Smartphones have the potential to make our lives easier in a myriad of small ways. Installing a few well-selected apps on your smartphone can make many tedious day-to-day tasks a breeze, ultimately saving you time and even money. From helping you comparison shop and plan meals to sorting tax deductions to envisioning a redesigned living room, the following eight apps will function as your very own personal assistant.
Take a few minutes to learn about eight apps to manage your busy life by Jessica Johnson.
Track Expenses & Forecast Your Finances: Dollarbird
Dollarbird allows you to not only track your expenses to see where your money goes and forecast your balance, but empowers you to make a plan to improve your finances. From scheduling reminders for your bills, to setting up recurring transactions, to monitoring how your balance evolves over time, to planning big purchases, Dollarbird strives to be a one-stop financial management tool.
Get Those Taxes Together: XpenseTracker
Speaking of finances, if you travel a lot for work, XpenseTracker will help you track your mileage and expenses for tax time. Named a “must have tax app” by H & R Block, XpenseTracker allows you to record all your expenses, organizes categories, sub-categories and payment times, and lets you sort expenses by date, category, payment type or client. The app also allows you to export expense files and accompanying photo receipts directly to your desktop, making tax type a little less stressful.
Build Your Travel Itinerary: TripIt
After you get that tax refund, you may be planning to splurge on a vacation. TripIt allows you to build travel itineraries across multiple travel sites, preventing the hassle of checking a bunch of different places for constantly changing airfare. You can get your airline ticket, book a hotel, access maps and directions, and plan dining out, theatre excursions and outdoor activities.
Manage Your Shopping & To Do Lists: Cozi
Allowing you to manage your family calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, and even update a family journal while you’re out and about, Cozi is a popular app that streamlines your planning, saves time and energy, and promotes efficiency as you manage your household activities. Set reminders, access your grocery list from the store, add a to-do item right when it occurs to you, and upload everything to your Cozi account so the whole family is on the same page. Say goodbye to double-booked appointments and forgotten grocery store items.
Comparison Shop: RedLaser
To make sure you’re getting the best possible deal when you’re at the store, use the RedLaser app to scan barcodes for items to see how much they cost at local competitors. In addition to pulling up comparative prices from small local stores as well as big box stores, the app also lets you see nutritional information for different food products.
Plan Your Weekly Meals: MealBoard
Who wants to plan a meal when you’re stressed and hungry? MealBoard allows you to store and organize recipes, plan weekly meals, and remember your plans to expand your culinary horizons. The app will even track what items you have in your pantry so you know what you do and don’t need to purchase.
Organize and Brainstorm: Evernote
Evernote is considered the ultimate organization app – from typing up to-do-lists and notes, scanning documents you need on the go, inserting pictures and videos in your notes, and syncing up everything with your computer, this interface is intuitive and user-friendly. Whether you’re brainstorming ideas for work between meetings, or working on a creative project that you just can’t seem to find time for during your busy week, Evernote can help you increase productivity and record those great ideas before they disappear. Sync up everything you store in Evernote with all your devices and access your notes and ideas wherever you go.
Decorating and Design: Home Design 3D
If you’re dreaming of redecorating, Home Design 3D is a sophisticated design app that uses icon-driven menus and an intuitive design so you can redecorate or even redesign your home from the convenience of your device. Starting in two-dimensional construction mode, you can add rooms, adjust the size and shape to match your home, add measurements for design elements (chandelier, bay window, etc.) and choose how to style walls and floors with textures that resemble wallpaper, wood, carpet, or a simple color. After you finish your design, simply click the 3-D button and you have a three-dimensional graphic, viewable from multiple angles, to show the interior decorator, or even an architect.
What apps do you use to help organize your life? What daily tasks would you most like to streamline with an app?
Jessica Johnson works for www.extraspace.com and contributes to the Extra Space Storage blog, exploring various aspects of organizing and storing possessions.