next level. The Mailbox app allows you to quickly categorize new messages with a swipe of your finger. You can archive, delete or even delay messages instantly. Make your mail work for you by scheduling non-urgent messages to resurface at a later date.
If your stack of bills gets overwhelming, look into the free bill organizer, Manilla. This free service links to your accounts, tells you what's due and links you straight to online bill pay. Buh-bye, late fees. With unlimited document storage, you have access to your statements eternally.
Do you remember when you bought the chicken sitting in your fridge? Before you waste money or risk food poisoning, look into DaysAgo. These unobtrusive digital day counters attach to your food by magnet or suction cup. They track up to 99 days, so you'll never play the grocery guessing game again. You can also use the app for prescription pills and makeup.