by Sylvia Salas Brown, Guest Contributor
Imagine yourself on Day One. Whether you are a brand-spanking new military spouse or a seasoned military spouse who just did another PCS and your HHGs have been delivered and the moving truck has just left the curb.
So what do you do on the first day of your new duty station? Pick up your smartphone and install some of these top apps to get you through this PCS move and the next few years at your new installation.
These apps can possibly pave the way for you to have a successful military life and help you thrive anywhere you go! These apps are in no particular order and they cover most aspects of military life.
Beware that some of these apps cost money and have ads in them and some don’t, as well as in-app purchases that you can make.
15 Must-Have Apps for Every Day of Your Military Life
1. Around Me. This app lists information about your local area such as restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, gas stations, shopping, banks, coffee shops and more. It also boasts local weather forecasts.
If you are a newbie to the area (read: haven’t been stationed there before), this is a great app for you to discover your local town.
My Base Guide and MilTraveler‘s Base Directory are two that are specifically military-related apps for your particular base that include all information regarding your current location from base regulations to units and telephone directories.
2. Certifikid. For those of us with children, you know how important it is to keep the kids occupied while the service member is out either on TDY or deployment. This app will help you find activities for you and your family in the local area. They have great deals on family-friendly places for those of us on the go. You can sign up for email notifications as well.
Just be sure to check if your city is part of the Certifikid network although most major cities seem to already be listed.
3. ShopSaavy. If you are a deal finder, this is your app! This app brags as “your one-stop resource to save time and money and to get all the best sales from your favorite stores” and you just can’t beat that!
You scan the barcode and a list of either online or local stores that sell that particular item populates with prices and address of the nearest stores with a link to the store. How cool is that?!?!
4. Discount Soldier. This app will help you find military discounts in your local area. It will also show you a map of the location. It is for all active duty, reserve, guard and families and even former military.
Honorable mention to this app is Military Discounters. They work essentially the same and this one also uses your phone’s GPS system to generate the location of the discount.
5. Commissary Rewards. So before you had to log into your profile and then click, click, click on all your coupons and you’d be there for like 30 minutes on your computer trying to decide which coupons you were going to use on your commissary trip and before that you had to sit at home and clip coupons. No more!
You download the Commissary Rewards app and it shows all the coupons you need by category.
So if you are at the cereal aisle, you go to the Breakfast & Cereal menu and find your coupon, “clip” it and boom it goes to your profile. When you get to the register you scan your card and it takes your coupons.
No hassle to take the coupons with you, or [gasp] forget them at home as you are loading up the kids in the car.
6. Michael’s. This app is a must-have for the creative milspouse. Once you download either or all (because there are others [jumping wildly with excitement]…read: HobbyLobby & Jo-Ann’s Fabrics), you specify which location you shop at or not, if you have multiple stores within the area and it shows discounts on products.
This is especially good during the holidays when you are purchasing items to create gifts or when redecorating your house, scrapbooking or just need inspiration.
7. Instructables. If you’ve been left to your own devices and want to re-do a honey-do, this, my friends, is the app for you! This app has all sorts of How-To instructions and Life Hacks. You can even share a creation of yours, look through and find a project to make out of household materials, for say, the science project that’s due tomorrow that your child gave you notice for today.
9. Daily Workouts. Daily Workouts has Butt, Ab, Leg and Cardio sister apps that help you workout that targeted muscle group. The Daily Workout app is a total body workout app.
This is great for when you are stuck at home in the winter and like me, hibernate, and rarely make it out to the gym. Or if you don’t want to try these exercises in a gym class and feel like you will look silly [ahem!], try doing these exercises in the comfort of your own home.
With these apps, you will definitely get a good workout. I use these, although I’m not a fitness buff by any means, and I have been able to keep up with the actual workouts. Well worth the download.
10. Military Wife Deployment Survival Guide. If you’ve gone through a deployment or your spouse just got orders, this is the app! It counts down to the days until their safe return! It was created by the wife of a Marine (OORAH!) and will make your life easier. It prompts you to an activity like the countdown, a corkboard, a motivation section, and a “Find my Zen”…who doesn’t need some Zen in their life?!?!? A similar app in this category is Soldier Countdown.
11. Google Translate. If you find yourself OCONUS, this app can be a lifesaver or if you met a new spouse that is not from the U.S. and you want to learn their language (or just want to learn a new language), this can help you. We have a great diversity in the military and I feel empowered and enthusiastic to be able to learn from all these great folks about their native languages and cultures.
I recently began learning Italian from a friend that has since moved on, but used to be stationed where we are currently. We are sort of switching languages. She speaks her best Spanish to me and I try my best Italian on her. We have a good time doing this back and forth.
This app also has audio and speaks the language to you, so you can learn how to pronounce the words.
12. MilitaryByOwner. This app helps you find rentals as well as homes for sale in your local area and you can save your favorites and be ready to go! Realtor, Trulia and Homes are also honorable mentions that are similar to MBO and have some of the same features. Another military moving related app is The Big Moving Adventure. It’s for kids to help them with their move-related questions.
13. My Military Life. This app has all the information you might need in regards to the military lifestyle. From forms to installations to spouse services to finances, this app has it all. This can help make your milspouse journey much easier. You can even customize to-do lists, it has reminders and it boosts suggestions by service branch, location and your specific needs. Definitely a must-have!
14. PBS Kids. If you have found yourself at the commissary, with your clipped coupons and screaming kids…well, bust your phone out and play a video on this app. I have been able to have at least a 5-minute conversation with my husband and a friend, at separate times, when my kids watched a video from one of their educational shows. And some of these shows, like Sesame Street have their own app for military families. So go ahead and get this one. You will thank me and keep your sanity!
15. Take-A-Hop MilSpaceA. For the traveler in you, this app can get you started on flying with Space A. This app boasts as being “the exclusive app for all DOD travelers wanting a quick, easy, reliable, and authorized means to sign up for Space-A”. It recently updated its local information section and has enhanced mapping and routing information.
I hope that this list gets you started on your journey and that it helps you on your path to a great adventure that is the military lifestyle.
Do you have an app that you particularly love? Please share it with us!
Sylvia Salas Brown is a Texas native, or as she likes to call herself, a “misplaced Texan” since she married into the Army. She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a bachelor’s degree in technology (so a geek girl, pretty much) and a Masters in Public Administration from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has two boys aged 5 and 3. Her husband has been active in the Army for over 15 years. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book, she loves to sew, try new recipes, thrift shop, repurpose just about anything, hang out with my family and travel.