Over 40 of My Favorite {FREE} Apps

posted by Andrea | 01/31/2013

free apps

I am often asked what my favorite Apps are — either to help me be more productive, to help me better manage my home and life, or even just for fun.

So while I used lots of different Apps — both on my iPhone and iPad, I found it surprisingly easy to pick my favorites in each of the categories listed below.

Also, I should mention that while I personally downloaded all these Apps for free, I’m not positive that they are all still free.

My Favorite Home & Life-Management Apps:

Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner — thousands of recipes at my fingertips instantly. Plus, I can search by ingredient, by meal, by cooking method, by time, and much more.

MacBank — our small-town bank’s brand new app! I’ve been waiting for this to be released and am SO happy!

MapQuest — we don’t have a GPS system in our car, and so far, MapQuest is still my favorite (FREE) way to find where I need to go.

Kindle — so many free eBook available these days, plus, we can us this to read eBooks from our local libraries

Pandora Radio — we mostly listed to children’s music — but it’s certainly nice to have music with us wherever we go

Text+ — since we rarely ever send text messages, we use Text+ as our free text messaging service

My Verizon / Charter Mobile / DTE Energy — these are our utility companies and the Apps are awesome. If we ever have an issue with our service, we can just press a button to “report an outage”. We can also request someone to call/email us back so we don’t have to stay on hold. Of course, we can also view our statements and check our balance, etc.

My Favorite Work/Productivity Apps:

Chrome — Dave and I are both addicted to Chrome! We have all our bookmarks and settings saved and love that all we have to do is download the Chrome App and those settings will automatically transfer over to any new device. SO handy!

Gmail — since Gmail pairs so nicely with Chrome, we’ve found that it’s just easier to manage all our email with the Gmail App versus using the mail App that comes with all Apple devices.

iCalendar — I’m still a pretty hard-core pen and paper girl, but Dave and I also know that it would probably make our lives so much easier if we both use at least some form of digital calendar. So since we have shared calendars via iCloud, we can both see what the other person is up to (and make sure someone is always around to watch Nora!)

WordPress — I honestly don’t do a ton of blogging from my phone or iPad, but I do moderate comments and tweak a few things here and there so the WordPress App is a must for me.

Facebook Pages — Seriously, I love this App. It has made managing many different Facebook pages so much easier and less time-consuming.

Dropbox — Dave and I store all our documents on Dropbox, and love that we can then access those documents from any device connected to the internet.

CamScanner Free — This App basically turns the camera on your phone into a scanner. I’ve used it many times to scan and send documents — especially when I’m not home by our printer/scanner/copier.

CamCard Lite — This is very similar to the CamScanner, but it’s specifically for business cards. Just take a photo of any business card and this app will save all the contact information.

Outright — this is how I manage all my business income so it’s nice to be able to access when I’m on the go. You can read more about how I use Outright.com here.

Pocket Note — As a blogger, I’m always interested in what other bloggers are saying, so when I have a website or article I want to read but either don’t have the time (or don’t want to read it on my phone), I add it to Pocket Note. Then when I have more time, I simply login from my computer or iPad, and the articles are ready and waiting.

My Favorite Money-Saving Apps:

Ibotta — This is a cool new App that actually PAYS you for buying groceries 🙂 

Gas Buddy — If you ever want to know what price gas is in your area, this App will tell you.

Meijer Find-It — Meijer is the grocery store I buy almost everything from, and this App helps me manage the weekly sales, make a grocery list, and even clip MPerks (online coupons just for Meijer). This is a relatively new App, but it’s already saved me tons of time and money!

Gyft — This App keeps track of all your gift cards in one place, and it also periodically sends you free gift cards. I’ve already gotten about $20 in free gift cards to places like Gap and Children’s Place. You can enter your gift card balances and even take pictures of the bar codes in case you misplace the card. It’s pretty neat.

Craigslist — I wasn’t sure where to put this App (either money-saving or just-for-fun). I settled on money-saving because I really do use Craigslist to save money on items we would need to purchase anyway (and a few fun things too!)

Apps Gone Free — I try to remember to check out this App every night before I go to bed, because every day, it has a new list of paid-for Apps that are free for one day. I’ve gotten a bunch of fabulous Apps for free!

My Favorite Children’s Apps:

PBS Kids — if you have children, you NEED this App. It has several episodes of all the PBS cartoons. They are all around 12 minutes long which is just enough time to calm Nora down before bedtime. This App also has lots of little video clips, musical numbers, etc. that are about 2 minutes long. We use these when Nora wants to dance.

Piano of Playfulness — it’s a fun colorful piano that has little animals pop out of each key when they are pressed.

Bubble Wrap — think it’s fun to pop bubble wrap but don’t want the plastic choking hazard? Try this App!

