During the past few weeks, I’ve conducted a lot of research and took time to sort through and test some of the best free apps available. I am a new iPhone user, and am in no way an expert, but I thought I’d share 5+ that have made my life easier (and more fun!).
* Please note most of these are available on the Android and Blackberry, too. Or if you don’t have a smartphone, you can check them all out online as well. *
1. GasBuddy – I’m always on the hunt for the best gas prices in town. Generally I know where the best prices are around my house, but when I’m out and about and need to fill up, I always check here first to see what’s the cheapest spot along my route. Every penny counts when we’re currently hovering around $4 per gallon (which is painful, even for my small car). GasBuddy is user generated, but so far I’ve found it to be extremely accurate.
2. AllRecipes Dinner Spinner – Such an easy way to plan a meal. Simply choose what meal you’re in need of (breakfast, dessert, etc.), select the main ingredient you have at home (i.e. chicken) and select the time you want it to take (mine is almost always on 20 minutes). The system automatically generates a list of recipe ideas. (AllRecipes, if you’re reading this, this is my third plug for you…I think that qualifies me as a super fan and I should start getting commission.) My kind of meal planning.
3. ShopSavvy – This app helps to find the lowest price on a specific item. Simply scan an item’s barcode at the store or at home and a list will pop up of both online and local retailers that have the item and the current price. This has been very helpful for some of our larger baby item purchases.
4. Pandora – Love music? You’ll love using Pandora to discover new artists. Limited time allotted in the free version, but I rarely go over my 40 hours granted per month. I love using it when I’m out taking a walk – I just pop it in the cup holder of our stroller. Sometimes I’m even nice and turn on the Disney station for Little K.
5. Yelp – Read reviews from real people on everything from hotels and restaurants to shops and bowling alleys. I love that this can pull the top-rated places wherever you are, as long as your geo-location services are enabled. Great for road trips when you’re looking for a hidden gem of a place. Another fave app, Foursquare is somewhat similar, but has a fun game component. Love that both of these apps show where there are check-in specials. That’s just savvy marketing for a company looking to advertise for free.
Bonus apps: For a time waster, I’ve been enjoying 7 Little Words, which is kind of like a challenging crossword puzzle/word search, and the very popular Angry Birds (but I only have the free version so far). And of course, Facebook and Twitter get a lot of use out of me as well!
With tons of apps out there, I know I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities.
What is your favorite useful (and free) app?