It should come as no surprise that John and I can’t afford iPhones, neither the phones themselves nor the monthly bills that would come with them. I think an iPhone is the purchase I am most looking forward to when I graduate college and get a grown-up job.
We’ve come up with an alternative that works rather well, however.
John and I both have the cheapest cell phones/plans available and we both have iPod touches, too. With WiFi at home and at work/college, this isn’t as inconvenient as I had expected it to be, though I have been known to get a phone call from Campus Services every now and then because someone found my iPod in the bathroom. Again.
I love my iPod touch and I have since the moment I wrestled it free of its excessive packaging. Since then, I have been an enthusiastic sampler of free apps.
Two free apps that have been major factors in keeping my family and me organized are Cozi and iStudiez Lite. (I use iStudiez Pro now, but I started with the Lite version. Both are very good and obviously I like the Pro version better–more options to customize.) The iStudiez review will be posted next month.
Now on to the review!
Cozi is a web-based family calendar that integrates shopping and To Do lists with meal planning and a family journal. Each family member has a color in the calendar so it’s easy to see who needs to be where at what time. The shopping list updates in real time as you add items or check them off and it’s linked to your meal plans. The To Do list can be assigned to a particular family member.
My favorite aspect of the Cozi app, though, is the calendar reminders.
I don’t know about you, but I am a very, VERY forgetful and disorganized person by nature. I have lost my keys because I left them on the roof of my car, I’ve forgotten diaper bags, and I’ve even forgotten to pick up children from the bus stop a time or two.
My Cozi account is linked to my cell phone and I receive text reminders to do important things, like pay bills, pick up children, and go to work.
With five of our six family members in school and the 6th in preschool, we’re pretty tightly scheduled. I struggled for a long time trying to design a system of my own for keeping track of everyone’s activities and then I stumbled on Cozi.
There are a couple of things about Cozi that I don’t like. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I hate these things! I hate that the ad-free version of the app cost me $6.99 but now it’s free–you do need a website account in order to use the app.
I hate that the ad-free account on the website is $49.99/year (regular ad-full accounts are free). In the interest of saving money, John and I deal with ads on the website. They’re not that bad, really. The ads on Facebook are worse.
I would have to say in all fairness that Cozi is the app that has organized our family better than any other system I have tried–paper calendars, write-on/wipe-off calendars, generic cell phone calendar, etc. I have tried it all. I am a huge fan of Cozi and I talk it up every chance I get.