You might be your family's CFO, but that doesn't mean you can't get everyone in on the savings act. These apps not only teach kids about bargain-seeking but also give you the 411 on inexpensive treats and activities, whether you are staying close to home or booking the brood at a B&B.
FEED A CROWD
Best App: Kids Meal Deals (Android, Blackberry, iOS)
Bottom-Line Benefits: Using your phone's GPS, this app alerts you to daily "kids eat free" specials from participating restaurants. (Call ahead to confirm. Some reviewers have been disappointed to find additional parameters or expired offers at restaurants they visited.)
GET A ROOM IN ADVANCE. . .
Best App: Trivago (Android, iOS)
Bottom-Line Benefits: Compares hotel room rates across 258 sites to find you the best price. The app also offers suggestions based on your location. Filter by amenities, price range or user rating. You even can call the hotel—if you have specific questions or special needs—right from the app.
. . .OR AT THE LAST MINUTE. . .
Best App: Hotel Tonight (Android, iOS, Windows)
Bottom-Line Benefits: Hotel Tonight offers discounts on hotels, whether you need a room right now or up to seven days in advance. Options for accommodations range from budget to posh. The app is easy to use: It takes just three taps and a swipe to book a nonrefundable room.
. . .OR RESERVE SOMETHING HOMIER
Best App: Airbnb (Android, iOS)
Bottom-Line Benefits: Find accommodations to fit your budget. The app can hook you up with a variety of places—from a room to an entire house—often for far less than you'd pay at a hotel. Compare prices, or even offer your own spare room or above-the-garage apartment to make some money yourself.
TAKE THE BITE OUT OF TAKEOUT
Best App: GrubHub (Android, iOS)
Bottom-Line Benefits: You're hungry and don't want to cook. Enter GrubHub, which helps you search for food and order takeout on your device. Use GPS or the search function to find the right eatery from nearly 30,000 locations. The app also features coupons and discounts for some restaurants.
KNOW THE WHO/WHEN/WHERE
Best App: Cozi (Amazon, Android, iOS, Windows tablet)
Bottom-Line Benefits: Organization, all around. Keeps family schedules synchronized, cutting down on errands and letting you plan meals more efficiently. Cozi (owned by our parent company. Time Inc.) also offers giveaways, recipes and tips to help you manage a busy family.
GET THEM A RIDE
Best App: Carpool Kids (iOS)
Bottom-Line Benefits: Saves gas and time by helping you coordinate car pools with friends. Organize ride-sharing to soccer practices, dance rehearsals, violin lessons and everything else your kids have going on. Carpool Kids keeps track of drivers, kids and timing. No iPhone? No worries. Use any Web browser.
KEEP ′EM IN THE KNOW
Best App: AboutOne (iOS, Windows; due out soon for Android)
Bottom-Line Benefits: Storing health histories, home inventories and lots more, this app is especially convenient for families spread over more than one household, because everyone has access to key dates and data. The app is free, and up to 1 gigabyte of cloud storage is free.