This post was sponsored by Capital One Mortgage. All opinions are my own.
Just the other day, I was having a conversation with a friend. It’s a conversation I know well because I have it frequently with friends, relatives or people I meet just about anywhere. First, I get peppered with questions about smart home devices: What’s cool? What’s new? What am I most excited about? Their eyes dazzle as I describe what’s happening in the industry, the products that I’m currently testing, lusting after or excited to see come to market. After a few minutes, a change comes over their face. And then, I get a version of this response:
“That all sounds cool, but it all sounds complicated. I mean, it would take me hours to figure out how it all works, and I just don’t have the time or the know-how…”
I completely understand this response. With technology changing so frequently, and, let’s face it, products coming to market before they’re really ready, people have had bad experiences. Stuff that’s confusing, frustrating, broken right out of the box, not compatible with what they already have. I’ve had plenty of these experiences too, and I totally get it.
Time Savers, not wasters
What keeps me smiling during this conversation is the knowledge that things are starting to shift, and products are getting so much better: Easier to set up (many just need to be plugged in and connected to your Wifi, that’s it), easier to maintain (auto-updates take all the work out of keeping them updated) and easier to use (user interfaces are more streamlined and families of compatible devices are easier to identify).
What that leaves you with are devices that don’t cost you a whole bunch of time, but save you a boatload of it. Each and every week, I marvel at what my life was like before some of these smart gadgets popped into it, and many of them are just as affordable as they are invaluable. Here are a few of my favorites:
I run my business from home, and receive a lot of packages at the house. I also get a regular crop of door-to-door solicitors, the mailman, and other doorbell ringers all day long. Being able to glance at (and communicate with) people at the door without having to get up from my desk saves me from breaking my concentration… and about a dozen trips to the door each week. I can also see if anyone nefarious is lurking, and let them know that yes, indeed, I am home, and they should make their way away from my front door (I haven’t had a package stolen since we installed one).
Grocery delivery apps
I would kiss my online grocery app on the lips if it had them. I can’t even tell you how life-changing it is to NEVER (OK, almost never) have to shop for groceries in the store. No more dirty shopping cart, circling the aisles, parking nightmares and buying things I didn’t need. Grocery apps will either deliver from the stores you already shop at, or from central warehouses that you’d be surprised have many of the products you already love, and beautiful produce and meats to boot. I save hours each week not having to do anything but tap… especially great when I’m traveling, because I can send them from anywhere.
Life with kids involves following them around and shutting lights off in rooms they inhabited earlier. It’s just a thing a parent does— like making school lunches and blowing noses. A smart lighting system is a dreamy way to check the status of the lights in my entire home without having to jog around the house. At some point, I’m hopeful my endless lectures about wasteful energy consumption will sink in, but until then, I can turn off all the lights in my home with a single tap. If I’m home alone, I can turn on the exterior lights if I hear rustling outside without having to walk around, or light a path to the stairway when we come home to a dark house. The possibilities for control and scheduling are endless, and the time (and energy) savings makes it a bright idea all around.
Online Bill Paying
I used to spend a good chunk of every other Sunday at the kitchen table, stamps, envelopes, and a stack of bills to sort through and send out. It was tough to stay organized, track payments, and I lived in fear of the dreaded late fee. Using a bill paying service has saved me so much time and energy by automating it all (not to mention drastically cut down on the amount of mail I have to open, another time saver!) and putting the whole process online. All my bills are rerouted to a remote address, and when they come in each is scanned and uploaded into the system. I get alerts that warn me of upcoming late fees, and checks are sent out with a couple clicks— no licking envelopes or trips to the mailbox required.
I was a bit wary of voice assistants when they showed up on the scene— how useful would they really be? But their presence is becoming more helpful as my family gets to know them and what they’re capable of. Whether it’s setting a timer in the kitchen, adding a reminder to my to-do list or grocery item to my shopping list, getting the answer to a question without having to whip out my phone, or even dialing up a favorite song, voice assistants are becoming bona fide members of the family. And as they build more and more skills (Order me a pizza! Call a taxi!), more and more time saving awaits.
Get Smart about Home Loans
Capital One knows a thing or two about saving you time, especially during the time-consuming process of buying a home. Capital One Simply Smarter Home Loans® has streamlined and optimized the whole process of securing a home loan with interactive tools that alleviate the stress of home buying (and all those mountains of paper!). Start with mortgage pre-qualification, which you do through an online form and can happen in a matter of minutes, and with no impact to your credit score. Then you can swiftly draft a custom pre-qualification letter with the exact amount of the offer you’re making on your dream home (sellers love that). The rest of the home loan process is a perfect blend of digital (fast, easy, anytime) and personal (education along the way, service and assistance when you need it). The whole home finance experience has been reimagined, and it’s all about saving you time and home buying headaches.
Win Some Smart Home Stuff!
If you’re intrigued by the time-saving capabilities of smart home devices, Capital One Home Loans is giving away incredible smart home prizes all summer long! Enter the Simply Smarter Home Sweepstakes for your chance to win by taking the Simply Smarter Home Buying Quiz. You can enter once a day to increase your chances, and each week, they’ll announce one Grand Prize and two First Prize winners, so there’s lots of chances to win! Find official rules and enter at http://simplysmartersweepstakes.com. No purchase necessary.
- Six (6) Grand Prize Winners (one a week) will win the ultimate smart home system, fully installed with lighting, cameras, thermostat, security features and a smart assistant.
- Twelve (12) First Prize Winners (two a week) will score a smart assistant to control your devices, play music and more, all by voice.
You know me well enough to know that I’m all about time-saving technology, but I’m only all for it if it’s easy. All these ideas fit the bill— I promise you’ll be saving time and feeling as tech-proud as you are house-proud.
Thank you to Capital One for sponsoring this post. These opinions are those of the author and not of Capital One. Unless noted otherwise in this post, Capital One is not affiliated with, nor is it endorsed by, any of the companies mentioned. All trademarks and other intellectual property used or displayed are the ownership of their respective owners.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes starts 7/10/17 at 12:00 PM ET and ends 8/21/17. Consists of 6 separate entry periods. Open only to eligible legal residents of the 50 United States/DC who are 18 years old and older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, entry periods, odds of winning, prize information, restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited. Sponsored by Capital One, N.A., 1680 Capital One Drive, McLean, VA 22102.