Each year we are spending more on gadgets as upgrades are constantly being made, new technology is discovered and our old devices that were our pride and joy are rendered obsolete. It’s a situation that is almost impossible to avoid, but not all electronic purchases need to be risky investments. In fact, here are eight that are quite the opposite:
A Smart Thermostat
At first glance $250 might seem a little steep for a thermostat, but Nest, a Google-owned company and maker of this particular model, claim that you will recoup that amount in approximately two years simply with the savings on your energy bill. The Nest Learning Thermostat can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet, as well as with a voice control that is sold separately. This unit is able to learn the temperatures you enjoy most and programs itself to adjust to them accordingly in about a week, as well as automatically lower the temperature when nobody is at home, something we’ve all forgotten to do but adds up when the bill eventually comes.
Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation from amazon.com
A VoIP Phone Service
Most people are content with just their smartphones, but there are many who feel a little more secure with a home phone too, still considering it somewhat of a necessity. By switching to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service you can cut the costs of a landline and the Ooma Telo is a great starting point. The device attaches to your home phone and costs $89 plus a one-off fee of $40 to transfer your current phone number across, although a new number can be provided for free. That’s essentially all you’ll spend on your home phone again besides taxes and some minor fees. There is a cap of 5000 minutes call time, however, that is equal to three-and-a-half days, more than enough for most people, and the quality of VoIP calls is generally clearer.
Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service from amazon.com
An Unlocked Smartphone
VoIP might not be necessary for everyone, but we all need to be contactable somehow. Paying for your smartphone monthly through a contract with your carrier can be expensive and buying one outright is even worse, unless you use AT&T or T-Mobile, because then you can get the BLU Vivo XL smartphone for only $150, $500 cheaper than the most basic iPhone 7. So what do you get for spending the equivalent of dinner and drinks? A 5.5″ display powered by a 64-Bit 1.3GHz processor, 16GB internal memory, 2GB RAM and Micro SD up to 64GB. Furthermore, the camera is pretty decent as well, with a13MP main camera and 5MP front camera. Great for the price and perfect if you have a child after their first phone.
BLU Vivo XL Smartphone from amazon.com
LED Light Bulbs
The average amount of time a standard light bulb will last is usually somewhere between 1,000-2,500 hours, making them an annoying yet necessary purchase. Not only do we need them to be able to see at home at night, but the place just doesn’t look quite right if one or two of them have blown, either. That’s where LED light bulbs come into the equation, with an average lifespan of 20,000 hours, you’ll be changing them a lot less often. At $3 per bulb when purchased in a 6-pack they may cost a little more than standard bulbs, but the price has dropped in recent years and they already worked out cheaper than continually changing your old ones.
TCP 60 Watt Equivalent 6-pack from amazon.com
Buying a Cable Modem
Much like paying off your a smartphone as a part of your carrier’s contract, renting a cable modem is a waste of money when you can buy a cheaper one outright. Comcast for example are currently charging $10 per month for modem rental, yet you can purchase your own modem such as the ARRIS SURFboard for as little as $67. You’ll still need a cable internet service and wifi router, but this modem is compatible with most US providers, except Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-verse and it will knock a little bit off the bill each month, covering its own cost in less than a year.
ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem from amazon.com
An Energy Conserving Outlet
One factor that adds to your electric bill each month is forgetting to turn off appliances, not to mention it is also extremely unsafe, but this cheap little device can help you save money and potentially even lives. For a little over $12 you can buy an auto-shut off safety outlet which plugs directly into your wall socket. With a simple push of a button you can program it turn off your appliances, handy if you’re the type to fall asleep in front of the TV or with the radio on. One downside is that it only has a power rating of 1000 watts, so it can’t be used with powerful devices such as space heaters.
Simple Touch C30004 Auto Shut-Off Safety Outlet from amazon.com
Although a lot of electronics have transitioned over to inbuilt lithium batteries that we simply plug into a charger, there are still many that require replaceable batteries. Like replacing light bulbs, batteries are an inconvenient expense that we can easily save on over time, on this occasion opting for rechargeable batteries and a charger. Eneloop rechargeable batteries, made by Panasonic, are $14 for a pack of four, can be charged up to 2,100 times and still maintain 70% of their charge after 10 years when not in use. Couple some of those with a $10 charger and you won’t need to buy batteries again any time soon.
Panasonic BK-3MCCA4BA Eneloop AA Rechargeable Batteries (Pack 4) and EBL 8 Bay AA, AAA, Ni-MH, Ni-Cd Battery Charger from amazon.com
An HD Antenna
If you want to watch major network productions but don’t want to pay for a cable subscription, then this might just be what you’re looking for. The Monoprice HDTV antenna doesn’t get anywhere near as many channels as you would with cable, but it’s still impressive for $19. This antenna has a radius of up to 35 miles, however, one downfall is that it is omnidirectional, meaning you need to point it at the device you are using it on. Still, it’s perfect if you want to watch high-rating shows and special events, or if you spend a lot of time traveling around the country and don’t want a cable contract.
Monoprice Large Paper Thin HDTV Antenna from amazon.com