Join the Smart Home Movement: Get Started With These Affordable Products

A woman uses a digital tablet in a smart home.
DragonImages/Getty Images

We’ve all seen how we can run our home’s systems from our phones, remotely talk to delivery people through a doorbell, and order pizza from a virtual assistant. These features are amazing. But on top of all that, smart technology can save you money each month — learn more about saving big in the smart lock section below.

You might live in a small one-bedroom apartment in a city like Denver where rent prices are on the rise; you may be trying to save every penny after mortgage rejection so you can purchase your first home.

Either way — no matter your budget — you can still enter the smart-tech market and create a much more convenient lifestyle at home — and for a reasonable investment.

Here are some high-value smart-home technology options for those of us renting or living in a starter home on a tight budget.

D-Link Wireless Smart Plug

A box for the D-Link wi-fi smartplug
Courtesy of D-Link

For around $39 you can turn any receptacle into a smart plug, which you can use to remotely control any device that’s plugged into it. It’s limited to turning on and turning off. You can use this wi-fi smart plug for your computer, washer, dryer, and we’re sure you could think of many more ways. A built-in thermal protection program senses if something plugged into the device is overheating. Not bad for under 40 bucks and could save you from a meltdown — and buying a new computer.

This is ideal if you’re someone who despises coming home late at night to an eerie, dark apartment. Just open the app on your smartphone, click a button and you’ll be in control of the lighting at your apartment. Flick the lights on while riding in an Uber and to give yourself total peace of mind.

Wink Connected Home Hub

The Wink Hub can connect varied home systems, from thermostats to lighting to even garage doors. Controlling the thermostat and lights while you’re away can rack up the savings on your electric bill each month.

It sells for $30, so it’s a great way to start your smart-home experience. The company says, “The Wink Hub allows your diverse collection of smart products to speak the same wireless language, so that you can easily control them — and customize their interactions — from the Wink app.”

Full control over your devices is key. If you’re going out of your way to enhance your apartment with smart technology, then you want it to work. During set-up of this device, make sure you input all of your smart-tech features, including smart bulbs, smart outlets, plugs, light switches and others. Then open the app, log in to your account and start controlling all of your products from a single place. Simple, quick and efficient.Elgato Eve

Remember the OnStar commercial where the dude remotely locked the car as he assured his wife that he had already done so, but had left his apartment windows open? OnStar wasn’t going to help him there, but Elegato Eve can help ensure that everything is secure before you leave for vacation. This $110 beauty can monitor whether your apartment windows are open or closed.

And while on vacation, you’ll be able to easily monitor the temperature, air quality and security of your apartment with just the click of a few buttons.

Smart Locks

A Lockitron Bolt smart lock.
Courtesy of Lockitron

Smart locks like the Lockitron Bolt ($99) make perfect sense. It’s likely that you lock your door every single day of your life, right? This makes you a prime candidate for a deadbolt upgrade. If you go the smart route, you’ll be able to lock your door from a remote location using your smartphone.

Many of these smart locks are simple to install and after you get it up and running, you’ll have immediate remote access to your apartment. The best part? You can even let your friends and family into your place while you’re out of town.

Most smart locks also come with a code number to enter the property. So instead of fumbling around in your pocket for keys, simply enter an access code to unlock your doors. You can pair smart deadbolt locks with smartphones via Bluetooth. Some versions allow you to program them for single or multiple keys and to match with existing locks.

When it comes to money-saving — something we’re all interested in — a smart lock can be a huge benefit. Did you know that a locksmith costs about $150 to hire for a single job? If you lock yourself out of your apartment once, you’ve already paid wasted more money than what the smart lock would cost you to begin with. It’s time to get smart with your locks.

It’s Just Smart

Face it, the world is going smart. It would be well worth your time to save some dollars to eventually pair all of your home’s systems with your mobile device. Sure, there’s always going to be that guy with the giant key ring, but even he quit using his pager years ago.

Overall, we know you’ve heard about smart home technology. You might not feel smart-home technology is important for you yet. Maybe it seems too complicated, or a hassle you don’t want to deal with. But it’s in your interest to check out a few beginner options.

You’ll likely find that they simplify your life at home and provide peace of mind for everyone in your household.

Katie Mohr is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO Apartments, an online apartment marketplace. While leading the content team at ABODO, Katie oversees ideation and production of real estate and financial industry research reports and interactive content. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just four years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.