So you want a smart home, but you’re not really sure it will fit within your budget. Is it really “smart” to make the upgrades and add in smart elements when they’re budget-busters? Of course not, but many smart home upgrades are actually very friendly to your bank account as well as to the environment. Start by prioritizing what smart elements will most benefit you, your home, and your budget. Keep in mind that you don’t need to make the transition at once, either. Slowly swapping out home features is a financially easy way to smarten your home. Many homeowners begin tackling their biggest energy and money sucks first, while others are all about the free or very low-cost smart upgrades.
Not sure where to begin? Check out these fast, easy, green, and budget-friendly approaches:
Free/Low Cost App Options
There are many free and very affordable apps to help you green up your home. Spend a little time perusing your app store (they may vary based on whether you’re an Apple or Android user), and always check third-party reviews. Some of the most popular options in 2017 include GoodGuide (free on iTunes), which lets you scan any item’s bar code for instant feedback on its green quotient; Green Outlet ($2.99 on iTunes), to calculate your energy bill and usage based on appliance usage; and Virtual Water ($1.99 on iTunes), to calculate how much water is required for items in your home.
Smart Thermostats Like Nest
Nest is one of the most well-known smart thermostats, but there are other quality options available, too. By far, heating and cooling is one of the biggest energy uses within a home. Reasonably priced smart homes with thermostats “learn” your heating/cooling patterns to avoid extreme swings. Synced to your mobile device, you can also adjust temperatures when you’re away.
How can a doorbell be “smart?” They double as security devices. Some are equipped with cameras and speakers so you can see who is at the door, talk to them, and help monitor your front door from your mobile device. In some cases, smart doorbells have thwarted package theft and even break-ins. You can often sync them to your other security devices, or they can operate as a one-man show to smarten up your home.
Non-Fixed Smart Options
Not all smart home devices are “fixed” like thermostats and doorbells. There are a variety of smart devices reasonably priced and suitable for your specific needs. For example, the Daisy helps you water your plants in a healthier, more eco-friendly fashion. There’s even a smart hairbrush to help gauge the quality of your hair and how your treatments are impacting its health.
Smart Garage Integration
Oftentimes, “smart garages” are part of an overall security system. Contemporary garage doors are already pretty smart, equipped with motion detectors for safety. Give them an upgrade by syncing smart garage door openers to your mobile device so you can raise and lower garage doors from anywhere, check to make sure you closed the garage door when you left the house, and be alerted if there’s motion or movement of your garage doors. Most Americans use their garage as their primary point of entry instead of any other door, and it’s a hot entry point for criminals, too. Garage doors take up a large amount of real estate, so ensuring they’re smart is a no brainer.
The safety of you, your loved ones, and your property is paramount. Investing in an alarm system is one of the best purchases you can make, so why not make it a smart one? In addition to top of the line security, ensure that your system is synced to mobile devices so you can control the system from anywhere and be instantly alerted if there’s a potential problem.
Now that smart devices are becoming more mainstream, there are truly options for every budget and need. Although the most expensive home in Britain’s history sold in 2015 largely because of the cutting edge smart features, don’t let that headline scare you away from smart products. With a little research, you’ll be able to find the perfect devices for you and your home.
About the Author: Originally from Pittsburgh, Trevor McDonald now lives in sunny San Diego and works as a freelance writer. In his free time, you can find him enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.