Cute Baby Flash Cards — another educational App that focuses on numbers, letters, words, and objects. So far, Nora knows “BALL” and “DOG”

Animal Phone — I honestly think Dave and I have more fun with this App than Nora does right now. It’s a Gorilla that you can call on the phone, but then it repeats everything you say in a really weird voice. You can also tickle it and feed it — both of which Nora loves doing!

Animals for Tots — This App shows all sorts of different animals and then makes the appropriate sound for those animals. Nora can currently make the sounds for Dog, Cow, Horse, Pig, Snake, and Duck… not bad 🙂

Color & Draw for Kids — I noticed this App is now $0.99…however it’s still probably worth it because it allows your kids to color with their finger tips and has tons of different coloring pages to choose from — no paper, markers, or crayons required.

Sleep Pillow Baby Lullaby — Soothing music and sounds for infants, toddlers… and moms!

Sprout — lots of games and activities for toddlers and preschoolers

iPhotos / iMovie — Nora just LOVES looking at pictures of herself and watching herself on film. She even knows how to flip through pictures and take pictures of herself from the “inside camera” (see pictures below!)

Here are 30 more apps for kids (not necessarily free) from Life.YourWay.net

My Favorite “Just for Fun” Apps:

Amazon Mobile — I don’t shop a lot, but if I have to buy something (and I can’t find it on Craigslist) I turn to Amazon.com. The Amazon App makes it really easy to shop right from my phone.

Martha Stewart Living Magazine — I got a free subscription to the print magazine, which came with a code for the free iPad App subscription. It’s awesome! There are so many “extras” in the iPad version!

Dimmer — I use this App every single day… or should I say “night”. It’s basically just a dimmer switch that automatically dims my iPhone screen during set hours (in the middle of the night) so that when I’m up with Nora every night (yes, EVERY night) I can scroll through emails, or catch up on some blog reading  without squinting from the bright light.

Flashlight — This light is insanely bright and I use it often to find my way through our house when the lights are off or when we’re outside. It’s actually way brighter than most of our real flashlights.

Pinterest — I only allow myself to visit Pinterest from my phone or iPad and only when I’m riding in the car, siting up with Nora in the middle of the night, etc. Otherwise I waste too much time!

Spider Solitaire — My favorite card game ever

FreeCell — My second favorite card game ever

Unblock Me — Totally addicting (but I tell myself it’s challenging my mind)

I’m sure I’m leaving something out — but these are the apps I use on a very regular basis.

What are your favorite Apps?

Leave a comment


  1. Kelita


    Awesome list, I especially love the children’s apps, I swear my iPad has more apps for my 2 year old than it does for me!


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    […] Instead, get out your iPhones and take a gander at this post I found. If the pin link does not work, you and find the article here. […]

  3. Megan C


    I just got my first smartphone a week ago and just started downloading apps yesterday. I remembered you had posted this so I thought I”d better check it out. Quite a few I’ll have to check out.

    I’m currently looking for a notepad app that I can download that doesn’t tell me I have to pay if I want more every time I use it. The notepad I downloaded I like and I wouldn’t mind paying a one-time fee to use it. However, they want $1.99/month and I’d rather just find a good notepad that works well that is either free or has a one time small cost. Any suggestions? I’d like to keep my on-going to-do lists, grocery lists, errands to run etc. on it.


    Andrea Reply:

    Yay for your first smart phone!! I personally don’t know of a free notepad App because I haven’t looked for one 🙂 But I just posted your question on my facebook wall. You can check this link to see what people say. Hope this helps!


  4. Jennifer


    Thank you, Andrea. I downloaded a few of the apps! My question for you is do you organize your apps? I have a few pages of screens on my iphone to scroll through and have tried to “organize” but I am wondering if you have any organizational tips for all the apps on the iphone or ipad. Thanks again!


    Andrea Reply:

    I organize my Apps into “folders”. For example: Fun, Children, Productivity, Food, Finances, etc. All you have to do is drag one App on top of the other App and it will automatically create a folder that you can then add other Apps to.
    Hope this helps


  5. Kalyn Brooke


    One of my favorites is the Evernote app. Its great for when I need to write myself a quick note or save an article I want to reference later.


  6. Hailey


    Thanks for sharing all of your favorites Andrea! We share a lot of the same, but two of my other favorites include DISH Remote Access and Chase. That first one is what I like to use the most though because I’m a pretty big TV junkie and I travel a lot for my job at DISH. With it and the Sling Adapter I have I’m able to watch all of my shows, live or from off my DVR, everywhere I go in the world. I like it for entertainment purposes too, but really I love the fact I can catch up with my favorite shows while I’m half way across the country! 🙂


  7. Terri


    LOVE your site…I’m addicted to spider solitaire. TV Guide is one I use every day since I cancelled my newspaper subscription. We get over-the-air local channels, and it’s nice that it lets me display just antenna channel listings from my major city (hello Pittsburgh, PA).

