According to current studies, almost seventy percent of the population owns a smartphone. And while many of us can agree they are convenient, smartphone apps have been designed to make parents’ lives easier. But with over 2 million apps (EEK!) for both android and iPhone users, how is the modern parent to know which app is worth downloading? We’re glad you asked! Check out our suggestions below for apps you won’t want to go another day without.
For the Savvy Shopper
Hip2Save: This frugal living app promises to save you money and time while on the go. Started as a money saving blog developed by a mom, Collin Morgan, to help herself, family and friends save money, Hip2Save is now nationally recognized by those who want to stay current on the best deals. The app highlights current discounts available online and in stores while also providing information about freebies, giveaways, simple recipes and more.
“Hip2Save is the one app I can count on for the latest and best savings from so many stores. From toys to grocery items, I always score a deal even when I have nothing on my list to buy,” says Julie Rebholz, Findlay mother of two. Julie finds the site particularly helpful around the holidays when stores run deep discounts on gifts for everyone on your list.
The Hip2Save app is free and available on iPhone, Android and Kindle devices.
For Capturing the Moments
Chatbooks: There are those who enjoy scrapbooking and creating fun photo books for their kids…and then there’s me. I would love to create photo books, but I literally cannot find the time. And I know I am not alone. Annie Gill, mother of three small children, can relate. “I love Chatbooks because I’ve finally found a way to print out pictures in the same amount of time that it takes me to post a picture on Instagram.”
Chatbooks offers high-quality, affordable and EASY photo books that you can create in a matter of minutes directly from your phone. How does it work? “It simply takes your pictures and comments from Instagram, Facebook or your iPhone and prints them into a 6×6 inch book,” explains Annie. You can edit, delete or add photos as needed, but Chatbooks doesn’t require much time or effort at all on your part. 60-page photo books start at $8 each and shipping is free.
Chatbooks is a free app (cost applies to printed books/photos) available for iPhone and Andrioid users.
For Sticking to a Budget
EveryDollar: Developed by Dave Ramsey, personal finance guru, this app makes sticking to a budget simple and quick. Users can create a monthly budget in a matter of minutes and eliminate the need for spreadsheets or complicated software. By tracking your spending as it happens, the app is likely to make you think twice before you buy. “I like it because it holds me accountable since I have to track every purchase. It helps me to really decide if I need something or not because I want to stick within our budget,” explains Lindsey Heringer, fellow Findlay mom.
EveryDollar offers a free basic version which requires manual entry of purchases. If you prefer to link the app to your bank accounts to automatically import purchases an additional cost applies.
EveryDollar is available on your desktop, Android and iPhone.
For Movie Content Information
IMDb and Plugged In: Finding an age-appropriate movie for little ears and eyes can sometimes be tricky. I still remember watching one of my childhood favorites with my kids and turning it off only ten minutes in because of the language. I could have saved myself some trouble by following the advice of Audrey Kruse, Findlay mom of five. “When we want to watch a movie, I’ll take a look at IMDb and Plugged In to see what the reviews say and learn why it’s rated what it’s rated,” says Audrey.
IMDb stands for International Movie Database and includes information for over 185 million films, television shows and video games. Parents can scroll down to the Parent’s Guide, which describes facts from each movie that fall into different categories including profanity, violence, sexual content and more.
Plugged In is Focus on the Family’s guide to movies, television, books, movies and games. For those who want a Christian perspective which also highlights spiritual content, Plugged In also explains positive elements of the film which may lead to good discussion points and family conversation.
Both IMDb and Plugged In are free apps available for iPhone and Android users.
For Educating Little Minds
KidloLand: Make learning fun and exciting for your child with the KidloLand app, a toddler and preschooler app offering over 1,000 interactive songs, stories, activities and games. Little ones can learn ABCs, phonics, numbers, nursery rhymes, shapes, vehicles, and much more with the help of this popular and award-winning app. I gave it a whirl with my energetic three year old and he actually spent time sitting still to check out all of the different activities. His favorite game includes putting together vehicle puzzles, the perfect challenge for a truck-loving child his age. In typical boy fashion, his favorite part is when the puzzle is complete a silly monster comes and eats the truck, letting out a loud burp!
The KidloLand app is available for iPhone and android users and includes 24 baby rhymes and songs for free. The others can be purchased with different in-app purchases or by subscription.