You’ve no doubt been party to the “smart” tech craze. At the very least, you probably have a smartphone (who doesn’t these days?). But you may also be one of many consumers that has a smart car (not just the tiny 2-door, compact that bears the name, but one of many cars that comes with greater fuel efficiency and myriad technological innovations to keep you safely connected while you drive).
But it doesn’t end there; you can now live in a smart home that allows you to control security, lights, electronics, and even the temperature of your house from your home computer or a remote device (laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc.).
However, some of the gadgets meant to take your home into the 21st century can do severe damage to your wallet. So if you want to get in on the home technology craze, but you haven’t got a lot to spend, here are a few ways to make your house a bit more high-tech on a budget.
Let’s start with communication. Sure, you probably have a cell phone, a computer, and internet access, and these are the right place for most people to start, but even they can be a bit pricy. And when you begin to look into laptops, tablets, and more, your head might be spinning with the price tag. But there are ways to stay connected to the vast interwebs without the additional expense. The first step is to find hardware for less.
When it comes to computers, Dell is the place to go simply because they offer the most options for customization. You don’t want to pay for tons of stuff you don’t need, and Dell lets you order exactly what you need at a price you can afford. Of course, refurbished equipment isn’t a bad idea either if you would like a system that’s a bit beefier at less cost.
As for tablets, forego the uber-expensive iPad and opt instead for the new Kindle Fire. It can’t do everything the competition can. Still, with video capabilities and Wi-Fi, all you need is a wireless hub in your home to get similar usage out of it (and at $199 it beats out the iPad 2, which starts at about $500).
Next, you’ll want to consider services, and here, too, you can save. Think about bundling your phone, internet, and cable with a service that offers a reduced price for all three (or even get rid of your landline…does anybody besides telemarketers also call your house anymore?).
Keep communications costs down
And keep your communications costs down with one of the many free VoIP services available on the web (using Wi-Fi with your mobile phone means you can reduce the minutes on your plan). You can even video chat for free with Skype (for your computer, and now a smartphone app). The point is, quality tech and services are at your fingertips for a lot less and in the comfort of your own home.
— Scott Koehler (@koehlerdesigns) February 17, 2018
Even data storage is a cinch these days. It’s not like you need a colocation data center to store your files and equipment, or even bulky external hard drives clustered around your computer console. Thanks to cloud storage, you can now keep all of your media and files safely online and share it amongst your many devices throughout the home.
And by the way, if you do want to control the temperature, lights, and security in your home (without the high cost of running fiber-optic cable), contract with a security company (like Vivint or ADT) that offers wireless solutions and apps to help you run your home security. Read our article on smart home design tips.