Before I start diving into the logistics of what a ‘Millennial Smart Home on a Budget’ actually entails, well, I’m just going to break down the type of millennial I’m truly targeting. Everyone loves to categorize our entire generation into a lump of degenerates and thwarts to the economy, but let me tell you something… a lot of us are in completely different places in our lives.
Millennials don’t own as many smart home devices as you think they do.
According to researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss, they define the millennial generation ‘as those born between 1982 and 2004.’ This gap is huge, and many have broken down the group into the ‘older’ and ‘younger’ millennial. I categorically fall on the younger side, being only 23, and probably the age group that is really being targeted for ruining every industry ever by the media. And apparently, Gen Xers are spending more money on smart home devices than Millennials are even though we’re the generation that keeps the Silicon Valley thriving in all of it’s tech glory.
The truth is? We’re either broke or we’re spending our money on ‘experiences.’ And it’s the reason why I’ve created a list of smart home products that not only appeal to my fellow struggling twenty-something year olds, but also will not break our tight budget. Look, we’ve got to indulge into an industry that’s essentially our future, so might as well start now, right?
Here are my top 5 favorite picks:
A small smart speaker, like Amazon’s Echo Dot or the Google Home Mini
Most of us are urban dwellers, renting out some sort of condo, townhome or apartment. So, really, we don’t have too much space that will require the full size Echo or Google Home. Both voice assistants are under $50, and are cheap alternatives that can act your smart home hub. If you prefer better sound quality, I suggest going with the Google Home Mini. However, if you want to connect your Mini to another speaker, you’ll have to invest another $30 for a Chromecast Audio, unlike the Dot where you can just plug in an aux cable. Choose wisely.
A smart TV streaming device, like Google Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire Stick
If you’re still using a HDMI cord to connect your laptop to your TV because you don’t have a Smart TV, please… just invest in a Chromecast or Fire Stick. If you’re on a serious tight budget, the Fire Stick is only about $39.99, but you don’t have the option of 4K or HDR streaming. I honestly am in love with my Chromecast, and use it every. single. Day. You can pretty much stream anything you want straight from your smartphone or a Google Home assistant. This is a nice option to have because sometimes I want to watch my favorite beauty vlogger on YouTube through the big screen, okay?
Wireless Smart Speaker
The Jam Rhythm Wifi Home Audio Speaker is an affordable option that will satisfy any small gatherings you have in your living room. I’ve used it for hosting friends or while cooking dinner, and the sound is robust enough to fill my entire apartment. Long gone are the days where you only have the option of connecting Bluetooth and have it lag for days, but with a wireless speaker you can just connect it via Wi-Fi and not have to worry about keeping your smart phone or voice assistant close. The wireless speaker is Alexa-embedded, so you can control it from any Alexa-enabled device. You can play from a variety of music streaming services like Spotify, Rhapsody, iHeart Radio, Tidal, and your own music library if you’d like. The speaker costs about $99.
Smart Light Bulbs, like the C by GE Starter Pack
You need these. You, the individual who can’t bother to manually turn off your bedroom light because you’re too busy laying in bed playing on your iPhone or Android, need these. Stop making your significant other turn it off for you. Just get a smart bulb and do it yourself via the iPhone or Android you’re already on. Or even ask Alexa, dang it. The C by GE Starter Pack comes with two light bulbs, so you’ll never have to fuss over forgetting to turning off your lights ever again. The kit is going to cost you about $32.15 for two or $55.12 for four on Amazon. Just add to your cart, please.
Smart Thermostat, like the Lux/Geo Wi-Fi Thermostat
Okay, so this one’s bit pricier at $115.50. But you know what? Split the cost with your roommate so that none of you will have to deal with ever arguing about how one person forgets to turn off the A/C while you’re both at work. It’s a good argument, and will save you money in the long run, especially if you live in an older building. Insulation won’t work in your favor, and you’ll be spending more on your energy bills if you’re not keeping track. With the Lux/Geo thermostat, you can control the temperature from your phone and can even create customized schedules. There’s also geofencing capabilities, so you or your roommate won’t have to worry if one of you forgets to turn off the A/C or heater if you head out of town for a weekend.
Let’s hope this list helps my fellow peers head in the right direction of building their own smart home. You’ll save more time and energy costs using these devices, and in the long run, that’s what matters, right?
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