Always busy. Every day busy. So much do to and so little time to do it all.
I try, but I don’t usually get everything done by the end of the day.
Chores, raising kids, settling fights, cooking meals, teaching school, cleaning messes, doing groceries, planning meals, kid’s evening activities, running, reading a book, going to church, private prayer time, dentist appointments, cutting everyone’s hair, giving baths, driving everyone everywhere, soooooo much to do!
There’s gotta be a way to keep track of everything in an organized way. Something to increase my odds of finishing all of my tasks on time. Is there such a thing?
Well, it just so happens that there is. I want to share with you my 9 favourite household management apps. I might not be able to complete my to-do-list every single day, but I definitely get more accomplished. Plus, my day is more predictable when I’m organized and I’m ready for just about anything. I don’t mind unpredictability, every once in a while, but when something unpredictable happens, I feel like I’m playing catch-up the rest of the day. And I don’t like that! I go to bed feeling discouraged and think about all the things I didn’t do, that should have been done. Yes, I have issues. But I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one out there with issues!
Here are my top 9 household management apps (and by the way, they’re all FREE):
This calendar has been amazing. I’m one of those old-fashioned people who still likes to add everything to my big calendar on the wall. So I was quite hesitant at first with this app. I must say that I have NOT been disappointed. It’s very easy to use. The widget will allow you to see up to 2 weeks ahead. I find this very useful when I need to quickly see what’s coming up in the next few days. Once you open up the app, you will have access to the full calendar with 5 different views to choose from (schedule, day, 3 day, week and month). I usually use the schedule (shown above) and the monthly view. I love how it recognizes certain key words you enter and uses it to display a picture that goes with your entry. Like a swimming pool for swimming lessons, a hair dryer and scissors for a haircut appointment, or a Christmas tree and presents for a Christmas party. You can set reminder alarms to make sure you don’t forget any of your appointments. They can be sent to you by email or simply through your phone with an audible alarm. Recurring events can be set as such. If an appointment has been rescheduled, you simply change the date and time instead of having to delete your entry and creating a new one. This app has been an extremely useful tool for me while trying to manage my busy household. So much so that my wall calendar has been empty for months now!
Most families may not spend a lot of time filling out health and dental insurance forms, but we went through a medical crisis with our daughter during the past year and we needed to fill out many of them. Having this app was very helpful for us. We were able to process claims quickly. You simply take a picture of your receipt, answer a few questions and then it’s done. It might take a total of 3 minutes. What a time saver. Now, you may not have your insurance through Blue Cross like we do, but you should look and see if your insurance provider has an app to make things easier for you as well. It has definitely been worth it for us.
I love cooking. I spend a lot of my time planning meals and menus for my family. This app is a dream come true. I can add all of my favourite recipes in one place. Plus, there’s a calendar for menu planning, a place to plan for events (holiday meals, birthday partys, etc.) and even a shopping list. Once you’ve created your free account, you can access it both from your phone and your PC/laptop. I personally use the laptop/web version while I’m cooking in the kitchen. Since the screen is bigger, it makes it easier to read and follow the recipes. On occasions though, I’ll be out in town and get an urge to eat a specific meal and will want to pick up what I need to make that recipe, right away! All I have to do is open up my app in the store and my list of ingredients is in my hand! Ready to go.
In the meal planning calendar, you simply write the name of the recipe you want for each meal and it automatically creates a link to the recipe in your recipes folder. Everything you need is right there at your fingertips. It’s wonderful!
I just finished telling you that Pepperplate has a shopping list feature on their app. That’s true. Although, I prefer using Out of Milk for my grocery list. Why? Well, honestly, I started using Out of Milk way before I discovered Pepperplate. So it was easier for me to keep using it. But also because it has functions that Pepperplate doesn’t have on it’s shopping list. First of all, it appears as a check list. So you can tick each item off as you put them in your cart. Every item is put in a category based on the different sections in the grocery store. Produce, Dairy, Beverages, Household, Meats, Seafood, Canned Goods, etc. This saves me from going around in circles in the grocery store. Which I often do when I forget to make a list before going!
