>While I have some typical New Year’s Resolutions, and we have some as a family, there are a few things that we want to do this year that are made a little easier with technology. Being a business teacher, and being married to a software engineer, some of these things may be ultra-techy, but I thought I’d share.
My top baby product of Morgan’s first seven months was actually one of the cheapest. The Baby Connect app has been used daily since bringing Morgan home from the hospital. If you have an iPod, iPhone, or iPad (or all three in the case of our all-Mac household), then its definitely worth the $4.99. I have been able to log Morgan’s eating habits, diapers, milestones, etc. Then her analytical parents can sit and study graphs and charts until their heart is content. There’s even a feature where you can e-mail each other reports, and a pediatrician can even access info.
So if that was so good, there has to be some more apps that will make life easier. No better place to start than general organization, right? After days of research, we went with the 2Do App. It works with MobileMe, another must have (even if you aren’t a Mac person, check it out for Windows). It is pretty much a To Do list on steroids. I remember when I was pregnant with Morgan, the receptionist at my OB/GYN clinic was amazed that when we set an appointment, I’d put it in my phone, and it would automatically sync to Chad’s. She didn’t even see what it was doing on our home and work computers. She would be completely floored by what this app does.
I’ve been looking for something like this for a long time. MacGourmet is a Mac-only program, but if you love recipes like me, its worth buying a Mac for. Okay, maybe not that good, but well worth it if you already have a Mac. It allows for ultra organization of recipes (both online and manual entered), calculates nutritional information based on ingredients, and syncs with iPhones and iPads. I’m going to turn my iPad into the best cookbook ever. It also has a Meal Planner built in. I can build a weekly menu and Chad can access it immediately on his phone, and switch burger night with chicken night if he wants to. If you are just interested in the meal planner, check out Mealboard, it also builds grocery lists.
For a great Grocery List app, check out Grocery Gadgets. Its pretty neat, and after entering your grocery list, it will begin to learn the order of the items in your grocery store, and even keep up with pricing history – so you can really see that the price of milk has nearly doubled since last year!
Its not really a tech product, but I am excited about putting this together. We ran up on a sale at Franklin Covey and picked up a Life.doc kit for half price. Okay, yes its a nice binder with pockets and tabs and stuff, and it could probably be duplicated for much less, but Franklin Covey products are so professional, and again it was half price. It basically is a catch all for all important information – wills, insurance, marriage certificate, financial documentation.
Last year we tried Mint.com, hailed as the great, free personal finance web portal. It worked okay, but we weren’t excited about it. It seems that Mint cares more about looking at your finances and determining what credit card to offer you. The iPhone app was lackluster as well. The thing we really didn’t like about it was that it wasn’t real-time. Yes, it was automated, but it wasn’t real time. And it wasn’t even completely automated – if we went to Wal Mart for instance, and part of our purchase was groceries, part was baby, and part was miscellaneous, it was a nightmare – then it would think that the next purchase at Wal Mart was the same percentage. We are a planning, keep a budget, have meetings about the budget family – the budget feature at Mint was horrible for us. Alerts and text messages and such when you are getting close to exceeding a budget item is great – except when it thinks your mortgage payment is miscellaneous purchase. We finally had enough and gave up on Mint, but vowed to try again in 2011.
The research netted iBank. Yes, it does the same thing Quicken (who owns Mint.com) does, but it does everything better. We have immediate, real-time access on our iPhone. I make a purchase, I simply hit a couple of buttons on my phone. And it works with MobileMe, so when I put in a purchase, Chad has access to it. We can customize our budget items (Everyone doesn’t use the standard type budget). We can link of our mortgage account, all of our retirement accounts, investments, Morgan’s 529, and everything is in one place. And it also works with ….
The product I’m most excited about – and it hasn’t quite made it to our home yet, is the Neat Receipts system. I’ve been eyeing this for a year, but its sort of hard to start keeping up with this sort of thing in the middle of the year, so we waited. Its a little pricey for a scanner, but it basically takes every document (not just receipts) and makes a digital copy of it that is searchable by text. It also keeps up with tax information in regards to the receipts, and I expect that we will take the little used Sales Tax deduction next year.
That’s a few of the geeky things that we are going to do this year. I thought some of you might be interested.