A fully-functioning smart home may seem out of reach, budget-wise, but with some careful planning, it’s completely possible to create a smart home on a budget that has many of the capabilities of a big-spend project – but on a simpler scale.
Use the guide below to figure out the devices to prioritize on your smart shopping list – and you’ll also find tips to future-proof your new smart home even on the tightest of budgets.
Fit a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is a good place to start when creating your smart home. As well as being affordable, you’re likely to start quickly recouping your investment. These devices typically save householders a significant amount on their energy bills by allowing users to see potential wastage and take action.
For example, some smart thermostats will alert you if you’ve inadvertently left the heating on when you’re out of the house so you can turn it off remotely.
Many smart thermostats incorporate automatic frost protection, guarding pipes against the risk of freezing when the temperatures plummet and thereby saving homeowners from a hefty repair bill.
Instal a Smart Home Hub
A smart hub acts as mission control for all the smart devices in your house. And being on a tight budget doesn’t render this piece of kit out of reach: you can pick up a basic smart home hub for as little as $65.
A hub will allow you to connect and access all your smart home devices from one place using voice controls or via a touchscreen. Many hubs can be set so that you simply need to say, for example, ‘bedtime,’ and your smart plugs will automatically turn off the TV, and the lights will be dimmed or turned off.
Get the Right Smart Security in Place
Smart security systems are highly effective means of protecting your home and may well cost less than you think. If you’re on a budget, then consider a holistic system that provides as much bang for your buck as possible. The Guardian security system, for example, offers customized smart security solutions, so you get the cover you need – and aren’t paying for the things you don’t.
You may wish to look for options that include 24/7 monitoring, feature an easy-to-use interface that can be easily accessed remotely on all the devices you use, and high-definition security cameras with night vision for peace of mind.
Smart Plugs Are Your Friend
If you don’t have the funds to replace all your standard appliances with smart versions, then smart plugs are the answer. Simply switch out the regular plugs on your non-smart microwave, washing machine, tumble drier, and toaster for smart plugs to further add to your smart home’s arsenal. Even better, you can pick up a set of four for as little as $24.99.
Smart light switches can also be deployed to turn standard light fixtures into smart versions and, again, make for a highly cost-effective means of smartifying your home.
Watch Out for Deals
When planning your smart home, make a list of the items you need, and keep a close eye out for online retailers’ price drops, especially around Black Friday, Prime Day, and other sale periods. Be wary, however, of getting sucked into splashing out for bundles that may seem like a bargain but aren’t right for you.
For example, some bundles may require you to pay a monthly subscription and be tied into a contract for a set period of time, which will need factoring into your budget.
The best way to avoid this is to be really clear on what you need before hitting the stores and your maximum spend amount. The right deal could save you hundreds of dollars and help you achieve the affordable smart home you want.
Looking to the Future
If you’re creating a smart home from scratch, then thinking about your future needs is a key way to save money going forward. To this end, always install cables in a manner that allows you to be flexible if you want to add to your smart home at a later date. Wiring all cables back to a central hub is likely to be the best idea.
Keep expansion in mind when installing your smart home infrastructure. This means that if you’d like, for example, additional audio-visual smart equipment but can’t afford it at this point, put a cable in place ready for these elements and mark where it is so when the time comes, you’re ready to go.