Not only do they save time in the obvious sense, they also spare stress and frustration that could’ve been regarded as unavoidable. The impending yearly car test, why do you need to remember when that is? The house insurance you need to renew, the phone call you promised to make for a friend, your mobile plan expiring soon, the meeting you just agreed to. You think you don’t spend time thinking about these little, mundane bits, but they are there, accumulating brain-cruft at the back of your head, not letting you achieve a “mind like water.”
This is why I’m perfectly happy giving my money to developers, something that I use every day is worth far more to me in the long term.
Take OmniFocus for example, it’s my task management app (it basically keeps track of my life for me). If I purchased the Mac and iOS apps today and paid for Pro it would cost me US$139.97, however I use these apps every day, so over a year I’m paying less than US$0.39 a day.
OmniFocus remembering everything for me is worth way more that 39 cents.
Shibel also mentions Overcast, which I also use. Overcast as of now has saved me 79 hours of listening time! I can’t even imagine how many more podcasts I’ve listened to in those 79 hours.
So please next time you look and an app and think, “$4 is way too much!” Take a moment, and think of the time it will save you and how long you’ll be using it for.