In today’s rapidly growing world of tech, new products continue to emerge, offering us ways to save. We recently caught up with tech expert and host of Spike TV’s All Access Weekly Katie Linendoll for her roundup of some of the most recent and best money-saving gadgets and technologies.
For about 10 bucks, this tiny water-saving device placed near the drain in your shower can be programmed to let you know when it’s a good time to turn off the faucet. The Waterpebble gradually shortens its suggested stop time, teaching you to use water more efficiently over time. The gadget pays for itself pretty quickly. On average, it can save a household around 10–12 liters of water per shower — so depending on the size of your family, about 30–40 liters of water per day. “It’s also not just the water savings that are important, but the gas and electricity savings, as the less water you use, the less energy you need to move the water, clean it and pump it around again,” says Linendoll.
The Nest Learning Thermostat
This device helps control your home’s climate without the added step of actually having to program it. Instead, this tiny device teaches itself after just one week of watching how you alter your heating and cooling. From there, it’s got what it needs to automatically adjust to lower your utility bill. You can even access Nest away from home and track your savings. This is the Porsche of thermostats, so it’s a relatively high upfront investment of around $300. “But remember, heating and cooling account for approximately 50% — or more than $1,000 per year — of the average household energy bill, and Nest has been proven to save up to 20%,” says Linendoll.
If you’re an avid video blogger or you like to upload family events online, skip hiring a pricey cameraman, just Swivl it! Just place your smartphone or flip cam in the Swivl cradle, wear the mini marker and your device will follow your every move. Great for videoconferencing, lectures or creating virtual tours. Models start at $129.
If you need to connect on the go, this phone add-on, Linendoll says, is worth every penny. “Adding a personal hotspot to your phone or a separate device costs about $20 to $40 a month, depending on your carrier, but it can pay for itself in just a few days. It might sound pricey, but Wi-Fi in a hotel room can cost around $15 a night.”
The Internet has also welcomed a number of new websites and applications that promise consumers great savings in 2012 and beyond. One of Linendoll’s favorite new destinations is: Houzz.
Houzz is a free app and website with over 250,000 high-quality photos submitted by over 40,000 professionals. It gives you ideas for every room in the house and keeps track of your favorites in a digital idea book. You figure design and architecture magazines can cost up to $5 off the shelf, and according to Houzz, homeowners buy about 10 magazines in the design or renovation process, so this app can save you at least $50 on magazines alone.