Out of Milk gives you the option to scan bar codes and store the items in your pantry list for easy retrieval. Next time you are making a grocery list, simply open up your pantry and add the items you need. One cool feature is that you can add the item prices. Once you’ve finished your list, your total will show up at the bottom of the page. Then every time you add an item in your cart, it will calculate your total as you go. So no surprises when you get to checkout.
One thing I recently discovered with the Out of Milk app, is that it also has a To-do List function. I had no idea! I love it! There are certain things I want to remember to do, that don’t necessarily belong on my calendar. Like remembering chores, lesson plans, buying a birthday present, etc. This is the perfect place to store all of these mental notes. I’m so excited with this discovery. It makes me love Out of Milk even more!!! You must get this app…
Everyone should use some type of a budget. A budget that works is ideal though. But what works for me might not work for you. I’m going to show you what we use in our home. I have to be completely honest with you though, we are new to this method of budgeting and we are still learning how to make it work for us. The reason why we chose Goodbudget is because we are currently trying to adopt Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University into our finances. He uses an envelope system and this app works on the same principle. Now, Dave Ramsey does recommend using another app called YNAB (You Need A Budget), but we can’t afford it at the moment. Goodbudget is completely free. It does have certain limitations that can be erased by upgrading to a Premium account. But we’re sticking with the Free account. Someday, when we feel we can upgrade, we’d rather get the YNAB app instead. Only because it has many extra features Goodbudget does not have. Even though I’m pretty much saying YNAB is better than Goodbudget, I do still think Goodbudget works very well. I was a little confused at first getting it all set up, but once I got going, I got the hang of it. It shows you how much money you have allotted to each category (envelope) and how much money you have left in each as the month goes on. It keeps track of the money you’re saving as well as the money you’re spending. If you’ve never used the envelope system as a budget tool before, and you’re interested in giving it a try, I suggest you try Goodbudget before spending any money on a budget app.
Most people have heard of Checkout 51. I started using it over a year ago. It’s a virtual coupon app. They send you new coupons every Thursday. They work on a first come first serve basis and they only have so many. So if there’s one you really want, use it before they’re all gone. What’s nice, is that there are no actual coupons to keep track of or to print off. What you do, is you make your purchases as usual, then you send in a picture of your receipt. You select which offers you want to redeem. It has to be sent in for approval (which usually takes less than 24 hours to process) then you get a credit in your account for the amount of your offers redeemed. Once you’ve collected a minimum of $20 in credit, you can cash it in. They will send you the money by cheque. What’s even better, is you can double up your Checkout 51 offers with local offers. For example, Checkout 51 had a $1 off deal on Head & Shoulders shampoo and my local grocery store had a save $0.50 deal on the same product. I was able to purchase the shampoo and save $0.50 in store, and then get a credit of $1 in my Checkout 51 account when I got home. Sweet!
The only thing I don’t like about Checkout 51 is that it has changed quite a bit since I first started using it a year ago. Last year, you could save each week on produce. $0.50 off apples one week, $1.00 off onions the next. Now, there are no deals on produce at all. Since I buy fresh produce a few times a week, I was able to save a lot of money at first. Now, not so much. A lot of the offers they have are for products we don’t use. Their products range from food, alcohol, over the counter medicine, baby supplies and home cleaning supplies. I use this app on occasion for a great deal, but not as regularly as I used to.
Where I live, the nearest and best grocery store we have is the Superstore. They have a points reward system where you accumulate points to save money on groceries. I love it. If I pay close attention to my weekly deals, I can easily gain enough points to save $20 in groceries every 2 to 3 weeks. That’s wonderful for us. I realize not everyone lives near a Superstore and some of you probably have no idea what type of store that is! But I suggest you look at the stores near you and see which ones have a points reward system. The next step is to see if they also have an app you can use to access your savings easier. This has been a great budgeting tool for our family since I often plan my meals around the Superstore’s weekly deals.
Well, Pinterest is a no brainer for me. I find so many good things on there and enjoy having quick access to any of my pins at any given moment. The ones I especially like to access are my recipes and craft ideas for the kids. To any Pinterest fans out there, I don’t think it’s necessary to explain to you why having this app is a good idea. You probably all have it already! To those of you who have never spent time on Pinterest, you seriously have to check it out. But first you’ll need to create an account online before getting the app. I’m positive you’ll love it!
I just shared with you the apps I can’t live without, now it’s your turn! Which household management apps are your faves?