If you’re a young person in Boston, you’ve probably noticed that you rarely see fellow 20-somethings who aren’t constantly staring down at their smartphones. Why not make the most of it?
Being on your own in a city can be scary and confusing, but luckily, your smartphone can help you figure out everything from personal finance to public transportation.
Need a taxi? There’s an app for that. Want to know where Roxy’s Grilled Cheese food truck is? There’s an app for that as well. We’ve broken down the top 10 free apps every young person living in Boston should have to survive and thrive.
Here’s the breakdown:
For your public transportation needs:
This is a free app for MBTA users in the Boston metro area.
Made By: Daniel Choi and Eric Richmond
Why You Need It: It gives you scheduled and real-time information about the MBTA bus, subway train, commuter rail line, and ferry schedules for the day. There’s also a color-coded guide to help you quickly distinguish stop locations, the next arrival times for each stop, and time schedules for your selected route. Don’t like the color-coded map? Switch to the table format for a cleaner read.
(Forget missing that big interview, because this app will even show you the latest MBTA service delay announcements.)
When you’re craving some late-night Chinese food after a late night dancing at Howl at The Moon:
This is a free app that allows you to quickly order take-out and delivery food from restaurants near you.
Made by: Christian Dumontet
Why You Need It: How annoying is it to call that nearby sushi place at midnight and get a busy signal? With this app, you enter your location and are shown a list of nearby restaurants that offer delivery and takeout. You can browse menus and order whatever you’re in the mood for instantly. With roughly 13,000 restaurants connected to Foodler, you’ll have a wide selection of different types of cuisine: Pizza, Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, and more.
For that impromptu shopping trip on Newbury Street:
This free app gives you instant access to coupons and deals at the nearest stores.
Made By: Guy King and Bevan Clark
Why You Need It: Drop the scissors because you no longer have to print and clip out coupons before leaving home. With this app, you can search for coupons to your favorite stores, scope out the deals of the day, and even browse deals that are trending. You get sent automatic alerts about nearby deals, and the app will also send you notifications about when offers you’ve saved are about to expire.
(Can’t remember what that store was called...you know, the one with the really cute shoes? Rest assured, because RetailMeNot allows you to bookmark your favorite stores.)
When you need your roommate to cough up the dough for utilities:
This free app lets you charge and pay your friends.
Made By: Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail
Why You Need It: Don’t worry about ordering new checks because this app lets you make and share payments instantly. Whether you owe your friends (or they owe you) money for rent, dinner, drinks or a movie ticket, you can now bypass the awkward IOU notes and instead, instantly pay or collect money with your debit card or bank account.
For when you feel inspired to raise money for your favorite charity:
This free app allows you to earn corporate sponsorships for charities just by exercising.
Made By: Gene Gurkoff
Why You Need It: Boston is a pretty active city, and whether you’re into running, biking or walking, you might as well earn money for some of the world’s top charities while you’re at it. You simply download the app, choose a charity, get moving, and earn money for every mile you cover. Charity Miles can have a big impact on charities because it has attracted corporate sponsorship.
(The ASPCA, Autism Speaks, Habitat for Humanity, The Alzheimer’s Association, Feeding America, and Stand Up to Cancer are just some of the charities you can work out for, so you’re sure to find one you’d like to help.)
For when it’s raining, you missed the T, you’re going to be late for work, and you just can’t:
This free app lets you request a cab at a moment’s notice, track your cab’s arrival, and pay via your mobile phone.
Made By: Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick
Why You Need It: You’ll never have to hail a taxi on Dartmouth Street after a couple drinks at Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar again. This company has faced a lot of criticism in the media, (Does it hurt business for local cabbies? Should it be regulated? And just what is this surge pricing?) but it’s really hard to knock the service when it’s so easy to use and the drivers are generally friendly and typically arrive within minutes of your request. You can pay with Google Wallet, PayPal or your credit card, so you’ll never have to fumble around for cash again.
(Not exactly sure where you are? When you request an Uber cab, you drop a pin on a map, so it usually pinpoints very close to where you are. And even if you don’t get the exact address, once you’re connected with a personal driver, you can call or text him or her to confirm your whereabouts or check the progress of your ride at any time.)
For when you’re at the office and realize you forgot your PB&J. Or when you’re at the office, see your PB&J, and think, “nah.”
This free app lets you know which Boston food trucks are nearby.
Made By: Tatlow Park Software
Why You Need It: This app will show you where Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Bon Me, Redbones BBQ, and other area food trucks are every single day, so don’t fret if you forgot to pack a brown paper bag. The app has a map that drops pins of locations showing you where the food trucks are around the city, and uses red and green pins to show you whether they are open or not.
(Want to remember where you had that phenomenal red velvet cupcake? No worries! You can also view the app in list form and sort trucks by alphabetical order, those closest to you, your favorites, or most popular.
For when you realize you have no idea how to manage your money:
This free app helps you handle your finances, organizing and categorizing your spending for you.
Made By: Aaron Patzer
Why You Need It: Mint allows you to organize your spending into categories, like rent, utilities, clothing, and food, and throws it into an easy-to-read chart. You can set goals for yourself and the app will suggest steps for you to get there, while offering advice and reminders.
(Worried that your new budget will slip your mind when you’re faced with a Starbuck’s caramel macchiato hankering? Don’t sweat it: Mint sends you mobile alerts and emails to keep you on track, and it’s much less annoying than having your mom nag you. Trust us.)
For when you can’t decide if you should wear your parka, your sundress, or your sweater...or all three:
This free app takes complicated weather data and translates it into a picture of what you should be wearing to face the elements.
Made By: AGLogic, LLC
Platform: iOS (iPhone)
Why You Need It: March through May, Boston’s weather fluctuates between what feels like a balmy summer day to a freezing nor’easter. Swackett tells you weather conditions for over 2 million worldwide locations , including hourly forecasts for the next 24 hours and daily forecasts for the next five days, but in a fun way. So, if it’s a humid 79 degree day, and your “peep,” or crafted people symbol, is wearing a t-shirt, shorts, flip flops and sunglasses, you should probably do that too.
(Want to catch that sunset on the Charles River Esplanade with your hot date? In addition to humidity, dew point, wind speed, and precipitation, this app will tell you when the sun rises and sets.)
For when you’ve just finished binge-watching the new season of “Orange Is The New Black,” your muscles have atrophied from lying in bed for so long, and you’re thinking you should probably go out.
This free app clues you in on events going on in Boston and tells you which events your friends are going to.
Made By: Kevin Hartz, Julia Hartz, and Renaud Visage
Why You Need It: Not only will Eventbrite let you know about that Dirty Girl 5K Mud Run you wanted to go to or when Boston Comic Con is, but also it lets you buy tickets to events. You can also add upcoming events to your calendar and once you’ve purchased a ticket to something, you can use your phone to get into the event: No more freaking out over a lost paper ticket.
(Want your buds to come to your pad for a change? This app lets you create your own events as well, with location, date, time, description and even a logo.)Justine Hofherr can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her @Jhofherr29