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3 Affordable Home Automation Gadgets

You wake up at 5:59 a.m. to the warm glow of sunlight in your bedroom. Peering out your window, you see the stars still out and the moon shining brightly.

“Alexa, set scene ‘Morning,’” you say. Within seconds, your house illuminates into soft shades of orange, blue, and white for an energizing ambience.

As the clock strikes 6, your home’s heat kicks on. You find your morning coffee waiting for you in the kitchen. You enjoy your breakfast and leave your house at 6:30.

Behind you, your lights and coffee maker power themselves off. Your home’s temperature is allowed to drop below 50° to save energy. Throughout the day, your lights turn on and off at seemingly random intervals to make your home appear occupied, deterring potential home invaders or sketchy neighbors.

That evening as you drive up your driveway, your garage and front room lights turn on to greet you. You walk inside your recently warmed house to find your TV already tuned to the evening news.

When you walk into your comfortably cool bedroom at 10:00, you command, like an officer in 1969’s Star Trek, your house lights to turn off by saying “Alexa, set ‘Bedtime.’” A single soft light in your bedroom slowly dims over the next hour. You now fall into a natural deep sleep.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a futuristic home like this? I sure think so.

And that’s why I’d like you to know something – for under $1,000 you can have your home transformed into a “home of the future.”

Let me walk you through the three devices that made this 20th century sci-fi-esque day possible.

How are you able to enjoy sunlight at 6:00 in the morning? This is thanks to Philips HUE lights.

These Wi-Fi enabled lights can be controlled using nearly any phone or smart hub. At your fingertips (or even just your voice), you’ll have timers, beautiful scenes, GPS capability, and 16,000,000 beautiful colors.

These lights are my personal favorite of available smart home devices. They’re relatively affordable at about $70 per bulb. These bulbs are installed in regular light sockets for ultimate ease of installation.

Who wouldn’t want their coffee made and TV turned on for them without even flipping a switch?

Belkin agrees and has graced us with their Belkin WeMo Mini for just this purpose (or anything else you can think of).

At just $30 each, the WeMo Mini is the cheapest and simplest way to modernize your home. All you have to do is plug your WeMo mini into a wall outlet and your coffee maker into the WeMo. Then set your desired on/off times via the WeMo app and… voilà! You’ve automated your first task.

You can do the same thing with nearly any other device, such as a TV, lamp, space heater, or even a toaster. And at just $30, why not?

In this perfect home, you may have noticed your home’s temperature smartly adjusting throughout the day. This is thanks to the Nest Learning Thermostat ($249).

It has tons of cool features, like voice control, detailed energy use reports, and smoke detection (with add-ons). You’ll save an average of 10-12% a year on your energy bill, thanks to its adaptive adjustments.

As you adjust your home’s temperature throughout the day, the Nest thermostat learns your habits and creates a schedule accordingly.

Technology is super exciting and can make your life so much easier. However, getting started isn’t always so easy.

Bonus: Amazon Echo ‘Alexa’
Talking to many of these devices is made possible through a Amazon Echo device. The least expensive in the Echo family, the Dot, is just $50 and allows you to speak commands to a large variety of home automation gadgets and listen to online music, podcasts and radio. Alexa can also tell you information, set timers and more. Google, Bose and Apple also make similar assistants.

Email me at if you have any questions, are interested in having us set up home automation for you, or just want to share your knowledge and experiences.