As a busy mom of three kiddos, anything that helps me stay organized and improve my efficiency is on my list of favorites. If I can have all of that at my fingertips, all the better. I have tried many apps over the years: calendar apps, to do list apps, menu planning apps, shopping list apps, apps that try to combine some combination of the above. Time after time I tried them out and then ended up deleting them after being disappointed. That was until I found Cozi. This has quickly become my favorite family organization app!
This app is just too good not to share with you. And best of all, their basic version (and trust me, it is far from basic) is FREE! This app has become the virtual command center of my busy life.
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My top 5 Favorite Features
- Shopping Lists
- To Do Lists
- Meal Planner
- Recipe Box
There are certainly more than five features to be found in this great app, but I thought I would give you a virtual tour of my favorite features. The best part is that each one of these is available in their free version!
Over the past few years, I have really become accustomed to using the built-in calendar on my iPhone. It has worked pretty well and a few of the recent upgrades, such as a reminder when to leave for my appointment based on traffic, make it helpful. Even though I wanted an all in one app, I was a bit hesitant to give up my iCalendar. However, Cozi makes it really easy. I was able to sync my iCalendar to Cozi and all of my appointments I enter on my phone automatically sync over. The best part is anything I color code to be tagged to a specific person on my phone comes into my Cozi calendar as coded to the correct person. This allows me to keep the handy “it’s time to leave” reminder on my phone but keep all of my family’s scheduled loaded into the calendar.
So why on earth would I want to keep two separate calendars even if they automatically sync? It’s simple, my kids are too young to carry around smart phones, however, I still want them to see the calendar and know what plans are. Each week I print out the weekly calendar, share it at our family meeting (Check out my FREE family meeting guide + printable here) and place it on our command center on our fridge. Once a month I print out the monthly calendar and post that in the command center as well.
These alone have been so great for my husband and me. Previous to this app, I would print a shopping list each week, write down our meal plan and then plan out our purchases from the two main stores we shop at. Either my husband or I would do the shopping. Sounds fine, right? Well, when one of you has the shopping list but the other is doing the shopping: Fail. When someone loses the list 1/2 way through the trip: Fail. When the list doesn’t make it home and I can’t remember what the meal plan was for the week: Fail. It was just never a great option for us.
Enter Cozi! We have one shopping list for each of our two most frequently shopped at stores. Either one of us can add items to the list at any time. The new items automatically update across all devices. I am able to organize the list so the list is laid out in order I will go through the store. You are able to click to check-off each item as you go.
My husband normally does the shopping and he no longer has to wait for me to finish the list before heading out to the store. He can leave and I can finish the list and have it ready for him by the time he gets to the store. With the Gold (paid) version, there is even an option to send a notice that a new item has been added to the list. This is great for those last minute additions.
Expert Tip: Quickly add items you realize you need as soon as you think of them so you won’t forget
To Do Lists
This has been a lifesaver for me! I love lists! I feel like I’m always making lists. The challenge is that sometimes I can’t remember where I left my great list that I made. Or I’m out and about and want to add something to my list or remember what was on the list. I have transitioned nearly all of my list making into Cozi. In fact, one of my favorite lists is my planning list for this blog. Whenever I get a great idea for a post, I jot it down on my list so I won’t forget.
My next favorite to-do list is my “Honey Do” list. Yes, my husband has his own list. Whenever I need him to take on a project or there is something around the house to be done, I will add it to his to-do list. Now he knows exactly what I would like for him to work on just by going into the app.
Bonus: I have one more to-do list I want to share with you… I created a to-do list for my freezer meal stock! We have a deep freezer in our garage and this is the primary location for our freezer meals. Now, instead of having to guess what we have or going out there to see when I’m meal planning for the week, I can just pop over to my to-do list and see exactly what’s in stock.
Remember when I mentioned that I kept trying different apps to try to find one that did what I wanted it to do? I can’t tell you how many meal planning apps I’ve tried and deleted. Meal planning can be a four-letter word in my house. (Shh…please don’t tell anyone, but I won’t even let my kids as me “What’s for dinner?”) Unless I have a plan, I want to cry when they ask.
Those of you that have read my bio or some of my previous posts, you know that I’m married to a chef. An amazing chef! A chef that cooks me amazing dinners…when he’s home. Unfortunately, because I’m married to a chef, that is not most nights, and dinner prep is left to me. Hence the abundant supply of freezer meals! I have found that when I plan out our meals at the beginning of the week and we shop for everything we need, it relieves immeasurable amounts of stress. I know exactly what we’ll have each night and know I have what I need to make it. Quick and easily prepared meals make the list whenever possible.
The Cozi app has a great meal planner. I typically only use it for dinner, but it has options to plan for Breakfast, Lunch, and snack too. The best part is that it puts it on my calendar!! So remember when I mentioned that I print the calendar on a weekly basis? The menu is already printed on there for all to see. Now whenever my kids want to know what’s for dinner, all they have to do is look at the calendar. (Mommy meltdown averted!)
I am so excited by this last tool for two main reasons. The purpose of the recipe box is for you to explore recipes (Cozi has these all queued up for you!), add them to your recipe box and then get a prepared list of ingredients that you can very easily add to your shopping list. Brilliant, huh? That feature is pretty cool all on its own. But you can also add recipes of your own.
We usually do “Taco Tuesday” in our house. Obviously, I know the recipe for tacos, however, I’ve listed out each of the ingredients so I can just click a button and add them to my shopping list (over and over again nearly every week). I have also done this for our freezer meal prep sessions. I have found that one of the most daunting things about preparing for a freezer meal session is the recipe curation and shopping list planning. Now, when I find a recipe we like, I add it to the recipe box and the next time we want to include it in a meal prep, all I have to do is add it to the shopping list and it pulls over all of the ingredients.
Power User Tip: I created a “recipe” for the items we buy at the store each week. Now, rather than having to add them to my weekly shopping list, I just add the “recipe” shopping list and it pulls in all of the staples automatically. This saves me time and effort when I’m trying to make sure I add all of the basics to our list each week.
Are you still here? Have you downloaded the app yet? Did I mention it’s FREE? What are you waiting for? I hope you will love my family organization app as much as I do!