Creating a fully connected smart home can be expensive. However, the smart home of today offers a very different experience compared to those of even five years ago, making it easier and more cost-effective than ever to get started.

New smart tech systems are designed to be modular, plus they also use cloud technology, which makes each device less expensive. Being able to buy your very first piece of smart- home technology and add on to it is a key part of the new smart home paradigm.

Systems like the Philips Hue smart light bulbs, Nest’s smoke alarm or Ecobee thermostats are all equipped to let you start with one unit and build out your system, adding new pieces when you want to expand, connecting to your home network so each device communicates with one another. For example, you can create “scenes” that do several things at once: dim your lights while playing music or turn off lights and music to watch a movie.

Each piece of the smart-home puzzle is less expensive than it was even a few years ago. Instead of having to purchase and maintain an expensive home-automation processor, smart-home tech uses your Internet connection and smart software to offload the job of controlling your devices to centralized servers. It’s a cost-effective way to give you the control you want, while keeping costs low.

Make the Switch

The next time you’re doing laundry, be sure to toss a clean, dry towel in the dryer. A dry towel added to your dryer load can significantly reduce drying times.  (Set your dryer for a shorter cycle or check back to see if items are already dry.) If you’re doing seven loads a week this could save you $27 a year.