RALEIGH -- Years ago, I had a friend who simply didn't want to give up her flip phone. She wasn't convinced that a smart phone was going to perform any better than what she had. Today, we occasionally laugh about her resistance to the technology because we know that she would be completely incapacitated without her phone. She swears that apps make all the difference in her life, especially now that she's a parent.
Apps keep track of my to do list, tell me what to purchase when I'm in the grocery store and remind me that it's time to leave the house if I want to be on time for a meeting.
Here are a few of my favorites free apps that help busy parents figure out what in the world to make for dinner, how to save money on groceries (because some of us simply don't have time to clip coupons) and how to get all the stuff done that we don't know how to do.
There's nothing not to like about this app. Big Oven offers more than 350,000 recipes (even your picky kid should like something out of that list,) a grocery list and an area for meal-planning. It's perfect. You can even follow friends and your favorite food bloggers to utilize the social aspect of the app. It also allows you to save your favorite recipes without taking up counter space with multiple cookbooks or binders that you've been using. But my favorite part of the app is the feature that allows you to enter leftover items that you have in your fridge and then suggests what you should make for dinner!
If saving money isn't your thing, this app isn't for you. But if you're into almost effortless money saving, you'll love it. This free app gives you cash back on items you've purchased at grocery stores, pharmacies and clothing stores. Download the app, select items you plan to purchase, shop as you normally would, upload a picture of your receipt and wait for your money to arrive. Super simple. Ibotta will reimburse you within 48 hours via your PayPal account or with gift cards, the choice is yours.
TaskRabbit is an app that allows you to hire someone for anything from running errands, waiting in line or washing your dog. Pretty cool for people who have needs like that. However, as a busy single parent, TaskRabbit saved my life when it came to finding someone to assemble Ikea furniture for my son's room, hanging a television or changing light bulbs in my ceiling that is way too high for a person who is terrified of heights. All of the service providers have had background checks on the local, state and federal level and their identity has been verified by the company. If you can execute a task for yourself, that's great. But if you don't have the time, tools or knowledge to get it done, TaskRabbit is simply a click away.