Interior Home Technology

10 Money-Saving Gadgets That Pay for Themselves

It may seem like a paradox, but sometimes you have to spend a little money to save a lot of green. Investing in just a few little upgrades like energy-efficient lighting, energy usage monitors, and handy kitchen helpers can help shave dollars off your energy and grocery bills. Take a look through this list of smart buys and consider picking one up for your home. Your wallet just may end up thanking you.

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Save with a Surge Protector

Even if you’re diligent about turning off electronics before your leave the house, plugged-in devices still use standby electricity or “vampire power.” Stop energy moochers with this remote-controlled smart power strip from Belkin. Control power to your whole computer system with one click, and use the Always-On outlets for electronics that need power all the time, like your router or home phone. Available from Amazon; $37.86.

Light the Way

Skip the hassle of wiring and long cords outside and harness the power of the sun instead! These modern solar lights from GIGALUMI automatically turn on at night and shut off to charge at dawn. Push the stakes into into the soil, and never worry about them again. Rain and snow are no match for the solar lights’ weather-resistant design, so you can leave them up all year long. Available from Amazon; $45.99 for six lights.

Save Your Energy

Leaving your gadgets plugged in all time is a huge energy sucker. Yet it’s also a pain reaching behind the couch or under the bed to pull out the charger every time your phone or tablet is juiced up. Plug any electronic device into these adapters, and then use the on/off switch to control when to use the power. It may not sound like much, but if you want to cut down your electricity bill, you need to start somewhere. Available at Amazon; $24.95 for a three pack or $8.99 for one.

Hands-Off Approach

Turn the lights on when you enter a room. Turn the lights off when you exit. It’s a golden rule of energy savings, and it couldn’t be simpler to follow—in theory. In practice, however, many people end up paying extra to the electricity company for at least some amount of unnecessary lighting. Here’s the good news: You can trim that expense with a product like the Lutron Maestro. Leveraging motion-sensor technology, the switch can turn the lights on and off for you, automating your home lighting and saving you energy (and hassle) along the way. Available at Amazon; $19.11.

Fresher Foods

Do you ever feel like you buy apples, lettuce, cucumbers, and more, only to find them wilted and ruined after a few days? Cut down on waste and cash spent constantly replacing produce with a Bluapple freshness extender. This handy helper absorbs ethylene gas—which signals produce to ripen—for up to three months, to keep your favorite healthy snacks fresher, longer. Just toss it in with your crisper and be amazed at how much you can save on your grocery runs (up to $600 for a family of four!). Available on Amazon; $11.99.

Money Monitor

Part of saving money on your energy bill is identifying your high spending habits—which also includes knowing which appliances and electronics are costing you extra. The Poniie Electricity Usage Monitor is a simple way to discover how much your TV or microwave really racks ups. With this information you can determine which items are energy suckers that need to be unplugged or replaced. Available on Amazon; $37.99.

Bright Idea

You probably don’t think about it much, but light bulbs are some of the most frequently used items in your house. On and off throughout the day, you want to make sure you’re using the most energy efficient option. Upgrade the bulbs in your home to the Philip Hues LED Smart Bulbs. Through its app or your Amazon Echo you can control the lights and set schedules whether you’re at home or not. Available on Amazon; $89.99.

Get Fresh

A fresh bunch of parsley or cilantro doesn’t last more than a couple days past grocery shopping day, when stored conventionally. Deprived of moisture, delicate herbs quickly wilt, and when stored laying flat, they can invite rot, wasting your produce in the process. Save your pennies by storing smarter. This herb keeper works like a vase, holding herbs upright in a shallow bath of water until you need them—whether that’s two days after the purchase date, or two weeks. Available on Amazon; $21.95.

Charged Up

You wouldn’t power your phone, laptop, or tablet with a one-use battery, would you? Chances are, though, that the cells powering your household electronics, flashlights, and remote controls are only good until the juice runs out. Save money on buying new packs of batteries by investing in a battery charger like this one available on Amazon. By recharging worn out batteries, you can save a bundle—and never run out of batteries again. Available on Amazon; $18.69.

Programable Thermostat

A programable thermostat is a must if you’re looking to cut back on heating and cooling costs. The Google Nest E makes is a great pick for its ease of use. Set a simple schedule so the temperature is always to your liking, and feel free to change it whenever you want from the thermostat or your phone. And its home/away assist feature automatically adjusts the temperature so you aren’t wasting energy when you aren’t around. Available from The Home Depot; $169.