I popped by to see my two favorite ladies at the Today Show, tasked with bringing them some “apps that will change your life” (no pressure!). So I rounded up a few that have caught my eye lately — including one that’s topping the paid app charts in the app store — to share with Kathie Lee, Hoda and all of you. As we cruise into 2018, you might want to download one or two of these:
So, you consider yourself a total movie buff—if only we weren’t living in a world where the price of a single ticket can run as high as $14-15 a pop. MoviePass makes it more affordable than ever to keep going to theaters to see movies as they were meant to be seen: In the theater. (Seriously, my husband works hard to make music for movies that sounds incredible and you can’t beat that digital surround sound.)
Here’s how MoviePass works: For $9.95 a month, you get access to all the movies you can possibly see at 4K theaters nationwide. (The only exclusions are IMAX or 3D.) You pay for your subscription right in the app and MoviePass will send you a special GPS-enabled credit card. Then, simply search movie listings at your local theaters to see what’s playing and when you get within 100 yards of the theater, check in using the app, and your card will be authorized to purchase tickets for the next 30 minutes. And here’s the kicker: MoviePass foots the bill for the full price, but your total is $9.95—whether you go to one…or 10 films.
You wish the idea that flights are always cheaper on Tuesdays were still true. But nowadays, you need digital help to really secure the best deals. Meet Hopper, a free app designed to predict exactly when you should book a flight—something that’s getting harder and harder to predict given that airlines use algorithms for when to inflate and reduce their fares.
Here’s how Hopper works: The app analyzes zillions of flights (and now hotels) so that they can pass all that intelligence onto you. But here’s the best part—all you have to do is enter your travel dates and get your prognosis for when to buy. Once you have that, you can book or wait and watch. The app even sends you alerts when prices fall. In fact, Hopper promises that they can accurately predict the best time to book a flight a whopping 95 percent of the time. (They’ll also save users an average of $34 a night on hotels—and up to $90 a night best-case scenario. Not bad!)
You really do adore the Hemnes dresser, but until you take it home and spend five hours constructing it, it’s a bit of a challenge to visualize exactly how it will look in your home. IKEA Place makes it possible to place virtual furniture right in your actual living room to see if it will look good.
Here’s how it works: Using Augmented Reality, the free app allows you to “drop” chairs, sofas, tables and more into your space. You can even spin them around to put them on different walls and in different locations around the room. The perspective and sizing adjusts to scale depending on where you stand, so it really does look like the furniture is there. (Simply move up close to see the details or stand back to see it in the context of the room.) The only caveat—you have to have an iPhone 6 or newer and one that’s running iOS11 for the app to work.
Finally! A free app that helps you find like-minded mommy friends in your area. (I would have killed for this 16 years ago when I was a new mom, in a new neighborhood when so few of my friends were starting to have kids.)
Here’s how it works: Peanut is actually a lot like Tinder in that you put up a profile page, add info about the ages of your kids, some personality traits, interests and the languages you speak. Next, you start scrolling through profiles of other moms. Swipe up to wave to a mom you want to hang out with and, if she waves back, you are connected through the app and can chat about a place and time to meet up. The app even comes with a feature that allows you to seamlessly create group chats to coordinate play dates and poll everyone on what time is good, so you don’t end up with an endless back and forth via text.
Savings are important, but when it comes to money, a lot of people—especially millennials—really want to learn how to invest. Still, understanding the stock market can feel pretty overwhelming if you don’t have guidance. Not to mention, most of us truly feel we don’t have any cash at all to spare. That’s where Acorns comes in. For $1 a month, the app offers a low-risk, painless way to make micro investments that add up over time.
Here’s how it works: You connect your bank account and credit cards, then make purchases like you normally would. Every time you spend, Acorns will round up to the nearest dollar and take that money and make what they call a “micro-investment”—aka they invest those pennies into a diversified portfolio of thousands of stocks and bonds. (You get to decide if you want a conservative or more aggressive portfolio, but you might only have a fraction of a share in each stock so it takes the pressure off.) Easy buttons in the app make it, well, easy to invest an additional $5 here or $20 there if you want to. Just like that, you’re investing!
There’s a reason this is the #1 paid app in the app store right now. Basically, KiraKira+ takes a photo or video of you and makes it sparkly or glittery. That’s it! It actually started making a big splash during Spring-Summer 2018 collections at fashion week, where models and people in the audience used it to add sparkle to clothes. (It doesn’t hurt that it makes your skin look pretty, too.)
Here’s how it works: The app—which costs 99 cents to download—picks up anything that emits light or is reflective (think twinkly lights or shimmer makeup) and gives it a sparkle effect. Trust me, it will make your holiday pics look ulta festive. Perfect timing for New Year’s Eve!