Hi, I’m Alex. I never intended to get into home automation, but once I started, I wanted to do my best to get the best bang for my buck. Smart-Home tech is still very new and pretty expensive. I live in Southern California and am supporting my SO through nursing school while working for a school district. Luckily, I figured out a great way to get started in Smart-Home tech on the cheap. I got my apartment all smartened up with only about $200 worth of equipment and a DIY attitude. It took a few months of trial and error to get ANYTHING with a cohesive feel to it that was also quick and responsive. I tried WiFi outlets, connected power strips, bridge apps to connect devices with my Echo Dot; they were all pretty awful. What I have now is great. It is responsive and secure. It can be controlled from any phone or computer and can also be controlled with my voice through Alexa. Most importantly, it can grow with me. The Smart-Home software I use, Home Assistant, is compatible with hundreds of other Smart-Home devices. This is a great way to learn the skills necessary to run a Smart-Home on the cheap, that you can easily upgrade later. I think anyone who’s interested in Smart-Home technology should have an option to give it a try. With some time, patience, and online tutorials, I was able to build myself an inexpensive Smart-Home set up, perfect for a beginning hobbyist. With this guide you, too, will be able to start a hobby in Smart-Home automation on the cheap.