Our homes are packed with countless gizmos and gadgets, and while many offer convenience, some can also help us save money along the way. I recently interviewed technology expert Katie Linendoll for her list of the best modern-day household gadgets and devices that can help reduce our bills and expenses.
Here's her high-tech list of gadgets to help you save:
Ever continue to leave your cell phone or laptop plugged into an electrical outlet after it's been fully charged or even if it's turned off? You may not realize it, but you're still consuming energy and over time it can really add up on your utility bill. To save Linendoll recommends The Belkin Conserve Socket, which retails for about $10 and has a built-in timer that helps automatically power down devices after an increment of time of your choosing: 30 minutes, 3 hours or 6 hours. Plus, the device reduces fire hazards around the house, which is great for peace of mind.
Energy-Saving Power Strip
Our entertainment systems consume a ton of energy. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates households spend roughly $100 per year powering devices while they're in a low power setting. Linendoll suggests investing in a device like the Belkin Conserve Smart Energy Saving Power Strip. It controls up to six audio-visual devices at once, and includes a master outlet which detects when your television is off and uses that information to power down the other 5 peripheral devices you'd likely be using with your TV, such as your gaming console or DVD player. The power strip's last two outlets help continuously power devices that always need to be on like your cable/satellite box or DVR. This product retails for around $27 but the EPA estimates that a smart" strip can reduce your monthly energy bill and pay for itself in just a few months.
LED-Backlit LCD Television
These types of LCD televisions use a different kind of lighting technology with enhanced coloring and better contrast, as well as a thinner panel module, which altogether reduce the TV's energy consumption, says Linendoll. LED TVs, like Panasonic's line of EnergyStar Qualified LED flat screen televisions can lower your power uage by 20% to 30%. Samsung also boasts that its LED TVs use 40% less energy than conventional LCD TVs.
Low Flow Shower Head
Typically water flows at about 2.5 gallons per minute, but by installing a water efficient showerhead, water flows at around 1.5 gallons per minute. The Delta Water Efficient Showerhead, is one example of a low flow shower head. It retails for around $50, but Linendoll estimates this upgrade can save families up to $200 a year on their water bill. And you can still enjoy relaxing showers with this energy-saving gadget. There's a chip inside this model that controls the size and heat of the drops to give you the sensation of a luxury shower," says Linendoll.
Home Soda Machine
The average family spends about $1,000 per year on soda, says Linendoll, but with a gadget like SodaStream, you can make your own carbonated beverages at home for just 25 cents per liter. The device can save up to $700 every single year for a family of four.
Water Filtration System
The Filtrete Water Station is a new device on the market that takes tap water and filters it into four reusable 16 oz. water bottles. The bottles are BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and have a leak-proof cap. It retails for around $35 to $40, but with regular use, it can save up to 3,000 bottles of water per year.
Single Cup Coffee Maker
Of course, the best way to save on your daily coffee purchase is to brew your own pot at home, but if you're really into gourmet flavors and various types of brews, consider a single cup coffee maker like one from the Keurig line of brewers. The basic brewing systems start at around $100, but if you replace your $4 per day latte fix with Keurig's 70-cent per cup brew, you can make up the cost in about a month. From then on, you can expect to save $100 a month on coffee.