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These Are 25 Of The Best Smartphone Apps Out There

Favorite Apps

One of my favorite things to share here on my blog are tools that can help make life easier—even just a little bit. (After all, who couldn’t stand to have their day go just a little bit more smoothly?) :-) We were recently discussing our favorite smartphone apps at one of our weekly planning meetings, and it got me thinking. There are so many useful smartphone apps out there these days, but for some reason I haven’t really written much about apps at all! So I decided to rectify that situation by reaching out to both my staff and my readers to ask about their favorite smartphone apps. I’ve distilled all of the responses down into this blog post, so we can all benefit from each other’s recommendations!

To start, I’ll be sharing the favorite apps of each member of the OGT Team. We’ve each described the app we selected, and wrote a little bit about why we like that particular app so much. After the staff picks, I’ll be sharing more app recommendations from my readers who responded on my Facebook page. I’ve organized the apps into four categories—health, organization, finances, and entertainment. My hope is that your new favorite app is just waiting to be discovered somewhere in this post! :-)

Related:  The 5 Best Cleaning Apps That Will Make Your Life Easier

Favorite Apps

4 Download-Worthy Apps, According To OGT Staff

1. Disappearing Bedside Clock (Jillee)

“One of the apps I’ve been using a lot recently is Disappearing Bedside Clock. I like to be able to check the time when I wake up in the middle of the night, but I find that most alarm clocks put off too much light for my liking. This app displays a digital clock, but it only appears if I move my hand near it. It also has a motion setting where it will appear if I tap on my nightstand. It allows me to check the time at night, but without an annoying light that keeps me up!”

2. HeadSpace (Brittany, Production Mananger)

“The app HeadSpace makes meditation and mindfulness simple. It provides some free guided meditations, as well as paid guided meditations about more specific topics (depression, pregnancy, creativity, etc.) But my very favorite thing about this app is the notifications! They provide little mindfulness moments throughout the day, and you can choose how often they appear. The notifications give me opportunities to slow down for a minute, and I love it!”

3. Marco Polo (Kaitlyn, Photographer)

Marco Polo is a messaging app that allows you to send short video messages to your friends individually or in groups. I use it throughout the day to keep in touch with my best friends from college who now live all over the country. We have found it so much easier to stay connected via Marco Polo videos rather than typing out lengthy text messages. I am SO grateful for the way this app has helped me to maintain these important relationships!”

4. Solitaire (Britta, Content Editor)

“Buying the ad-free Solitaire app from MobilityWare might just be the best $5 I’ve ever spent. It’s great to have a game on my phone that I can use even when I don’t have an internet or cell connection. I get a LOT of mileage out of this app particularly when I’m traveling internationally. It has entertained me through flight delays, long train rides, and countless other occasions where I didn’t have the luxury of a wifi connection!”

21 More Of The Best Apps, According To OGT Readers

Favorite Apps


5. Charity Miles – Track your runs, jogs, or walks and earn money for the charity of your choice.

6. Lose It! – Count calories or macros, track your exercise and weight-lifting, make a weight loss plan, and more!

7. Think Dirty – This app helps you avoid toxic ingredients and make safe, healthy choices when you’re at the grocery store.

8. Clue – Track your menstrual cycle, ovulation, fertility, and more using the handy health app.

Favorite Apps


9. Stocard – This app keeps all of your loyalty and membership cards in one convenient place!

10. Out Of Milk – Make, organize, and share shopping lists with this app. You can also use it to keep track of prices, coupons, and more!

11. Paprika – Manage all your favorite recipes with this app. You can also use it to do your weekly meal planning and make grocery lists too.

12. Chore Monster – List out chores, set point values for each, and assign them to your kids using this fun app. They’ll love earning points and collecting monsters!

13. Life360 – Keep track of where your family is with this handy app. Get location details, driving directions, and send messages and check-ins all within the app.

Favorite Apps


14. Ibotta – This app makes it easy to earn cash back on purchases you make every day, including groceries, apparel, pharmacy purchases, and more.

15. Walmart Pay– Scan your Walmart receipts in the app, and if they find an advertised price lower than the price you paid, you’ll get a gift card for the difference.

16. Root – This app enables you to get affordable car insurance if you demonstrate safe driving habits over a certain period of time.

17. Mint – Keep an eye on your spending, create a budget, and keep track of your debts with this money management app.

18. Acorns – This app rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar, then invests the spare change for you in a secure account.

19. Ebates – Using Ebates is a simple way to earn cash back on purchases from all of your favorite brands and stores. (I wrote a whole post about how to use Ebates, which you can read at the link below!)

Related: Use This Simple Trick To Save Even More Money

Favorite Apps


20. Overdrive – This app connects you to the digital collections of your local library. Log in with your library card and “check out” eBooks, audiobooks, and more!

