Blog, Life

Must-Have Phone Apps

By: Kristen Darkow

My phone is full of apps. To the point of having to delete some periodically because my phone is out of room. Also, my apps aren’t very organized, so seeing these screenshots might give some of you hives. But the point of today’s post is to share some of my very favorite must-have apps. If you don’t already use these apps, you should!

First up: Venmo. I’m sure almost everyone uses Venmo by now, but if you don’t, add it to your list. I can hardly even remember the days of having to pay back friends once I had cash. Now, it’s so easy to pay people back! Before Andrew and I were married, instead of splitting the bill, we’d just pay each other back instantly via Venmo and the funds end up right there in your bank account. I also use this to pay my hairdresser instead of taking out cash each time (it’s cheaper than running my debit card, since she doesn’t have to pay processing fees). We also use that Every Dollar app for our monthly budget. The other two apps you see here are our bank account apps. This folder is fairly organized compared to the rest of my phone. 🙂

Next up is the Fetch Rewards app. All you do is take a photo of all your grocery receipts, and you get rewarded! So far, I’m up to almost 7,000 points (as you can see in the upper right hand corner), and 5,000 points gets you a $5 gift card to your choice from a ton of restaurants, shops, etc. I’m saving up my points for a bit, but it’s so cool that we can earn gift cards just for doing our normal shopping! If you’re not already on the Fetch app, use code DDHBE when you sign up and we’ll both get bonus points!

My next must-have phone app is AnyList. You’re able to share your lists with others and they sync automatically. Andrew and I use this for a variety of things, like our grocery list (that way, whoever has time to get groceries knows what we need), a list of restaurants we want to try in Madison, a list of movies we want to watch, our vacation packing lists, etc. It’s so great and I can’t remember life before having this app! 😉

If you’ve ever been interested in intermittent fasting, the Zero app is wonderful! As you can see, I’ve taken a 115 day “break” from intermittent fasting (haha!), but in the past when I’ve done it, this app is great for tracking the time you’ve gone and giving you healthy tips for IF.

Every so often, I need to edit a photo on my phone. These are the two apps I’d use for doing that. Colourtone is great for applying filters, and PicCollage is my go-to for creating collages of multiple photos.

I love the concept of the OnMyWay app! For every mile you drive without using your phone, you earn 5 cents! Sure, it accumulates slowly, but you’re still earning money for something you are (or should be!) doing anyway. Your money can accumulate faster if you refer new users (you get money for their phone-free mileage too!). So I’m going to make a shameless pitch for myself – if you’re wanting to download this app, let me know and I can text you a link where we’ll both get a bonus! Also, don’t be misled by my current $490.52…as I understand it, that money can be put toward deals to redeem. So it can be useful to spend it on things you’d be buying anyway, but get a discount through the OnMyWay app! I’m currently saving up to claim cash – I believe if I earn 10,000 OnMyWay dollars, I can redeem it for $1,000 cash straight to my bank account! Also, this accumulates fast if you’re on a long roadtrip and don’t use your phone. 😉

We love the Nest app and Nest products! If you’re looking to install any smart home features, we highly recommend Nest! We currently use a front yard camera, back yard camera, smart thermostat, and door lock. It’s great because they all fall under one Nest app, so we’re able to monitor our cameras (and get alerts when Storm is up to something in the back yard, or when someone is at our front door, etc.), manage the temperature of our house from the app, and lock/unlock our door or set a new temporary code for guests to enter our home. Nest is the way to go!

Andrew would be upset with me if I didn’t make a pitch for the Gif Jif app. 🙂 Basically, this is a way for you to send .gifs to friends, except you get to put their face (or anyone’s face) on the gif. Andrew uses it at least once a day. 😀

My fellow crafters or home decor lovers MUST have the Hobby Lobby app. It always has a 40% off coupon (although, it can be hard to find items to use it on, since everything at Hobby Lobby is already on sale, haha!).

My parents are big fans of the Life360 app. We downloaded this several years ago when I first moved to Madison and didn’t really know anyone and had to walk quite a distance to my car after work and in the dark. This was a way for my parents to know my exact location (which some people might find creepy, but I figured I don’t have anything to hide, ha). We also used this on my grandpa during the short period of time that he had a smart phone, since he was getting forgetful but still living alone. I think this would also be a wonderful app for young teens with a smart phone – always know where they are! 😉 It’s a great way to have some peace of mind when it comes to people you care about. 🙂

Now, I haven’t used this app in quite awhile but if you’re looking to learn a new language or brush up on one you’re familiar with, duolingo is a great way to do that! I was a Spanish major in college, and without using the language daily, a lot of it has escaped me. This app would be a great way to re-familiarize myself with it. I’ve also used it for learning a bit of Norwegian and Dutch! It’s fascinating!

Lastly, I’ve been loving the Marco Polo app! My friend, Laura, introduced me to this recently. She lives far away from me so we don’t get to see each other often. We often have conflicting schedules, so finding time for a phone call (that often ends up being 2+ hours!) is really hard. With Marco Polo, you’re able to record a video of yourself talking and save a conversation of videos! It would also be a great replacement for Snapchat videos or Facetime (I’m especially thinking of my parents and niece/nephew – my mom hates Snapchat because the cute videos of my niece and nephew go away instantly and she can never watch them again).

Those are a few of my favorite apps! Do you use any of these? What apps do you recommend? I’d love to see what else I’m missing! Share with us in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Must-Have Phone Apps”

  1. We use the shared list app all the time, It’s nice to be able to hide the items you don’t need at the time, but keep them on the list for future trips to the store. Cool stuff!

  2. Thanks!! Just downloaded anylist and zero! My favorites are the fitbit app, cronomenter to keep an eye on the nutrients and vitamins in what I eat and iSaveMoney for budgeting 👌🏼

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