Smarthome products aren’t cheap, and completely outfitting your house with these devices can be an expensive endeavor. However, here are some things you can keep in mind if you’re looking to save some cash when you go to upgrade to a smart thermostat, smart lights, and more.
Check for Utility Company Rebates on Smart Thermostats
As a way to get households to cut down on energy usage, many utility companies offer rebates that allow you to purchase various products at a nice discount, including smart thermostats.
Nest even has a dedicated web page that allows you to search for Nest Thermostat discounts that might be available to you.
For instance, Indiana Michigan Power customers in my region can buy up to two Nest Thermostats for $70 off each. Granted, it will need to replace a non-programmable thermostat and be installed before December 14, 2016, but it’s a pretty sweet deal.
You can also usually take advantage of other sign-up bonuses from other companies. In my area, ADT offers a free Nest Thermostat if you sign up for a security system.
Buy First Generation Products (If You Don’t Need the New Features)
Sometimes, first-generation products are only a small step down from their newer versions. And in some cases, you may not even need the new features.
For example: Philips’ flagship third-generation starter kit with colored bulbs is priced at $199. But the 2nd generation kit is only $169, the main downside being that its colors aren’t quite as accurate. If that isn’t a huge deal to you, the second gen is probably fine.
Furthermore, you can sometimes find the first-generation Hue Bridge at a significant discount–either used, or from a store that’s still getting rid of their stock. The only feature its missing is HomeKit and Siri integration. So if you’re an Android or Amazon Echo user, you’ll hardly notice a difference. And new bulbs still work with the old bridge.
The same is true for the Nest, the Chromecast, and plenty of other smarthome products. Whenever you’re gawking at the price of a smarthome product, see if the previous generation will do the trick–chances are, it’ll still work well, with only one or two features missing. Sometimes, they’re worth giving up, and sometimes they aren’t.
Buy the Cheaper Smart Bulbs Instead of the Color Bulbs
On a similar note, remember that the most publicized product isn’t necessarily the one you want. Again, the Philips Hue brand is best known for its color-changing bulbs, but at $50 per bulb, they’re not exactly the most affordable smart bulbs available. Many people forget that there are much cheaper options.
While they’re not color-changing bulbs, Philips sells a Hue White & Ambiance bulb for $30 that lets you change the color temperature from a soft white to a daylight temperature. You can even get just a regular Hue White bulb for $15 that acts as a simple soft white light bulb that can still be controlled from your smartphone. That’s a great price considering even some non-smart LED bulbs cost that much–and who needs every color in their lights anyway?
Look for Recurring Sales
I’m always surprised at how often smarthome products go on sale. Usually you’ll see the Nest Thermostat discounted a couple of times throughout the year, and SmartThings puts 20% off everything they sell at least a few times per year as well (I’ve seen several SmartThings sales during the summer alone).
The Amazon Echo was also discounted earlier this summer during Amazon’s Prime Day, and you can usually find a store or two that have Philips Hue starter kits on sale, although you’ll have to be quick because those deals don’t last long.
If you have the patience and can wait to buy a smart thermostat or other smarthome product, you can usually find a discount on something you want. Set up an alert on Slickdeals and you’ll be alerted as soon as a lower price is available.
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