12 FREE apps to simplify your life

hi friends!

I'm in a super cheerful mood this week because I finally made the last payment on my laptop! MY CREDIT CARD DEBT IS GONE!!!

My laptop broke back in March and I've been working ever since toward paying half of it off (my parents helped me with the other half, thanks guys!). It's such an indescribable feeling of liberation seeing "outstanding balance: $0" on my banking app. 

Making a responsible adult choice meant sacrifices, though. I canceled my Lollapalooza trip due to various circumstances that didn't work out, but that means I have no more credit debt to worry about, and more financial freedom to fund my apartment that I'll be moving into in two weeks. I'm planning on posting a moving video if you're interested!

It really sucked having to cancel a trip, but the extra cash I made from selling my ticket has simplified my life immensely. 

Speaking of, today I'm talking about apps that have simplified MY life and can simplify yours! These are all apps that I've been using for several months that make my day to day life less tedious and more proactive. 

productivity

Polymail - free on iOS (in Beta)

This is my best kept secret. I can't say enough about this revolutionary email client. I'd been an avid user of the app Mailbox for several years, so I was devastated when they called it quits in February. They were acquired and subsequently killed by Dropbox. 

Luckily, soon after I stumbled upon Polymail. It's a new email app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone that is filling the void Mailbox left, and is expanding upon their legacy.

"Why should I switch to this and not use the basic Gmail app?", you may be wondering. Well, for many reasons, such as:

  • READ RECEIPTS - yes. you can finally find out who is ignoring your emails. took awhile for this technology to emerge, but Polymail got it covered.
  • SUPPORTS MULTIPLE EMAIL ACCOUNTS - My personal email, blog email, and school email are all put together in one big inbox on Polymail. Easy peasy.
  • SEND LATER - Gone are the days of people knowing that you were emailing them back at 4am over a bowl of ice cream. You can press "send later" and have Polymail send the message automatically at a more socially-acceptable time. 
  • SNOOZE - One of my favorite features. Polymail allows you to "snooze" emails that you want to read or reply to later. 
  • ONE-CLICK UNSUBSCRIBE - You can click a simple button and be unsubscribed from annoying emails. Simple, fast, efficient.

This app is currently invite-only because it is in Beta, but I have seven invites to give away!

Comment on my most recent Instagram post I f you would like to try out the app! I will send links to the first 7 people who comment :)  

 (comment on this post!) 

(comment on this post!) 

Unroll Me - free on iOS

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Someone introduced me to this app in marketing class, and it changed my email game forever. This app helps to prioritize what subscription-based emails you'd like to continue to receive by sorting them into 3 categories: keep, remove, or Roll Up. 

Your favorite brand whose sales you never want to miss is an example of an email you may want to KEEP in your inbox.

A mailing list you signed up for to get 10% off on an online order once would probably be well-suited for the REMOVE option.

Emails from companies that you casually enjoy, but usually end up as your last priority, would go in the "ROLL UP" section. 

The Unroll.Me app works like the Tinder interface. Users swipe different directions for each of the three categories. A "roll up" is one big email at the end of the day that contains all of the emails you wanted "rolled up." This can be sent at any hour of the day you wish. It trims what would be upwards of 50 emails in your inbox down to just 1. 

This app is totally free and it has made my email much more manageable! 

Evernote - free on iOS

 

An oldie but a goodie, Evernote is the best note-taking app out there in my opinion. I've used it since sophomore year of high school and haven't looked back. 

Evernote allows you to create "notebooks" for every class, as well as "notebook stacks", which I use to separate my notebooks into each semester of school. Evernote has intuitive text editing features, as well as options to add images, voice, and documents. I like to use the voice recording option during a lecture to ensure I'm not missing anything.

Evernote was 100% free for years, with options for Premium and Pro memberships. Recently they changed their policy on free memberships, forcing users to only use Evernote on two devices or upgrade to Premium. I had to remove Evernote from my iPad for this reason, but I'm definitely considering purchasing a premium membership based on how much I use this app.

Oh, and there are NO ADS. You know those companies that offer a free "basic" account option, but it is essentially dysfunctional and gives little to no options? Evernote is not like that at all. Members, even at the basic free level, should have ample space to upload and create notes every month, and aren't pressured into joining a higher membership.

Sunrise / Plan - free on iOS

My favorite calendar client is Sunrise. The interface is smooth and beautiful, and it syncs your Gmail calendars seamlessly between devices. It is available on iPad, iPhone, and Mac. Sadly, similar to Mailbox, Sunrise was bought by Microsoft and is being assimilated into Microsoft Outlook on August 31st. I tried Outlook and truly did not enjoy it, so I will be switching to Plan for my calendar app. Plan also has a great interface, though it is still in Beta and there are a few kinks to be worked out. I'm excited for Plan to continue to grow and hopefully become as great of a calendar client as Sunrise is! 

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Mint Budgeting - free on iOS

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I'm currently trying to sort out my finances and get a budget going, which isn't TOO difficult using Mint. Mint tracks your spending in each spending category and sends a weekly report on where your money went, as well as your net worth. It alerts you when you are reaching the high end of your budget, and also gives financial advice on where your credit should be and more. 

I am still figuring out what a viable budget is for me, but Mint is helping me at least be mindful of where my money is going.

Square Cash - free on iOS

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Alright, I'll admit it: I don't like Venmo. It feels a little too sketchy to me. I don't like knowing where my social media friends' money is going. It's weird. And there's no way to delete your account (that I could find)! I've used it twice and removed my card and bank account after, but the only option is "sign out." Not a fan.

Alternately, I use Square Cash. Square Cash as in Square, the company that runs the cash register iPads at your favorite trendy coffee shop. Trustworthy, at least in my eyes.

