Top 3 Apps for Moms

1. Google Plus – Location Sharing – Free.

Google used to have a product called Google Latitude that would allow people to share their location with select others in real time. My spouse and I used this service so we knew when the other had arrived home, was on the way home from work etc. It saved phoning each other when we were driving etc.

The latitude product has been discontinued but essentially has been folded into Google Plus. Download the Google Plus app onto your child’s phone. Set them up with a Google Plus profile, and set it up so that they are sharing their location with you.

Why? – For safety. An older teen will know how to just turn it off if they want to get up to mischief but, if your younger child has a phone, then it’s a good bet. For older children and teens, you could also make having a phone contingent on them having the location sharing turned on. This app turns the phone into a safety device.

2. Find My Iphone or the Android Equivalent

If you are purchasing a phone for your child and they lose the phone, you can use Find My Iphone to find it. The app is also good for busy Moms or Moms whose kids like to play “hide my phone.”

3. Gas Buddy

As a Mom, you probably do a lot of driving around running errands and driving your kids around. With the touch of one button, the Gas Buddy app will tell you the gas prices of stations near you and the distance. This app is great if you want to fill up while you’re waiting for your child’s sports practice to end, or just to check out gas prices in different neighborhoods you visit.

I could’ve really used this app on a recent road trip when I got gouged at a gas station at a highway rest stop and then realized there were gas stations less than a mile down the road that were charging over 50c a gallon less. It was a little bit naive of me to pull into the first gas station at the exit and not realize I’d be paying a premium at the first gas station off the exit. I didn’t trust my instincts that there would be another cheaper gas station down the street and instead thought “well, there are lots of other people fueling up here.” Turns out there are lots of other stupid people!

photo credit: DaveLawler via photopin CC

7 Painless Ways to Save $50-100

Here are 7 ways you can acquire an extra $50-100 without any sacrifice. You could use these to, for example, travel an extra day a year. Try working through all of these at the rate of implementing one suggestion a week for 7 weeks.

1. Eliminate all ATM fees easily.

A Charles Schwab checking account will reimburse you for any ATM charges you get for using any ATM anywhere in the world.

If you get caught out a couple of times a month that’s at least $5 in “other bank” ATM charges you’ll be paying, or $60 a year. If your spouse does the same thing, that’s $120 a year you’ll save. There’s also no monthly fee on the Charles Schwab account so if you’re currently paying a monthly fee, you’ll save on that too. Frequent travelers swear by this account.

2. Cancel one recurring subscription.

Most people can identify at least one $5-10 a month subscription, or an under $100 a year annual subscription that they’re paying for but not using. Sometimes it’s only the hassle of canceling that gets in the way of canceling. When every day is busy, it can see like $5 isn’t worth taking that 15 mins to do the cancellation. It’s easy to think “I’ll do it next month.”

3. Sell one unused item.

Virtually everyone has at least one unused item that they could sell for $50-100 second hand. Put that sucker on Craigslist or just do a Facebook blast to your friends to say you have it for sale.

4. Take one less trip a week to the store.

If you can take one less trip a week that costs $1 in gas, you’ll save $50 a year. Try keeping a list in your glove box for a month. Each time you have to take what’s probably an unnecessary extra trip, write it down. Over a month you’ll notice any patterns and any extra trips that could easily be eliminated. For example, by using you bank’s app to deposit checks, or putting an item on an Amazon “subscribe and save” vs running out and needing to go to the store.

5. Renegotiate your insurance.

Spend a few minutes on the phone to try to knock $100 a year off your insurance bill. As a starting point, let your existing company know what you’re trying to do and see if they’ll work with you to find those discounts. Possibilities include things like taking an online defensive driving course, which will cost you around $20 and a couple of hours but will save you around $10 a month typically.

An alternative is to ask your most frugal friend who they’re insured with.

6. Let Other People Contribute

For one event a year where you would invite people for dinner, make it a potluck.

7. Do any one thing that will save you $1 a week.

This suggestion is a bit like the suggestion about taking one less car trip per week. Do anything that will save you $1 a week or $50 a year.

It could be ordering toilet paper online at a discount or buying something you use often in bulk.

photo credit: Unhindered by Talent via photopin CC