I recently took a hard look at the apps that had taken up residence on my phone and asked myself whether they were adding any value to my life or just taking up space or, worse, time. I think this is an especially important area to examine for value since things like apps aren’t tangible things–do the apps you’re using produce tangible benefits? I deleted a substantial number, but, in the end, there were several that I kept around because they’ve really helped me up my SAHM game.
If you’re a SAHM like myself, you are probably always on a mission to level up your homemaking. Hold on to your hats, ladies, this is going to be a big one. Here are 9 apps I love and how you can use them to slay your day!
Okay, so we SAHMs dream of having it all: mom life, a spotless home, a little profitable work on the side (me time?!). I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time getting into proper pants on a regular day, let alone allotting enough extra time (sans child dangling off one leg) to make a little money on the side. Moms, I found a solution.
That spotless home daydream? While I’m working towards that and decluttering ANYWAY, I’ve been listing my excess on the eBay app–pennies from heaven! The app is specifically helping me keep on top of my listings with notifications popping up for any account activity. Also, the app makes it super easy to list things on the spot–no fooling with cameras and uploads.
If it’s the least bit useful or potentially desirable to another person, try listing your excess on eBay before resorting to dumping it all at Goodwill where someone ELSE will make a profit. You might be surprised!
A little side income = Check!
Is there any question that we are all already using Pinterest AND the Pinterest app? No. There’s no question. SO. Let’s put it to good use. I immensely enjoy using Pinterest to get ideas for any and everything at any given time. Every Sunday night/Monday morning I chose 20-25 new pins I want to try out and pin them to my board The Weekly Features. The pins range from outfits to wear and recipes to make, to activities for Jonas and workouts to squeeze in. Mind you, I rarely get even half of them done, but having a list of new and exciting things waiting for any free time I muster up keeps me endlessly inspired.
Side note: I am LOVING the new feature on Pinterest where you can check off the pins you’ve tried. I’m able to keep much better track of what I’ve tried, liked, and disliked.
Staying inspired = Check!
Budgeting is tough. And boring. And hard to keep tabs on? Especially if you keep a paper budget. Goodbudget is where excuses for going rogue on your budget go to die. This is a S-P-L-E-N-D-I-D app for budgeting for many reasons. 1) Each person in your household can download the Goodbudget app so you can all work together staying on target, 2) you can log in on your computer for longer budgeting sessions and a better overview, 3) the free version offers enough flexibility without having to pay the subscription. Essentially, Goodbuget works on the envelope system where you allocate your funds and see them digitally disappear as you spend.
Easy financial management system = Check!
Sleep Cycle (free)
Being a SAHM means almost never having to wake up to an alarm. However, I’m one who likes to at least try to rise before the rest of the house so I can start my day off in peace–just the sounds of coffee brewing, cars passing, and pages turning. How do I accomplish rising early without setting an alarm? Well, I do set one, but it’s a little different.
The Sleep Cycle app has become one of my essentials. Rather than jarring you out of a deep sleep as conventional alarm clocks do, the Sleep Cycle alarm works by waking you up when you are in your lightest sleeping state, so you roll out of bed refreshed instead of groggy. I cannot stress to you enough what a game changer this is. Think about those rare mornings you are able to wake up naturally and how rested you feel. This app is as close as to that as you can get.
It works by monitoring your motion as you sleep. You set the alarm to wake you up within a certain time interval (say, between 6:00am and 6:30am) and whenever you enter that lightest sleep phase, a pleasant alarm begins to fade in. Goodbye groggy mornings!
There is a premium version of this app you can buy for more features, however, I’ve found that the free version has served its purpose well enough for me.
No more groggy mornings = Check!
Chatbooks (in-app purchases)
So I stumbled upon this little company through an Instagram advertisement and thought one of their Chatbooks would make a cute gift for a one-year-old birthday party I had coming up. Turns out it was so cute I ordered three more for Christmas gifts!
I’ve always wanted to do some form of scrapbooking, but, being short on time for such a time-consuming hobby, the Chatbooks app has provided me quick tools for capturing life’s most important moments in the cutest little photo book you’ve ever seen.