Square Cash is simple. The interface looks like a cell phone. You "dial in" the number you want to pay someone, select their "cash ID", and use Touch ID to confirm. Deposited into your/their bank account immediately. 

They also send you $5 when you invite a friend and they send their first $50. Here's my link if you want to join!

Have never had any issues with it and I've sent hundreds of dollars through the app! What you send is private between you and the receiver, and unlike Venmo, the money is deposited directly into your bank account, not into the app. Did I mention it's TOTALLY FREE?

Citymapper - free on iOS

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Singlehandedly the best app out there in terms of transportation. I use this to get everywhere in New York. It keeps track of subway changes, traffic, and more. 

Citymapper gives you subway directions from point A to point B, as well as bus directions, bike directions, car directions (along with Uber fare), and walking directions. The app also compares the length of time it'll take you to use each of these methods, that way you are always aware of what will be fastest. 

The details Citymapper includes are truly what makes the app stand apart from others. It tells the user what subway exit gets them closest to their destination. It also has a built-in alarm telling users when to get off the subway. The app could not be any more perfect! There is also a website. Highly recommended if you're exploring a new city!

Yahoo! Weather - free on iOS

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I find this to be a little better than the default iPhone weather app. This app includes the radar so you can see how long a rainstorm will last, sunrise and sunset times, chance of rain, humidity, wind pressure, etc. Basically everything you could ever possibly want to know about the weather. It also shows pictures of your current city, which is cute.

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Yelp - free on iOS

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One of the main compliments I receive is that some people think I know all of the cool "spots." An awesome compliment, but it truly is just a combination of TimeOut, Eater, Instagram, and Yelp finds. Yelp is the most helpful of the bunch, so I'm gonna recommend this one!

Yelp is an app to help you find the best food in your area. Most of you probably already have it, but I thought I'd recommend it nonetheless. 

Say you're craving coffee, but you're in a place you've never been before and it's 1am. You can search "coffee near current location, open now" and your options will come up, along with photos and reviews of each restaurant. Yelp has pretty much never lead me astray, especially in New York where a 4-5 star Yelp restaurant is bound to be amazing. 

You can also filter restaurants by other factors, such as price. Yelp knows the details about every aspect of a restaurant, from dress code, to ambiance, to if it's kid-friendly or not. If you're ever questioning your attire or budget for date night, just hop on Yelp and you'll find the information you need.

I know Yelp has gotten into some trouble in the past for altering reviews based on what restaurants pay to be featured, but until there is a better alternative, my heart is loyal to Yelp. It has helped me find the best eats and I'm grateful for that. Thanks for all of the ice cream over the years, Yelp.

Postmates - free on iOS

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Okay, I don't know if I'm just not doing it right, but I don't really get Seamless. I was so excited to move to New York and try Seamless because food delivery from anywhere at any hour sounded EXHILARATING, but alas, Seamless only delivers from restaurants within a small radius of where you live, and most of these places had terrible reviews (maybe just my location? but I was in bustling Chelsea, so I don't think that was it). 

Along came my love, Postmates. Postmates delivers food (and now, more) from anywhere in New York to you at any hour. They also have FREE FOOD DAYS, which are my utter favorite. I believe this mostly happened on Tuesdays last semester, because on multiple occasions I accidentally ordered food too soon and had to leave class to go get it. Super embarrassing. But they've had free pizza, free dumplings, free Boba tea, free grilled cheese, and more. 

Now you can also order from brands like Sephora or the drugstore on Postmates. Really need some tampons at 2am, but don't want to leave your apartment for fear of getting assaulted? Postmates has got your back. 

Postmates is available in several cities and I believe it just expanded to Raleigh, NC! Soon most of the country will have the opportunity to taste their favorite cuisine any hour of the day. That's America for you.

If you want free delivery on your first order, you can use my code R2YR in the "enter promo code" section. Happy eating!

Stubhub - free on iOS

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Stubhub has saved my butt on numerous occasions. One of the annoyances of being in college is that when artists announce that their tickets are going on sale in 3 days, you often can't afford it at that time. Stubhub helps with that.

When I decide to see a concert or show at the last minute, I hop on Stubhub, choose "electric download", and go. Sometimes it is even cheaper than if I bought the tickets on Ticketmaster immediately when they came out!

I'm always nervous that I'll be scammed, but I have yet to be. I've also heard that Stubhub has a wonderful customer service department if that ever does happen. I have yet to sell tickets on Stubhub, but the buying experience has been wonderful.

Gett - free on iOS

 yeah, I was sad to see my status as "Baller" go.

yeah, I was sad to see my status as "Baller" go.

Uber is expensive. If I'm gonna ride in a car instead of walk or take the subway, I don't want it to be expensive. Gett is the economic alternative to pricey car apps.

You can get a ride anywhere in Manhattan below 110th Street for $9. WHAT.

Yes, it's for real! I started using this app in its early days and they used to offer $50 in free rides for each friend you refer. Then it went down to $30. Then it went down to $10. But hey, it's better than nothing!

I can say that I've paid for maybe 1 Gett ride, yet I am a "Top Rider" status on the app, racking up over 445 points. That's how many free rides I've gotten from referring people. A LOT. 

Granted it is harder to do that now, but $10 is still pretty cheap. A lot of times they also upgrade you to a better car free of charge. My code is GTWUMCB if you want your first ride to be free!

Keep in mind that sometimes Gett does take a little longer to find a ride for you. This is due to it having less drivers than Uber or Lyft. For me, I find it to be worth it to save money, but if you're in a major hurry, Uber might be a better bet for you.

If you have any apps that make your lives easier, let me know in the comments below!

Much love to all of you! Working on some content for the coming weeks that I think will go over really well. I'm stoked for you guys to see it!

love,

em