    Off topic, I wanted to offer a thought about your search bar that someone mentioned in the hot fruit salad post: I had a little difficulty seeing it too when I recently searched for something. I think the way it’s designed or the logo under it makes it seem as if it’s part of the ad it’s placed under so I almost hesitated to use it. You might want to consider moving to above your recent or popular post lists. Just a thought.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Terri,
    I actually JUST finished changing some stuff around in my sidebar tonight and that was one of the things I changed 🙂


  8. Doreen@househoneys


    Wow! Those are a LOT of apps! Why do I feel like a dinosaur?

    I use Dropbox, but truth be told I don’t know what I’m doing! lol. How do you access your files after you have downloaded them?


    *running to check out spider solitaire*


  9. Sandy K


    For the grocery apps, are they grocery stores in your area or do this ship the items to you?
    Thanks for your list.


    Andrea Reply:

    No, they don’t ship groceries to me, but they help me plan my grocery shopping trip and find the coupons I need before I get to the store. Also, the Meijer App actually allows me to choose which store I’m shopping at and then it gives me a map of the whole store, so I can quickly figure out where everything is located!


  10. Amanda


    If you like ibotta, there’s another app called endorse – same principle, even easier if you ask me! In less than 3mo I earned almost $40 buying stuff I needed anyway!


  11. Wendy Jahns


    Thanks Andrea, you are awesome!


  12. Dana


    AppGratis is like Apps Gone Free – one free app a day. My favorite game app is Farkle, and my favorite productivity app is Evernote. It’s on my laptop and I use it to organize notes across all areas – blog posts in progress, to do lists, photos, etc. The app on my phone allows me to add things when ideas hit me, and it automatically syncs my phone and laptop.

    I’m going to check out some of the apps you’ve mentioned – thanks!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the tip on AppGratis, however just so you know, Apps Gone Free offers many free apps every day so you might want to check that one out too 🙂


  13. Kristen


    This was really helpful and I just downloaded several that you recommended. However, I have a Droid so a lot (especially the ones for kiddos) weren’t found in my Playstore. I would love to hear from someone if there are some apps for toddlers they like that I can get for my Droid! 🙂


    Jacqui Reply:

    I also have a Droid. My daughter (3) loves
    Toddler Lock – shapes pop up as she touches the screen. She can also draw with her finger.
    Kids ABC by IntelliJoy is simple puzzles
    Kids Preschool Puzzles by IntelliJoy has puzzles and other games that also have a toddler lock.
    My Fairy Princess – dress up a fairy in different dresses, shoes, wings, etc.
    Kids Finger Paint – a finger painting app similar to the one described above.
    Fruit Ninja in Zen Mode is great too.
    There are quite a few apps where there are talking animals like described above I put all of those on my husband’s phone 😉
    When she was younger she liked a flash card game that I have since deleted. It had four flash cards in one app, food, animals, bird, and vehicles. If you do a search for toddler flash cards many will come up.


  14. Derondah Boothe


    Talking Ginger is another cute app for kids (and even adults!). It is much like the gorilla app you described above. You speak and talking ginger repeats what you say in the cutest little voice. You can give Ginger a shower and blow dry her fur. You can brush her teeth. And there is a little toilet paper game that is cute. I also believe you can record a message with talking ginger and send it to someone. My office mate’s niece sends her voice messages using Talking Ginger. It is a very cute app!


  15. Megan @ Monroe Makeshift


    I love unblock me! Have you tried free flow? It’s another free one that “challenges your mind”. 😉


  16. Amy


    My baby girl is one week younger than Nora. For the FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE, she has slept through the night without waking up…TWICE in the last week. I have been in total shock in the mornings! I hope this continues….(I’m actually hesitant to even type it as it might jinx the whole thing. Lol! ) Hoping the sleep angel stops by your house as well 🙂


  17. Lora


    This is great! Thanks 🙂
    I’ve been looking for free kids apps for Beto, for the plane ride to Nica and back with him by myself!


  18. Sue


    Cozi is my absolute favorite app for family organization! If you have more than 1 busy child – this is the app for your family! You can color code family members, send notification reminders and kids can even add to grocery lists (like when your 16 year old needs more deodorant for his gym locker – he can add that and it’s on the list!). I highly recommend this app! My other fav? The I-period app – I was one who would always sit in my doctor appointment and when she asked “when was your 1st day ….” I would just stare blankly back! It gives me a countdown and I can track my moods as well. I had both my daughters put it on their iPhone as well.


    Terri Reply:

    I’ve looked at the period tracking apps. I have two teen girls and I try to save them from having an embarassing moment in school by marking my own calendar with their start dates. Plus, the younger one always gets a stomache ache right before and she never believes me when I tell her that she’s near that time. So if you don’t get the app, use the regular calendar app–more discreet. See what you have to look forward to Andrea!