With Chatbooks, you have the option to compile photos directly from your Instagram account or customize a book from your photo library. I’ve already got plans to have one printed each year! The app is free and Chatbooks start at $8 for basic paperback photo books.
Quick & easy photo books for life’s little moments = Check!
I’m a fan of time tracking. I tried an app for a while called “Life Cycle” and it was a fun little gadget, however, in order to work well, the app had to track your location. So, your activity would be recorded based on where you were. Being a SAHM doesn’t work for this app becaaaaause, hello, always at home. *Eye roll* Great for the city-dwelling on-the-go office type, not so much the mom community. I then discovered the ATracker app and fell totally in love and immediately bought the upgrade for $4.99. I don’t buy apps that often–maybe once every 6 months or more if it really is something I like and see myself using–but this one got me hooked on the spot.
ATracker works by you manually entering your own categories and activities, then, you simply tap an activity when you begin it and tap it when you’re done! At the end of the day you can see an assortment of graphs and pie charts that break down how you spent your time. The app even comes with a widget you can add to your iPhone’s dashboard so you don’t even have to OPEN the app to tap your activities. I track everything from how much time I spend on housework to fitness minutes, writing input to wasted TV hours. (You wouldn’t believe how much TV you can unwittingly find yourself consuming.)
As a SAHM I find time tracking useful because seeing how I spent my day in chart form does two things: 1) It reminds me that I really DID do something all day and 2) It shows me where I’m spending too much or too little time. Both of these progress checks keep me motivated!
A gentle reminder that you really are doing valuable things with your time (or maybe not) = Check!
The Evernote app is the ultimate notebook app. I have seen it used for any and every type of digital note-taking and I find myself using it for various reasons–hardly ever the same reason twice. Evernote is another app that offers enough on the free version that many people see no need to pay for the extras. It’s also an app with a deliciously sleek interface across all devices. I actually use it on my iPad and laptop rather than my phone (one downfall of the free version is being limited to only two devices).
Evernote will come in handy for any list or notes you can conjure up: grocery lists, schedules, brainstorming, meal plans, you name it. What makes it great to me is that you can create multiple notebooks. They are searchable, shareable, location-baseable, time-stamped, and easily organized.
A supersystem for all your notes = Check!
Okay, I know you all think I’m crazy for this one, but the OmniFocus app is my favorite app of all time, hands down. If you aren’t a productivity nut like me, you may disagree, however, with OmniFocus and a little initial time investment, I’ve been able to wake up each morning and already have my to-do list made for me.
OmniFocus is most certainly designed for business types with more projects on their hands than they can hope to juggle, but, as a SAHM, I’ve found it invaluable for juggling the homemaker’s life. The app is comprised of highly customizable folders, projects, task lists, actions, contexts, and so much more. Though complicated upon first glance, the app is valuable once you get the hang of it.
So, I wake up with my to-do list made for me? Yes! I took a little time at the beginning and entered ALL of my recurring tasks (laundry, meal planning, bill-paying, blog posting, reading, getting the mail, EVERYTHING) and customized them to repeat on a schedule. Voila! I wake up, swipe to my OmniFocus widget and start checking things off without having to take the time to even remember what I’m supposed to be doing that day. The only time I add anything is when I have an oddball task or something new, such as adding a new book I’m reading or a thank you note I need to write.
The ultimate task manager = Check!
The Stylebook app is where closet magic happens. This app allows you to photograph your clothes and catalogue them so you can plan or log outfits you’ve worn or plan to wear. Though time-consuming to do initially, once you’ve logged your closet, getting dressed doesn’t have to mean standing in front of your closet asking yourself what to wear anymore. With this app there are literally no excuses left for not looking sharp. (Okay, maybe a few excuses. Who’s leaving the house today anyways? Not me.)
While this app isn’t essential for daily life, it is a lot of fun. It also makes packing for trips easier. If you’re a mom into fashion, I highly recommend downloading Stylebook so you can learn to shop your own closet!
A mobile closet catalogue to keep your threads on point = Check!
What are your favorite apps and how do they help you be a slay-at-home mom? Share your app knowledge with us!