Sometimes I find it highly amusing that I make my living by using a computer. I am definitely not computer savvy at all, somehow I manage to limp my way through CSS and HTML on the back end of my blog, and I kinda actually enjoy it. But, when it comes to regular old computer stuff, I really have no idea what I’m doing — just ask my hubby, he’s always having to figure stuff out for me when I “broke” something or can’t install something correctly.
Fortunately for me, and maybe for you too, if you’re like me and love the computer but aren’t a computer wiz, there are lots of great computer programs out there that can help to make our lives as moms of toddlers just a little bit easier, and best of all, they’re FREE!
I know a lot of us are diving into setting goals, getting organized, and making big plans for the upcoming year, both for ourselves personally, for our kids, and for our families, and these programs can really help busy moms like us to accomplish those very things. Here are my top nine free computer programs that I use on a regular basis.
Dropbox 1 of 9Dropbox is a file storage and backup system that allows you to share files between computers and mobile devices, and also access them online from anywhere. I use it to share files with my husband and to easily move files between our two home computers.
Gimp 2 of 9Gimp is awesome photo editing software that allows you to quickly and easily crop and resize photos, add text, and much more. It took me a little bit to figure out how to really use it, but now I use it everyday to edit photos, especially when I'm making a slideshow like this.
Mint 3 of 9If better money management is one of your goals for the new year, then you definitely need to check out Mint.com. It brings all of your different accounts together to give you an overall picture of your spending habits and money management in one place. It also has a great tool for setting up a simple budget, as well as email reminders when your bills are due, or your bank account balance is getting low. We use mint to make our monthly budgets and help us to track our spending.
Get Started with Mint
Open Office 4 of 9Open Office is free software for word processing, databases, spreadsheets and more, similar to Microsoft Office or Apple iWork. It stores your files in an international open standard format and can also open and edit files from those other programs. If you are looking for a free alternative for office type software, Open Office is for you. I'll be honest that I don't use open office because I have iWork on my Mac, but I've heard great things about it, and really, what's better than free?!
Learn More About Open Office
Photobucket 5 of 9Photobucket is an online photo storage site that allows you to upload pictures and videos, create albums, edit photos, and easily share photos across the internet with HTML and IMG codes. I use photobucket to host pictures that I use on my blog.
Sign Up for Photobucket
Picnik 6 of 9Picnik is a great online photo editing site that is super user friendly. You can edit and re-size photos, add graphics or text, make collages of pictures, and much more with their easy to use software. The one drawback to Picnik is that you can only upload a small number of pictures at a time, unless you upgrade to their premium membership, but I've used it to make photo buttons and collages for my blog, and it's much simpler to use than Gimp.
Get Started With Picnik
Prezi 7 of 9Prezi puts Power Point presentations to shame. It allows you to easily create visually attractive and interactive presentations that can include pictures and videos. Once you try a Prezi for your next presentation, you'll never want to use anything else. My hubby helped me put together a simple Prezi that explains the basics of what my blog, Live Renewed, is all about.
Try Out Prezi for Yourself
Skype 8 of 9Skype allows you to connect with others over the computer, either through live video or instant message type "chat". It's great for keeping in touch with friends and relatives who live farther away that you don't get to see all the time — my kids love to talk to their Nana and Papa and cousins over the computer!
Spotify 9 of 9Spotify is amazing music software. It gives you access to just about any song or artist that you could ever want, and allows you to listen to that music whenever you want, for free. You can also import your iTunes library so you have access to all of your downloaded music. You can create playlists easily by dragging and dropping your favorite songs, as well as share your favorite music with others. I just started using Spotify and it is now my go-to for listening to music.
Learn More About Spotify
What is your favorite free computer program that helps to make your life easier?
Photo source: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com/flickr
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- Technology and Toddlers: How Do You Set Limits?
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