If you’re anything like me then you probably spend 80% of your life with your phone glued to your hand. My boyfriend once referred to my phone as the ‘third person in our relationship’ so if that doesn’t give you an idea of how much I use it I don’t know what will. Although I’ll admit that much of my time scrolling is spent on the likes of Instagram and Twitter (and my screen time review will confirm this) I do actually have a batch of apps that are somewhat useful.
There’s a selection that I’ve been using for weeks/months/years that have actually made my life ten times easier. From budgeting to organisation and even clothes shopping, I’ve got a bank of apps on my phone that I use all the time and that are guaranteed to be safe from the dreaded ‘you’re running out of storage’ cull.
OK so I know everyone and their dog is already on to Monzo but since I opened an account with the digital-only bank almost two years ago, I haven’t looked back. I still have my main current and savings account but Monzo is the perfect way to manage my disposable income each month. As soon as I get paid I pay my rent and bills, transfer some money into my savings and put the rest onto my Monzo card.
There are a few reasons why I rate Monzo so much. Firstly, the payments come out straight away meaning there are no ‘pending payments’ that sting you when they all come out at once. Monzo also categorises your spending into things such as eating out, groceries, transport and entertainment. I find this such an easy way to see exactly what I’m spending each month and where I need to cut back.
My favourite feature that Monzo offers though is the round ups. You can set up a saving pot and everytime you make a payment, Monzo will round it up, putting the rest into your round-up pot. For example, if you spend £2.40 on a coffee on your way to work, Monzo will round it up to £3, putting the extra 60p in your savings pot. Whilst it’s only a few pennies here and there, I find it soons adds up without me even realising (for guidance, I opened mine on January 1st and have amassed almost £40 from round-ups alone!)
There’s also features that allow you to split the bill easily with others or set up a shared tab, something that we find works perfectly for holidays!
Preview has completely changed the way I plan my Instagram content. Part of me low-key hates the way that I do in fact plan my posts, it’s supposed to be an ‘instant’ photo sharing platform after all, but I’m slightly obsessed with ensuring my grid looks on point.
Preview allows you to upload all of your photos to see what your grid will look like. You can move them about in the app so you can figure out which order will look best and can even upload directly from the app. If you’re a content creator on Instagram or even if you just like a pretty looking, in-sync feed, then Preview is an essential that will change your life!
OK so it’s not like I’m revealing some under the radar, never been heard of before app with this one, but before I do almost anything, I’ll consult Pinterest. Whether it’s Christmas tree theme ideas, present inspiration, fashion advice or ideas for my next nail design, Pinterest will have me covered.
I have boards for everything and anything and don’t do anything even slightly creative before I’ve consulted the app for inspiration. Whilst Instagram tends to be my go to place for style inspo, Pinterest takes the top spot for just about everything else. I actually only downloaded the app about 6 months ago, before then I’d been doing it all on desktop (no, I have no idea why either) and since I’ve had it on my phone I’ve spent many a lunchtime scrolling through pinning ideas for everything from how I’m going to organise my kitchen cupboards to a theme for this years Christmas wrapping.
Citymapper is my lifesaver whenever we’re out of the country on a city break. Trying to navigate public transport and road systems in a foreign country can be a bit of a nightmare and the temptation to order an Uber (another of my favourite apps!) can be high. Often though, it’s not as hard to get about as you first think.
Citymapper lays out all of the different route options for you, complete with details on what, if any, public transport you’ll need to take. Not only does this app make life a hundred times easier when you’re exploring a new city, it also helps to avoid a domestic with your other half when you’ve got 10 minutes until your dinner reservation and have ended up on the other side of the city…
The Podcasts app that’s pre-downloaded on an iPhone sat unloved, collecting dust for quite some time. Then, about 6 months ago I decided on a whim to listen to the Gemma Collins podcast, which by the way is an absolute hoot and the perfect easy listen as I walk to work, and the rest is history.
I’m not actually much of a music girl and if you see me with earphones in you can bet it’s a podcast I’m listening to rather than the latest Stormzy album. Since discovering the world of podcasts I haven’t looked back and now every commute, train journey or solo cleaning spree is spent accompanied by one. A couple of recent favourites include the Like to Know It series which has episodes exploring the world of influencers and Dirty John, a real-life psycho thriller that inspired the hit Netflix show of the same name.
Every organised bone in my body loves Trello. I was first introduced to it via my day job and now it’s taken over every aspect of my life. Trello is an organisation tool that allows you to plan out everything you need to do on different ‘boards’. You set up a board (think of this as your notebook) and within the board you add cards, each detailing a different task that needs doing. You can move the cards around once they’re in progress and complete, add different people to different cards which is great if you work as part of a bigger team and even add a checklist to the task… to-do list inception!
I have different Trello boards for different aspects such as editorial and blog work, Instagram planning and life admin and will also set up a new one for an individual project (I may or may not have had a Christmas board). The app allows you to see exactly where things are up to at any time and saves you having to carry around 50 different notebooks in your bag.
Whilst I’ll never fully give up my written to-do list, Trello is a great way to keep track of the bigger picture and the thrill of moving a card into the ‘complete’ section will never get old.
Habit is the newest of the bunch and to be honest I’m still getting to grips with it. It’s basically a daily tracker app that allows you to track and monitor how often you’re achieving your daily habit goals. If there’s something that you want to make a habit of, whether it’s reading your book for 20 minutes every day or half an hour of yoga first thing in the morning, you can add it to the tracker.
You can also set how often you want to do it (every day, every other day, three times a week etc) and opt in for a reminder notification. The idea and functionality is super simple, every time you complete the task you mark it on your tracker which for me is what makes the app so useful. Whilst it doesn’t exactly force you to sit down and read before bed, seeing the days add up and your tracker looking full as you tick it off each day is addictive, especially if you’re a perfectionist who craves praise like me.
For me, turning lifestyle changes into a long-term habit is something I really struggle with so having an app that is actively encouraging me to stick at it is ideal. I’m pretty sure you can pay for a premium version but I’ve been plodding along with the free one and haven’t noticed any glaringly missing features either.
So there we have it, the definitive list of apps I just can't live without. Whilst I’m hyper-aware of how much time I spend on my phone and my reliance on technology, these apps really do either add something to my day to day life or make it a hell of a lot easier. I’ve also noticed that they’re all free. Whilst some, like Trello and Habit, have paid-for premium options available, I clearly am averse to spending my hard earned pennies on downloading apps, I’m sure there’s an irony in there somewhere!