Starbucks

Cost: Free

Extremely useful for those who love the Seattle coffee behmoth's strong brew, the Starbucks ( SBUX) app comes in handy after you purchase a Starbucks card online. Enter your card number into the app, and it displays a special barcode that you use at Starbucks counters to pay for your coffee -- the barista just scans your phone at the register.

The app worked very smoothly for us, displaying the new balance of the card automatically once we had paid for our drink. You can load your Starbucks card and track your Starbucks Rewards via the app, as well.

The app also lets you keep a running list of favorite drinks, either your own or friends' -- particularly useful if you're going on a coffee run for a big group and can't memorize a dozen different orders. You can customize by type of drink, size, toppings, syrups and add-ins (milk type).

In addition, you can send a Starbucks gift card through the app to a friend -- just enter his or her contact information, the amount you'd like to spend and the payment type (default is through PayPal or you add your credit card).

The app also includes a store finder that lets you locate the nearest Starbucks, drinks' nutrition information and food offerings, photos of different coffee beans and info about career opportunities at the chain.

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