Feature Article

March 19, 2013

Three Apps that Make Managing a Home Easier

Work, doctor appointments, family in town, errands, an upcoming oil change, a house or apartment in disarray, lost keys, ringing cell phone, e-mails – what’s for dinner? Is there even food in the fridge? Where did that grocery list go…?

Daily life can often be difficult to juggle. Add into the mix kids, their extracurricular activities, homework, laundry and general bedlam and try to breathe. Breathe deeply and fear not, for many little digital helpers exist that streamline the management of household demands. A home has many facets that all seem to scream equally loud for attention. Below are three apps that help the user pull off the grand juggling act that is life.


Cozi – More than just a list-maker


This handy organization gem is great for creating and tracking any type of list that can be thought of: grocery, chores, To-Do, reminders, packing and so forth. Cozi doesn’t stop there, however. This app goes beyond being a scrowl pad for helter-skelter notes by allowing lists to be organized by type and by individual item. Good-bye mad dashes around the grocery store.


To-Do lists can be prioritized and even shared. In fact, everything entered into Cozi can be shared amongst family members and friends. Calendars are seamlessly combined, shared, and even synced with Microsoft Outlook for comprehensive appointment organization and management. Within the calendar, reminders are set and sent via text or e-mail. Schedules are compartmentalized, summarized, and all around easy-button-ized. Cozi makes everything ridiculously simple to share, including family journal entries complete with personalized photo illustration. Sorry kids, no more “But I didn’t see the note on the fridge saying to do the dishes – it must have fallen off!” And no more running around like a chicken lacking in the cranium department.


LifeView – Because the home is a precious space


This particular app is not a stand-alone household manager but rather runs in tandem with the LifeShield security system. LifeShield departs from traditional home security by using the Internet and cell phone towers to monitor sensors placed around the home instead of a landline. Compared to other security providers (most notably the ADT giant), this system offers a competitively priced monthly monitoring fee and free equipment to start. Also unlike other security providers, LifeShield’s web application LifeView comes included in the price of purchasing the system.


As far as apps go, this one is as user-friendly as it gets. LifeView gives the user the ability to monitor the status of their home security 24/7 from anywhere in the world. It turns a digitally watchful eye on the home interior through video monitoring and sensors placed at all entry points. LifeView seeks to secure the household as well as improve the safety habits of its members through its interactive portal. The app provides a safety score for the house based on security events and the status of the vulnerable door and window entry points. From this score, the app gives helpful advice and hints about how to improve the security of the home.


While the LifeShield security system may have a lot of technological bells and whistles, the LifeView app is simple and straightforward. It allows the system to be easily armed and disarmed with a swipe of a finger and also provides a panic button that connects directly with emergency responders. The app’s widget design presents readily reviewable status updates, notifications and alerts, events, safety scores, armed percentage of the home, video monitoring, and CrimeWatch – a feature that tracks and notifies the user about any criminal activity occurring in the area.


With LifeView, home security management is simple and efficient. Besides the fact that the app is free, peace of mind is priceless.


Mint.com – Financial tracking made so simple you can’t hide


This website offers a free app for head-to-toe money management and personal budgeting. A quick sign-up process connects all banking accounts and gathers them in one convenient snapshot menu. Once all accounts are linked to Mint, the website identifies and categorizes all individual transactions with a highly discerning hand and acute attention to detail. Mint even translates bank speak for the user by clearly stating a vendor rather than filling up a line with a bunch of seemingly arbitrary numbers and capitalized letters.


Mint.com offers many layers to personal financial management which include calculating average spending by category in order for the user to craft realistic budgets and stick to them. The app also analyzes trends in spending and visually summarizes them through graphs and charts which allows the user to easily understand the impact of their spending activity and changes. Mint.com will send alerts for fees, upcoming bills, and unusual charges to take the unpleasant surprise factor out of banking. It is also possible to track investments and root out areas where savings can be had. With Mint.com, one needn’t be a financial savvy analyst in order to make sound, well-informed decisions.

Maneuvering all the ins and outs of a demanding schedule and a busy household is no easy task and there are only so many different directions a body can be pulled in before gray-hair onsets. Beat the stress, consolidate, organize, conquer a multifaceted life, and be treated to some relaxation with some help from these home management apps.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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