Check out these free, useful apps
Solo Moms are the chief income earners, money managers, and organizers of the home, oftentimes juggling all those roles simultaneously. And for new Solo Moms, managing all those roles at once can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, several free apps make it easier to handle the demands of new Solo Momhood, whether you’re ordering dinner on the fly or managing your money. The following apps stand out for their usefulness—and they are all free. Although they are not necessarily dedicated to Solo Moms, per se, new Solo Moms might find them useful. Take a look:
What to Expect is a go-to resource for any mom who is preparing for first-time childbirth. The app consolidates the information from the acclaimed What to Expect When You’re Expecting books, including tips such as the eight most nutritious snacks for pregnant moms on the go. The What to Expect app also explains how tests related to pregnancy (from urine tests to Rh, or Rhesus, factor testing to initial blood workups) are performed so that you know the reason for and frequency of a specific test, including what will happen during the test. The app includes a community tab of different groups, such as “Single Moms,” a group that counts nearly 9,000 members as of February 2016. The Single Moms community facilitates conversations on topics such as whether and how to involve the father in the pregnancy process.
Evernote helps you take notes, organize them, and archive them—a godsend for managing the tidal wave of to-dos that come with being a Solo Mom. It’s the perfect app for managing life on the go, whether you are creating a grocery list or preparing for a parent-teacher conference. Think of Evernote as a pile of Post-it notes that you write to yourself, only organized where you can find and edit them. With Evernote, you can also import information from the Web, such as a book you saw online and want to set aside as a gift idea for your child.
Calm is all about finding serenity—and who can’t use a little more of that? From its opening message—“Take a Deep Breath”—to the images of leaves accompanied by the sound of gently falling rain, Calm brings little moments of relaxation into your life with one click and swipe. Calm contains incredibly useful exercises, including breathing exercises and voice instructions on meditation, that will help any Solo Mom slow down and relax regardless of life’s demands. You can also click on different scenes ranging from “Sunset Beach” to “Silent Clouds” to create different immersive experiences. It’s good to have a set of headphones with you to enjoy the self-contained world of Calm, but the app alone is guaranteed to be a useful tool.
Mint and Goodbudget are apps to help you manage your money. Since Solo Moms are both the income earner and money manager of the home, these apps can be crucial. Mint is a comprehensive app that helps you keep track of all things financial: your earnings, savings, budgeting, and spending. Because Mint syncs up with your bank accounts and savings programs, you can get a comprehensive view of your money-management picture, including a running total of what you spend. Mint is especially helpful for managing debit-card expenditures, but you can also enter cash expenses manually. On the other hand, Goodbudget helps you simply manage your budget against your cash flow. The beauty of Goodbudget is that the user interface relies on an “envelope” metaphor, as if you’re storing your cash on hand in different envelopes that represent spending categories.
Grubhub helps you get easier access to one of life’s essentials: food. And let’s face it—ordering food delivery is one way to ease the demands of a crazy day. Type in your address and payment information, and Grubhub helps you find and order food through an easy-to-use menu. Grubhub tells you everything you need to know before you place an order: a restaurant’s menu (including prices), applicable delivery fees, estimated delivery times, user ratings, and whether or not coupons are available. The app also gives you the option of picking up food, if you prefer. Grubhub is far from the only food-ordering app, but it’s generally regarded as the most popular and useful. For busy Solo Moms who need a meal brought to them, Grubhub is indispensable.
These apps are just the tip of the iceberg. New Solo Moms might also want to explore branded apps depending on their preferences. For instance, Target makes shopping at its stores a lot easier and affordable with features such as Cartwheel, a free savings program through which you can save on items ranging from milk to detergent. Wells Fargo is among the banks that offer handy money-management apps for its customers. And then there are also irresistible apps for having fun, such as Fandango for movies and Spotify for music.
The best way to find out what app works best for you is to explore. And the apps discussed here are the perfect place to start.
Janice Deal is a writer, an editor, and a lover of found objects. Her short-story collection, The Decline of Pigeons (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2013), was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her first novel, The Sound of Rabbits, was recently named a finalist in the Many Voices Project Prose competition. Janice lives in Downers Grove, Illinois, with her husband, daughter, and three disreputable cats.
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