If you’re like many people, you’re a little bit addicted to gadgets. Ok. I’m a lot addicted to gadgets. But… there is nothing wrong with that! Yes, it can also be a mightily expensive pastime. There are gadgets for everything, from taking aerial photos to folding your socks.
While most gadgets are just cool to have, and fun to play with… do any of them actually help you save in the long term? Probably not. Most of the gadgets you have today will be gone by next year, only to be replaced by the newer, shinier model.
Not all gadgets are that way though. There are some household gadgets and personal gadgets that can actually save your money. Here, we’re going to look at some of the gadgets that accomplish this. Some of the are tech, some are not.
Filtered Water Bottle
A lot of people buy bottled water because they don’t like the taste of water straight out of the tap. Also, not all tap water is created equal. It can be include lead and other chemicals that change the taste of the water. Water bottles are also great for travel. But dropping $1 on water several times a day, or lugging 24-packs of water home a few times a week can add up over the course of a year. The solution is to buy a filtered water bottle. You can fill up these water bottles from any tap, and the internal filter will filter out the impurities. A really good, filtered water bottle might cost you around $40. Replacement filters will cost around $30. Rather than spending approximately $300 a year on bottled water, you slash your costs by over $230.
If you’ve got kids, you’ll know that with a house full of gadgets and toys, they go through a lot of batteries. If you are lucky, some of those gadgets will be rechargeable, but not all are. And a four-pack of Duracell batteries can cost as much as $10. Yes, some batteries are expensive. And if you don’t get the good batteries, then they don’t last very long.
Rechargeable batteries with an accompanying universal battery charger, on the other hand, are cheap and compatible with most standard batteries used in toys. A typical battery charger costs around $18. That means that it pays for itself after just three or four charges, depending on the battery type.
The future is here! We have heard of 3D printers already. They uses are spreading, and some models are now more affordable and therefore accessible to households. How often does stuff break in your home? Often, if you’re like most people. We end paying huge repair bills, or replacing appliances because of one part that may need replacing. With a 3D printer, something breaking no longer means a death sentence. Printers can print out the precise part that is broken, without have to go to the manufacturer. Then the part can be replaced, and the item restored to full working condition. How cool would that be?
But the money-saving potential of 3D printers doesn’t end there. 3d printing stories by Zortrax talk about how 3D printing is being used to reduce the cost of fashion. You will be able to print your own shoes, for instance. And in the future, as 3D printers get better, you’ll be able to print out your own fashion items too. What’s more, it’ll all be achievable for the cost of the raw materials.
LED Light Bulbs
I am a huge fan of LED light bulbs. They have been around for a while, but it’s only recently that they’ve hit the mainstream. They’re different from regular bulbs. Instead of using a filament to produce light, they use a semiconductor. The filaments in regular light bulbs decay over time, causing them to weaken and eventually break, which causes the bulb to blow. But the semiconductor material in LEDs doesn’t weaken over time. Most experts put the lifetime of LED bulbs up at around 30 times the life of regular incandescent bulbs. That means that you can expect serious savings in the long term.
Let’s suppose that you buy a LED light bulb for $12 to fit in your lamp. That bulb will last around 30,000 hours and probably more. An incandescent bulb costing $4 lasts around 1,000. That means that you break even after about 3,000 hours of use, or around three years. And LED bulbs are more energy efficient, so you save money on your electric bill.
Energy Efficient Shower Head
Energy efficient, or low flow shower heads are a remarkably simple idea that solve a very big problem: water and heating bills. Regular showers heat the water up by passing it close to heated elements in the shower unit. These heating elements have to warm the water almost instantly so that it comes out warm. Efficient shower heads alter the amount of water that can flow through the shower head. This has two effects. The first is that it reduces the total amount of water that flows through your shower each year by around 15,000 gallons. The second is that it reduces the amount of energy you need for heating. Less water, less heating. The price of a efficient shower heads retail for as low as $16. At that price, you’ll break even in very little time, then start to save money on your energy bill.
When it comes to saving money in your home, the programmable thermostat is probably one of the first things to come to mind. I had one in my old home, but I left it there for the new owners since it was part of the Z-wave system installed there with the alarm system. Not sure what a Z-wave system is? More on that later. Once we move into our new home I will be on the hunt for a new system and a new programmable thermostat. There are many popular units out there that can be programmed from your smartphone. One of the more popular ones is the Nest, which I will definitely be looking into. A programmable thermostat allows you to easily set times that you will not be home, or when you are on vacation to a lower temperature, which saves energy.
What steps have you taken to save money and energy in your home?