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Can a Smart Home Really Help you Save Money?

Can a Smart Home Really Help you Save Money?

Smart homes and smart technologies have become popular buzzwords over the past few years. From basic smart appliances, to fully-featured smart home solutions, many people are buying into the promise of reduced bills and an overall cool look for the house.

    Aggressive marketing techniques have seen the smart homes market grow into a multi million-dollar outfit; Statista puts the revenue figures at around US$927 million in the UK alone for 2016. In the United States, the industry is even bigger, at a massive US$48 billion in 2014, according to this infographic. Even with such crazy numbers, the industry shows no signs of slowing down, and is expected to grow to about US$3.7 billion in 2021.

    Globally, the rate of penetration for smart home technologies is expected to reach 38.7% by 2021, up from 2016’s 8.2%. Part of the reason why the industry is growing at such a high rate is the expectation by smart homeowners that they will accrue massive savings by using smart tech. So, how much should you expect to save with smart tech, if you do manage to squeeze something out of your annual expenses?

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    How Smart Tech Will Help You Cut Costs

      Smart tech often includes devices such as thermostats, refrigerators, air conditioners, and other home equipment that come with Wi-Fi capabilities. This setup allows you to control these smart devices remotely via an app on your smartphone, and even monitor usage to control consumption to possibly save costs.

      These aren’t cheap, though, with some going for hundreds or even thousands of dollars for complete smart systems. It will be years, however, before you can recoup the costs of acquiring such systems. For example, an investment of about US$5,000 will usually yield costs savings of about US$100 each year, which isn’t feasible for most people who are renting an apartment.

      With their high initial capital outlay, smart tech usually works well for landlords and homeowners who stand to gain cost benefits for the life of the tech. Many tenants will get smart devices for aesthetics and to reduce their impact on the environment, but rarely for significant cost savings. For homeowners and tenants who want to save every penny they can out of their monthly bills, it pays to plan ahead.

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      There are many ways you can save money by installing smart devices, and here are some of them.

      Smart Thermostats

      Heating and cooling take a huge chunk of monthly bills, with individuals spending up to half of the average household budget on them. Smart thermostats can adjust themselves in response to someone’s presence in the house, ensuring they are set to low or turned off when no one is around. Programmable thermostats can help you save up to 25% of the heating and cooling bill.

      Smart Lighting

      Lighting is only second to excessive heating when it comes denting the monthly bill. A smart lighting system can dim, turn off, or change the color of your bulbs for maximum energy savings. LED bulbs often cost more than regular bulbs, but can help you knock off at least US$35 per bulb annually.

      The water bill is another little-known area where individuals can save cash. This water utilization infographic by bathroom accessories company Big Bathroom Shop shows just how important water is for everyday life. Smart sprinklers automatically adjust the amount of water they let through according to the weather report, which can shave off up to 50% of the water bill.

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      Smart Power Outlets

      Standby power use is a significant contributor to energy wastage and unnecessary expenses, contributing to about 16% of the electricity bill. Smart power outlets enable you to monitor and restrict energy drain via the sockets, which can save you up to 16% of the electricity bill.

      There are hordes of other energy-saving devices that you can use for your home. Each will give you varying levels of energy and cost savings, so plan wisely before diving in.

      If you are a tenant, sometimes the right energy savings can be achieved by moving into a house that already has the proper energy-saving equipment and gadgets already installed. After all, moving into a smart home is much easier than assembling one.

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      Image Credit:

      Application money Via Pixabay, Man making a roof gesture on piggy bank Via Freepik

      Featured photo credit: hswstatic via s.hswstatic.com

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      Last Updated on May 21, 2019

      13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

      13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

      Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

      Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

      Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

      1. Stress Eating

      I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

      While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

      I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

      If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

      How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

      2. Nail Biting

      Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

      People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

      Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

      For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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      3. Hanging out with Naysayers

      We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

      Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

      Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

      4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

      Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

      While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

      Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

      Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

      5. Smoking

      Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

      In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

      Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

      Smoking risks

        6. Excessive Drinking

        All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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        According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

        • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
        • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
        • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
        • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
        • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

        If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

        If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

        7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

        Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

        If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

        A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

        “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

        And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

        While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

        Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

        Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

        8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

        There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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        In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

        Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

        Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

        9. Watching Too Much TV

        I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

        Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

        Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

        It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

        10. Being Late

        Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

        Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

        Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

        11. Being in Bad Relationships

        Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

        I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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        Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

        12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

        Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

        Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

        Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

        By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

        Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

        13. Focusing on the Negatives

        In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

        Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

        Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

        And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

        The Bottom Line

        So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

        Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

        Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

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