When my husband and I first bought our home, we knew we had our work cut out for us. While it was by no means a fixer-upper, we still wanted to put our touches on the place to make it feel like ours. One project at a time over the course of the past few years has been the right move for us, and amidst those projects have been the additions of a few devices that make our lives just a bit easier.
As someone whose job relies pretty heavily on knowing where and when to shop for the best deals, I was careful to keep my eye on price drops. As soon as my beloved Echo Show dipped below a number I was happy with, I grabbed it. Once Prime Day 2021 came around, I scooped up a few extra smart plugs. Here is a list of every smart device I bought on sale - all for under $200 total.
This was the first "smart home" device I ever bought, and I could not be more happy with it. I picked up a Fire TV Stick during Prime Day four or five years ago in order to transform my standard television into a smart one, and it's been going strong ever since.
I was gifted my first Echo Dot for Christmas years ago (it's now woefully out of date, but it's still kicking!), and I fell in love with the ease and convenience of a smart speaker. When we bought our home, I knew I wanted a version with a visual display for our kitchen. This compact Echo Schow doesn't take up too much counter space while still allowing me to ask Alexa to show me recipes as I'm throwing dinner together.
I grabbed my first smart plug during Cyber Week knowing I wanted to use it for my Christmas tree lights, and holy moly, am I glad I did. I am so much happier saying "Alexa, turn on Christmas tree" than crawling under a bunch of pine needles to reach for the outlet. I now have three of these bad boys serving various purposes around my home.
There's no way ours is the only house with an incomprehensible electrical system. We have two light switches for the same hallway light that are only six feet from each other, and there's another light switch that isn't connected to anything we've been able to find yet! By swapping in this smart bulb, though, I can just ask Alexa to "turn on dining room light" without accidentally turning on our kitchen light because the switch is in the wrong spot.
By the third time I left my wallet in the glove compartment of my car and forget I put it there, I ordered a couple of these little tracker tiles. One is attached to my car keys (another item I tend to misplace) and another is tucked into an inner pocket of my wallet. If I'm ever scrambling to get out of the house and can't find what I need, I just check where they are with my phone.
Pro tip: I'm also especially careful about making sure any luggage has one of these inside before we travel - I've heard too many horror stories of lost suitcases to risk it!
Particularly when kiddo was younger and the sleep schedule was, shall we say... flexible, a gentle light on a timer turned out to be a total game changer. The Echo Show can be put on a timer or used via voice command, and when you're trying to gently encourage little ones to understand it's time to get up or time to lay down for a rest, it comes in so handy.
That TV that I upgraded with a Fire Stick? Yeah, it should come as no surprise that its sound system left something to be desired. Enter the Echo Pop. This tiny little speaker made the sound on that television so much clearer and more crisp, and it also puts out some serious sound when I have music playing.
Alright, I'm cheating here a little bit. While everything I've already mentioned on this list is under $200 in total, the Google Nest was my higher ticket item that's under $200 on its own. That said, it deserves a mention for how much energy it has saved in my home since we had it installed last year. I can control the temperature from anywhere with my Alexa app, I can adjust it with voice commands when I'm home, and Nest will send me a monthly report about my energy usage!