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LI families turn to mobile apps like Picniic, Flipp, 2Houses to organize their lives

Garden City South resident Stephanie Ortiz uses the

Garden City South resident Stephanie Ortiz uses the Picniic app to help keep track of the schedules of her six children, Jessica, 16, Emily, 8, Katelyn, 10 Alexandra, 15, Jacob, 6, and John, 13. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

From shopping, to scheduling, to co-parenting, apps are helping modern families organize almost every aspect of their lives.

“Using an app can make a huge difference, especially for a family that’s busy with activities or has a lot of kids,” says Stephanie Ortiz, a writer and mother of six children ranging in age from 6 to 16.

To keep her Garden City South home in order, Ortiz, 44, uses MealBoard for recipe planning, Zeta for tracking finances and Bring! to coordinate with her husband on what groceries need to be picked up.

“I tend to do a lot on paper, but keeping things on my phone kept it easier as I was coming and going,” Ortiz said. “It brings all the information to one place.”

Here are some family friendly apps. All but MealBoard (iPhone only) are available for IOS and Android platforms.

On-screen savings

Flipp: To save money on her weekly groceries, Levittown mother of five Marissa Cifarelli, 37, turns to this free app, which puts circulars from area retailers, as well as coupons and sale information, all in one place. “The app shows you all the deals in nearby supermarkets so you can search the best bargains,” says Cifarelli, a teacher and real estate agent. “It has coupons and a shopping list feature, too. It’s a nice place to keep everything and it’s very user friendly.”

Ibotta: Extra savings can also be found on this free app, which offers cash back at stores, as well as for flights, hotels and restaurants. Before shopping, users select items with cash-back deals in the app — such as 25 cents back for cheese or 50 cents for cereal — from participating retailers. Upon purchase, upload a picture of the receipt for cash back into your Ibotta account, which can then be redeemed via PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards.

Co-parenting gets streamlined  

2Houses: Managing one household is hard enough, but trying to coordinate the schedules of two families after divorce or separation can easily lead to chaos. 2Houses, which costs $12.50 per month, seeks to minimize that by giving co-parents a way to set up a shared online schedule, financial tracking and a folder with important details, such as emergency contacts and medical information. Couples with a history of conflict will appreciate the app’s messaging system, where conversations cannot be altered or deleted. 

Talking Parents: Keeping exchanges civil is also a trademark feature of Talking Parents, which is free but charges for downloading conversations. The app allows users a streamlined messaging system with time-stamped discussions that can be easily shared with attorneys or mediators. Co-parents can also share images and important documents on the app.

Managing money

Mint: This free app syncs up to bank accounts so users can create categorized budgets that automatically update based on spending, as well as keep track of their bills.

EveryDollar: This app is another popular budgeting option. The app emphasizes zero-base budgeting, prompting users to assign every dollar of their monthly income to a category. It is free, and $10 per month to have it sync to your bank.

Zeta: This free app is a favorite for couples, designed to be shared between two people so finances can be tracked and shared, with handy options to split transactions and set up bill reminders.

Homey: If you’re trying to teach your children about budgeting and money management, give Homey a spin. The app, which costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year, allows parents the option to transfer allowance to a bank account or mark it as being paid out in cash. Parents can also assign children chores, as well as set predetermined rewards in the app.

Keeping track of it all

MealBoard: When it comes to grocery shopping, Ortiz swears by this app, which costs $3.99, because it allows her to plan weekly menus and import recipes from various websites.

Bring!: And to keep track of her shopping list, she uses this free app, which offers a pictorial view of grocery items and sends real-time updates to synced users so everyone knows when the fridge needs restocking.  

Google Keep: Shani Weiss, a mother of two from Woodmere, ditched the paper and pen for the list feature on this free app, which also includes features like notes, reminders and the transcription of voice memos. “It keeps me organized,” Weiss says. “I keep a separate list for the supermarket, warehouse clubs, errands, returns. I also like the fact that I can either delete an item or marked it checked from my list.”

Organizing the household

Cozi: Those looking to bring their to-do list to the next level can get Cozi, which is free or $19.99 a year for the advanced version. It allows users to set up customizable lists for the whole family. Time-sensitive tasks and chores can be assigned a deadline, which sync up automatically to the app’s color-coded family calendar. 

Picniic: With a house of eight to manage, Ortiz relies on the family calendar on this free app to keep track of everyone’s schedule. With automatic syncing between participating family members, there are no surprises when someone has a game coming up, work shift or school project due. “For a big family like ours, this app is invaluable because it coordinates all of the information for our busy schedules into one central location,” Ortiz said. “Everyone can see the calendar, and we’re all in the know.”

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