Nine green apps that can save you cash

Want to help the Earth and your budget at the same time? These money-saving, eco-minded apps are built to do both.

There's no doubt that businesses need to become more environmentally aware in their everyday decision-making if the planet is to have a sustainable future. What's equally compelling about many eco-minded strategies and solutions, however, is that they can also save you money.

And guess what? There's an app for that--many, actually. Not only are there myriad mobile apps designed to help individual and business users become more green, but several of them can help users save more "green" of the other kind, as well.

Ready to become greener in both ways? Then check out a few of these money-saving, eco-minded apps.

1. ACTPrinter

Many of us--businesses included--whip through an inordinate amount of paper and toner printing things like boarding passes, directions and documents simply so that we can have them easily accessible while on the go. With Houdah Software's ACTPrinter, however, you can say goodbye to all that.

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, the app essentially lets you "print" from your Mac or PC right to your mobile device so you can take documents with you. The app is priced at $1.99 on iTunes; accompanying software for your Mac or Windows PC is free. Hopefully an Android version is coming soon.

2. GreenCard

Along similar lines, why spend money on business cards that just get lost in the shuffle when you could use a digital alternative? That's just what Haploid's GreenCard is for. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch (2nd generation), iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad, the free app lets you create a business card on your mobile device and then share it directly with your contacts. The app is sold on iTunes, but I'm hoping Android is in Haploid's plans for the not-too-distant future.

3. Green Mileage

For those of us on the Android side of the fence, the free Green Mileage app is on hand to help us track our mileage as we go about the driving part of our daily business. Knowing your current habits, after all, is a critical first step on the way to cutting back and saving.

4. Fuel Saver

Aiming to help users drive more efficiently, meanwhile, Fuel Saver is a fuel-efficiency app that alerts you when you're driving too fast, accelerating too quickly or breaking too suddenly. The iPhone app is free. Users, meanwhile, report reductions in fuel usage of up to 16%, its makers say, translating into hundreds of dollars per year.

5. Avego

For further savings while on the road there's also Avego, a free ride-sharing app for iPhone and iPad. Basically, you can use the app to offer vacant seats in your car to others for the daily commute, say, and then receive money from them to help offset the cost of your trip. The goal: Fewer cars on the road, fewer emissions, and savings for users.

6 and 7. Green Charging and Eco Charger

We're all familiar with the necessity of charging our mobile phones regularly; what many don't know, however, is that leaving your phone plugged in once it's charged wastes energy--and money.

There are actually two apps to address this problem. For 99 cents on iTunes, the Green Charging app from Impetus Technologies, for example, will notify you with both sound effects and vibration when your phone is charged so you can unplug it right away. Also provided by the app are data such as battery status and talk time remaining.

On the Android side, meanwhile, there's the like-minded and free Eco Charger app. Either way, it's time to stop wasting all that energy and money just charging your phones.

8. MeterReadSimply monitoring your energy use can help you save between 10% and 20% on your electric bill, according to Zerogate, whose MeterRead iPhone and iPad app is designed to help with just that. Priced at 99 cents, MeterRead gives you feedback on your energy use with each reading. Not only does it display the total kilowatt hours used since the last reading, but it will predictively calculate your total usage for the next 30 days.

9. Go Green

Though it takes a more generalized approach than many of the above apps, Go Green for Android offers a really nice guide to embracing green strategies, and many of them do pay off in savings as well. Priced at $2.99, it can pay for itself in a very short time through the savings you can achieve.

Bottom line? There are countless ways you can help the Earth. With these mobile apps, you can help your business at the same time.

This story, "Nine green apps that can save you cash" was originally published by PCWorld.

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