21. Audible – Purchase, download, and listen to thousands of audiobooks through this app.

22. Sky Guide – Use this app to identify stars, learn about constellations, and improve your overall knowledge of astronomy!

23. Touch Note – Turn your photos into postcards, greeting cards, or other gifts to send to friends and family.

24. Weather Puppy – Get updates about the weather in your area, and see some cute puppies at the same time.

25. Disney Emoji Blitz – If you love Disney and also love emojis, this is Bejeweled-style mobile game for you!

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

  • Thank you so much for this list, many of which I had yet to have heard of…
    I love love love ibotta, I wished it had entered my life sooner!!!
    Overdrive is a godsend for me when I get in book reading mode. Returning library books with my weird work hours can be a challenge…
    I checked out Root, living in California, I’ve never paid this much for car insurance in all the other states I’ve ever lived in, and it is not yet available in California. Someday *fingers crossed*

  • I absolutely LOVE WhatTheForecast. You can add locations and get that weather, as well as your current location, in a snap! You can set it up to have vulgar comments or G rated. either way, the comments are hysterical.

  • Great ideas. My Baby Sister out in Utah was telling my mom about the Marco Polo app. We’ll have to experiment with. They would love to move closer to us. They sometimes post videos of their kids. My main problem with my iPhone is those stupid calls with no id and you can’t slide to answer. I was able to block a few repeat callers. Well see if they actually get the hint.

  • We use the Cozi app which is a shared calendar, to do lists and grocery lists. There is a free version and premium. It makes scheduling appointments for the whole family especially easy. The grocery list option is perfect because I am prone to making a list then leaving it at home on the counter.

  • I like the idea of using the phone for more since it is always with me, usually, and it also helps justify the cost of a smartphone. I have used Overdrive since I got my first smartphone, and love it. Some libraries also subscribe to hoopla. With hoopla you can get ebooks, audiobooks, tv shows, movies, and music. There are many older tv shows going back to the 50’s. They only give you so many borrows for the month. Mine started at 10 and skipped to fifty. It depends on what your library has contracted for.

  • Acorn seems great but it is too complicated and hard to understand. I gave it tons of my personal information and then it locks me out because I put in my bank’s name and my login and it says my login and password are incorrect which I know they weren’t. I think it’s better to sign up with someone there to help you do it which you can’t do, and also just do it on-line rather than struggle with a phone app.

  • My personal favorite is the Shutterfly app. I take more photos with my phone than with any my other cameras, and the app will automatically upload any photo I take with my phone. It saves me the hassle of trying to remember to upload or back up my photos, and I have been able to find photos on my Shutterfly account that I cannot find anywhere else. I still like using my laptop for working on any Shutterfly products I want to order, but you can use the app for quick orders, like coffee mugs, etc.

  • My absolute favorite app on my phone is List Ease. You can make your own lists such as Grocery Store, Walmart, Out of town list, Vacation home items, etc. There is even a “My Pantry” so you can list what you have at home and not buy duplicates. For the grocery store, it lets you list what you want, categorizes it (produce, cereal, meats, etc), put in the cost and how many items you want. It keeps track of how much you’re spending in your cart and once you put it in your cart, it removes it from your list. Super easy to use and I never leave my list sitting on the counter at home….it’s always on my phone!

  • Dear Jillee, Congratulations on your Mail, it brightens my breakfast without fail every day. I love the idea of the disappearing bedside clock you recommend, It would be the solution for so many nights wondering about the time but not wanting to disturb hubby. But I can’t distinguish it from amongst the hundreds of clock apps. I’d be grateful for more details. Thanks for all the entertainment you provide. Kath

  • Clue is one app every woman should have – you can easily track what you want about your cycle, and in turn it can provide some surprising insights.
    I’ve lived with back pain for over 30 years (from a range of accidents), but it wasn’t until I started using Clue last year that I finally identified that for me, it’s also a symptom of ‘cramps’ prior to my period, and that by being aware of it and taking some mild pain relief as needed, I’m much happier and easier to live with :-) And it’s really helpful to get a warning that PMS is coming up so I don’t suddenly get reactive and grouchy out of the blue.

  • Hi, first…thank you for all the wonderful information and tips that you share with us! I love to read your posts and see your recommendations. Ok…I utilize our local Walmart PickUp service, as I have some physical limitations that make it hard for me to do a lot of walking in the store, and most times there isn’t a scooter available; my question: how can I use the Walmart app you are recommending, when using the pick up service, as the only “receipt” I get is what they send me on my iPhone?

    Thanks so much!


  • Did you know you can inadvertently train yourself to wake up and check the time! (review “good sleep hygiene” rules from sleep specialists). Instead, use two (or more) alarm clocks (apps, physical clocks, etc.) that you TRUST will get you up at the appointed time, so you don’t need to know the time if you wake. Turn your clock faces away from your view and stop looking at them.

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