Smart House, a Disney Channel original film from 1999, was considerably ahead of its time. Not only was it much superior to what it deserved to be, but it foreshadowed a future in which we would depend on AI and technology to make our houses more livable.
I simply looked at where we’d been, where we were and anticipated where we were probably heading. Thankfully, today’s “smart house” isn’t one-of-a-kind, million-dollar purchase. Instead, it’s a collection of $10 to $200 smart home tech solutions that you can add to your house until you’re happy that it’s smart enough.
Let’s look at smart house solutions on a shoestring budget!
#1. Switch out your incandescent lights with LEDs.
Even after taking in the cost of the fancy LED lights, you’d be amazed how much money swapping out light bulbs may save you. In fact, replacing all your light bulbs with LEDs might help you set a budget for the rest of your smart home!
Choose the proper color spectrum of LED for each space. If you like warm lighting in your bedroom, search for bulbs with a color temperature of 2700K to 3000K. Something brighter and more colorful, such as 3500K or higher, maybe a better choice for the workplace.
#2. Add smart plugs to your power-hungry devices.
Did you realize that your laptop and television use power even when switched off? This is particularly true with chargers, which may continue to draw power from the wall even while they aren’t in use. This is referred to as “phantom load” or “vampire power” by electricians, and it goes without saying that it is a massive waste of money.
Smart plugs have grown immensely popular because of this. You can get a few smart plugs for approximately $10 each to cover your most power-hungry places (such as your workstation and TV), and they’ll rapidly pay for themselves in power savings.
#3. Use a robot vacuum to clean the home regularly.
I’ll start with the cost issue. Sure, a smart vacuum might cost upwards of $1,000, but you don’t have to spend even a quarter of that. A decent robot vacuum shouldn’t cost more than $200, and you can generally buy one for half that price on Facebook Marketplace or New Age Home.
Just think how much time and money a robot vacuum may save you, particularly if it eliminates just one common cleaning duty. It can also keep your dog entertained while you work from home!
#4. Outside, install motion-activated floodlights.
Install motion-sensitive floodlights outdoors for a low-cost smart home setup. While we’re on the subject of security, many people choose $300+ home security systems that include cameras, motion sensors, and everything but a trap door.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about these systems, and if you live in an area where thefts and break-ins are on the rise, they might be well worth the money – mainly if they help you save money on renter’s insurance while also providing peace of mind. If you’re on a budget, though, nothing beats a good old $40 motion-sensing floodlight.
#5. Setup smart speakers across the home.
What could be Smarter House than an AI helper in each room? Because of the heated competition between Google and Amazon, the costs of their sophisticated, all-in-one smart home gadgets continue to fall. A 4th-Gen Echo Dot or Google Nest costs only $49, and since they’re so popular as presents, there are lots of them on the resale market for around $30.
Two or three smart speakers are usually sufficient to “fill” a space (bedroom, living room, kitchen). These devices can play Spotify, provide weather alerts, assist with recipes, and even play trivia with you. Nests and Echo Dots may not save money like other smart home tech solutions, but they are convenient and unquestionably cool.