12 free apps that will enhance your life
A smartphone isn’t just for talking, texting, snapping pictures and posting on social media. With the right apps, it can help you compare prices and spot money-saving deals, educate and entertain your kids and simplify your life— all for free. Though there’s no shortage of apps vying for space on your devices, finding ones that are free and also worth using, can be a tall order. Providers like Straight Talk can offer you more data to download the best apps.
We sorted through millions (yes, there are that many) of apps that exist to find 12 that will truly enhance your life.
1. BrightNest. Whether you own or rent, live in a sprawling abode, an apartment or a tiny house, keeping track of your home maintenance needs can be a huge task. The BrightNest app aims to simplify any household duty. Cleaning and décor tips, do-it-yourself maintenance and “how to”’ articles ranging from ways to save money on your cable and electric bills to making your own cleaning solutions and laundry detergent are available. A short quiz allows you to customize tips based on the style, age and location of your home. Scheduling features make it easy to manage all of your home maintenance tasks. ForAndroid and iOS users.
2. Glympse. Taking the family to an amusement park? Trusting your teen to drive herself to soccer practice? Need to tell your sitter you’re stuck in traffic? Glympse is an app that lets you share your location with the people you want to keep in the know — but only for the specific duration you want to be “tracked.” The app includes features you can use to request a location update from a person, too. For iOS and Android users.
3. Any.do. You can pay to add premium features to this organization and task app, but Any.do has plenty of free features that make it a stellar replacement for your work calendar, family activities organizer, sticky notes and shopping and to-do lists. It can automatically sync tasks and events across devices and integrates easily with popular tools like Gmail and Dropbox. The tool makes it easy to keep the people in your life informed, whether it’s to remind your husband to pick up milk or update your co-worker on the outcome of a meeting. For Android and iOS users.
4. Evernote Scannable. You may not be able to eliminate paper from your life entirely, but this app turns your smartphone’s camera into a state-of-the-art scanner so you can take control of paper documents before they spiral into disorganized piles. Use the app to capture an image of any document — meeting notes, receipts, lists, your child’s homework assignments or business cards — and you’ll have a clear, perfectly cropped JPEG or PDF file that’s ready to be sent by email or text, or stored in your Evernote account, phone’s camera roll or iCloud. For iOS users.
5. SavingStar. This app makes it easy to earn cash back for grocery items you buy without having to download coupons or track what you spend –especially if you use it at participating stores that have loyalty card programs. Once you download the app and register, you select offers you want to activate to your account. Once your purchases reach a qualifying amount based on the offer, (you do not need to meet the offer criterion in one shopping trip) your SavingsStar account will be credited automatically when you use your loyalty card at the point of sale. To earn SavingStar credit for items you buy at stores that don’t have a loyalty card program (such as Target and Walmart), upload a copy of your receipt to the app. Once you have at least $5 in savings, you can redeem it as cash to a bank account, PayPal or for a Starbucks, iTunes or AMC Theatres gift card. For iOS and Android users.
6. Yummly. Are random ingredients taking up space in your pantry? Do you wander the grocery aisles hoping to find inspiration for meal ideas? This app suggests recipes from popular food blogs and well-established foodie sites, complete with a Pinterest-style photo recipe board and user reviews. Tailor the recipes the app suggests based on your cooking expertise, desired level of difficulty, seasonality, taste preferences, dietary restrictions and ingredient specifications. When a recipe catches your eye, the app compiles the needed ingredients into a shopping list. For iOS and Android users.
7. VSCO. This app offers filter and adjustment tools that help even novice photographers create a perfect mobile image, without looking too harsh or digitally contrived. Whether you’re shooting selfies or trying to turn your recent family vacation photo into a frame-worthy shot, this app can assist. It’s a favorite of professional photographers for its ease of use and quality end result. For iOS and Android users.
8.Flipboard. Create your own personal online magazine with Flipboard, which aggregates news from hundreds of sources, and includes real-time updates so you never miss out on breaking news or trending topics. Featuring a slick magazine-yu style interface, the app makes it simple to filter your feed: Select from a variety of topics that most interest you and flip through customized news from the mass media, popular websites and blogs. Save headlines that capture your interest to read when you have some down time. For Android and iOS users.
9. Digit. Once you connect your checking account to the app, which uses the same security and encryption technology as banks, it analyzes your income, spending patterns and bills to determine how much spare cash you have for daily spending. Based on its analysis, the app will pull cash from your checking account (usually between $2 and $17) and deposit it into a savings account. If Digit causes your account to go into overdraft ,any resulting fees will be covered. Balances are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 and you can access the money you’ve saved at any time, by messaging the service. For iOS users.
10. Yuggler. Whether you’re looking for ways to entertain your kids in your neighborhood or traveling to a new city in search of family fun, this app created by parents, for parents will come in handy. Search by time of day, cost and your family’s interests; save events that sound interesting, and read the reviews of others who have been there so you know what to pack, expect and avoid. The app also provides money-saving discounts when available for suggested activities. For iOS users.
11. BuyVia. Never wonder if you’re getting the best price with BuyVia. Scan the bar code of any item and you’ll see what it’s selling for online and at major retailers such as Target, Amazon and Walmart. You can also customize the types of offers you want to receive from the app, including notifications about special deals and coupons you can redeem right from your mobile device. For Android and iOS users.
12. Hopscotch. Easy drag-and-drop technology teaches kids (and adults) to code. Create your own unique games, drawings and Web designs through experimentation while learning to code, or follow video tutorials to create interactive games similar to Angry Birds. Though updates made in summer 2016 intended to fix bugs have led to some user complaints, this app remains a free tool that turns your smartphone into an approachable and fun introduction to coding, no matter your age or level of tech savvy. For iOS users.