There are lots of items I would consider absolutely essential as a mom, but honestly there’s only one item I can’t go 20 minutes without and that’s my phone. And it’s not because I’m playing Candy Crush or posting pictures on Facebook. It’s because of the collection of free apps I’ve gathered that tell me what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Ones that calm my baby, put him to sleep, then calm me. And ones that tell me what’s going on outside the world of baby. And for those moments when I do have time to post on Facebook, it makes the process possible (and fun).
Ever found yourself visiting family and friends, out in public, or otherwise away from your baby’s nursery trying your best to get them to sleep without the comfort of their beloved sleep machine? If you’re like me, you have. And if you had the willpower not to fill your baby registry will all of the “must-have” gadgets of the year, you may not even have a sleep machine. Either way, download Sleep Pillow and wait to be amazed as your baby falls asleep instantly. Unlike most sleep machines, your phone can get pretty loud and Sleep Pillow has some noises that are more intense than most machines, which it seems most babies love. Mine certainly did – his favorite was the hurricane mode.
If you’re the shopper in the family (especially the grocery shopper), then you’re crazy if you don’t use ibotta! It lets you scan your receipts to get cashback for items AFTER you’ve purchased them…which is amazing because you don’t have to take the time to sit and clip coupons. In fact, other than scanning your grocery receipt, you don’t have to deal with any paper at all. Once you’ve reached $20, you can transfer the cash right into your bank account. And if you use this referral code – reovbju – then you can get an automatic $10 after you redeem your first rebate.
Related post: How I Cut $500 Off My Monthly Grocery Bill
Checkout 51 is almost exactly like ibotta…which means you have the potential to get 2 rebates for the same item! When you pair ibotta and Checkout 51 together, your odds of actually making money off of certain purchases goes way up. Their requirements are the same – you simply scan your receipt after a purchase and check the items that you can get a rebate for! One of the nice things about using both of these apps is also that they often have different products, so you have more options to save from.
Yaarlo is yet another receipt-scanning app and while it doesn’t pay the most, it is definitely the easiest. With this one, you just scan your receipt and get a small percentage of cash back on whatever amount you spent. And that’s all you have to do – just scan the receipt. Since you are already scanning receipts for ibotta and Checkout51, there’s really no reason not to also add Yaarlo. The best part of this app is that you can scan ANY receipt – retail, food, gas, restaurants. It is not limited to groceries like the others. If you want to start off with an extra $1, use the referral code NGSCHILL386 when you sign up and they’ll add it right to your account.
Everyone will tell you to try to find time for yourself. Your life doesn’t need to only be about your kids. What a joke! Sure, every now and then you can sneak away for a pedicure or maybe if you’re lucky go to the bathroom alone, but the reality is that your life does become your kids.
What you really need to do is figure out how to keep living your own life while also living for your kids.
Feedly is awesome for staying on top of whatever news or topics you love and crave, but just don’t get enough of. It is an aggregator, so it will list the title of any new articles out that may interest you and you just swipe through and decide what (or if) you want to read. So you can mix up CNN, Huffington Parents, Epicurious, your favorite tabloid…really anything you want.
Swagbucks is better than free – it actually PAYS you to do things. Whether it is searching for items (like you do on Google), playing games, or filling out questionnaires. My personal favorite is coupon cutting – not only do they provide the coupons, but you get paid to use them.
With the “swagbucks” that you earn, you can opt to get paid through Paypal or you can trade in for gift cards instead. This one is a serious no-brainer.
Related post: How to Make Money on Swagbucks
If you are like me, every night when you plug in your phone, it will say something along the lines of “can not save. out of space”…i.e. you have too many pictures on your phone. And rightfully so – it takes 100 snaps to catch the right moment. And even then, I am not done…I need Whitagram.
Whitagram is (in my opinion) the best free photo editing tool you can get for your phone. And when you’re snapping shots of your kids, this can really come in handy. It can brighten the perfect shot that you missed because the sun was behind them, it can cover the scratch across the face that they have because you forgot to clip their nails, and most importantly, it can help hide the mess behind them because you didn’t know they’d wait to sit in front of the laundry before showing you their first baby teeth. In reality, it’s got all of the editing tools you’d expect and then a few extra fun ones.
Now that you’re a pro at editing photos, you’re going to be left with far too many than are socially acceptable to post on Facebook. Fear not, you now have Pic Stitch.
Pic Stitch will let you create collages out of all of your photos. It is super easy to use and has tons of layout options depending on the number of photos you want to include.
Ok, ready for yet ANOTHER receipt-scanning app? I mean, we’re talking free money here, so why not? MobiSave is just like ibotta and Checkout51, but with one cool (and odd) twist – you get paid right away no matter how small your rebate is! This means as little as 10 cents can go straight into your PayPal account. But it all adds up! Another great thing about MobiSave is that they do offer rebates for “any brand” items like bananas, bread, and milk. It’s the simplest way to save on items you’re buying anyways.
Eventually this was bound to happen. An app – in this case, Waze – would finally figure out how to give us driving directions that take us away from traffic, construction, road blocks, and anything else annoying that will make traveling in the car with kids any more difficult than it already is. And I’m telling you, this app really, really works. Even if you know exactly where you’re going, you probably want to check into waze just because it will tell you immediately if you need to take an alternate route.
Map My Run
Map My Run is a really cool way to track how long you run (or walk). Before you leave the house, you just click on the app to start and then do the same when you’re done. If you’re listening to music through your phone during the run, then you’ll get little updates every time you hit a mile marker. It’s a great way to figure out how long you go, how fast you are, and even just to see the route you took. If you’re really into social media, you can also post your final results to Facebook!
Pampers Rewards is like ibotta, but for diapers and wipes. Obviously, this only works if you’ve got little guys in the house AND if you use Pampers. But if you do, then you’re crazy not to use this app. Basically, you scan a code that is found on each and every carton of diapers and/or wipes and you get points for each code. As the points add up, you can trade them in for different items, ranging from coupons to baby toys and clothes. Yet another way to get some great free stuff!
Maybe your baby screams in the car like mine. Maybe your’s hates grocery shopping. Maybe you’re just too tired to get up in the morning and need 5 more minutes. Or maybe you’re somewhere out in public and just need to stop the screams.
For all of these times, PBS KIDS is awesome. It plays short segments of all of their classic shows like Arthur, Curious George, and Dinosaur Train right there on your phone. It has saved me so many times when I couldn’t get my baby to stop fussing at the most inconvenient time. The added bonus is that they get to use your phone, which is somehow a novelty on it’s own.
Those are the best I’ve got! My absolute favorites and the ones I use each and every day. Enjoy!