Now that my youngest boy has started school, I now have two sets of swimming lessons, parents evenings, school assemblies, school trips, non-uniform days, etc to keep track of. It’s important that my husband knows of these events too, especially nativity plays and parents evenings where he’ll need to attend too. Also with Christmas coming up there’s light switch ons and fireworks to see and I haven’t yet mentioned the dentist, doctors and opticians appointments. Keeping track of all these events and appointments for four people and making sure my husband knows of them so he can arrange any time off work, was driving me round the bend.
We were old school. Writing it all down on a calendar hanging on the kitchen wall. Which is fine for me the majority of the time, when I’m in the house and able to look at it. However my husband works out of the home and wants to check that, where possible, his work events won’t clash with important family events and appointments. He would often text me to check before arranging some out of hours work and I would often text him checking he could work the early shift and be home in time for a parents evening appointment. Texting backwards and forwards whilst checking some paper hanging on the kitchen wall in order to arrange anything.
We thought there must be an easier way and looked for Apps that might help. I have an iPhone and my husband uses an Android phone so it had to be something available on both. We came across the Cozi Family Organizer app and the reviews looked good. The App itself is free to install but some features are only available with a Cozi Gold Subscription which is currently £22.99 per family, per year (i.e. if you have two people using the App like we do, you only need to pay one lot of £22.99).
The App lets you manage your family calendar really easily. Each person is colour coded, you can view and individuals schedule or everyone at once and so can easily see who’s doing what and when (picture included so you can see what the week view looks like, I’ve blocked out my childrens’ names).
When appointments are added, you can select who’s attending, if the appointment repeats (so easy to book in the kids weekly swimming lessons!) and set reminders so that notifications pop up on your phone. With the free version you can set one reminder. With CoziGold you can set up to three reminders and send notifications of a new appointment through the App (so no need to text my husband when I schedule something in for him). With Cozi Gold, you can also add birthdays into the calendar. I think, whilst it’s useful to have all that information in one place, I wouldn’t pay the extra just to add birthdays. However, Cozi Gold lets you set three reminders and this I do find very useful. If I just need reminding that my son has swimming, one reminder the night before is fine. It’s when I need to prepare for something a bit more. For example, my eldest needs to take his nativity play costume to school this Friday. A reminder the night before is good but I might also need a reminder a week before reminding me to actually make it! So the extra reminders are useful to me.
The other thing I love about this App is the shopping list function. You can write several shopping lists (so you could have one for your weekly food shop, another for top-up shop, etc) and then use the App to tick off items as you shop. I find this very useful as it means no morejuggling a pen, paper, trolley, scanner (I like to use the “Scan as You Shop” barcode scanners). It also means I have less chance of forgetting something as I don’t have to rewrite a shopping list each week, everything we regularly buy is already listed in my phone now and I just need to add any extras to it. The best bit about the shopping list is the “Shopping Mode”. Press the little shopping trolley icon and you’re in Shopping Mode. This means your shopping list is displayed, with check boxes to tick off items, the screen will not dim and your phone will not lock. I can shop with my phone in my pocket, quickly pull it out to check things off and pop it back in my pocket ready to check more items in a few minutes time. The other benefit of having the shopping list on the family organizer App is that, like the calendar it’s a shared list. My husband can add to it anything he’s noticed we’ve run out of or I can get him to do some shopping on his way home from work and he’ll already have the list.
There’s also a To Do list and Contacts list (Cozi Gold only) in the App which work in the same way. The lists are shared so you can write your own list as well as view and edit other family members. Overall, we have found this App quickly became a very useful tool in our family life. We initially tried the free version but after a few days decided it was worth the £22.99 a year for the Cozi Gold. The paper calendar now hangs on the kitchen wall unused. I won’t be buying one for 2016, this App does everything we need.
I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.