Digital Living Minimalism Simplicity

The Heart of Home Automation is Simplicity

If one word best embodies the goal of home automation – it should be simplicity.  Such a statement seems to lack insight. After all, isn’t the point of home automation to take the complexity in our lives and simplify it?

Sure it is, but I’m not talking about achieving the end goal of simplicity for our home.  I’m talking about baking in simplicity from the start.

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Digital Living Home Automation

Guide to Getting Started with Home Automation

Turning your home into a digital oasis doesn’t require you to shell out thousands of dollars upfront, nor does it require Geek Squad installation or hunting down your neighborhood tech whiz.  In fact, the easiest way to get started swimming in the waters of home automation is simply dipping your toes into the shallow end and eventually wading into deeper waters.

Here’s a simple approach to finding out if home automation is right for you.

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Digital Living Fitness Frugality

Three Steps to Fast Track Your Digital Fitness and Not Break the Bank

I’d hardly call myself a fitness fanatic.  In fact, if you saw some of the foods that make up my diet you might think I’m the exact opposite.  That being said, I do get my steps in on a daily basis, and with the help of technology, I’m able to funnel that right into my digital life, ensuring that my caloric intake rarely exceeds my caloric output and that my weight stays in check.

To capture my fitness vitals, I previously used an expensive Fitbit Ionic.  It played music, monitored heart rate, worked in water, and even made payments.  After using the device religiously for over a year, I realized only a few of its features were all that valuable to me: heart rate monitoring, step counting, a moderate level of water resistance, and more than a day’s battery life.

So, when my Fitbit finally went out of warranty and bit the dust, I decided it was time to turn to a more frugal fitness approach.

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Digital Living

Three Lessons You Can Learn From Agile Development and Apply to Digital Living

Those of us who work in software development or project management are likely quite familiar with many of the practices of Agile Software Development, and while those practices (or ceremonies) are quite useful in guiding software development teams towards building sustainable, high quality, user-driven software, the concepts are equally applicable to digital living.

Parallels can be drawn between tens, if not hundreds of different aspects of software development and life in general, but there are three particular areas of agile software development that I’ve found to be the most fruitful when applied to digital living.

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Digital Living Frugality

Ditch Digital Subscriptions to Save Yourself Some Cash

I’m not exactly sure where the subscription model started, but the cable companies of the 1980s seemed the most adept at solidifying the public’s willingness to pay a recurring fee for content as a service. Sure, utility companies had been doing it for years, but those could be considered necessities under the eye of the public sector.

Then, the Netflix addicted, Amazon Prime-fueled millennial generation made the subscription service a staple of American living. You can now subscribe to services that manage your clothing, meals, shaving needs, and much more.

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Digital Living

Why Walmart Grocery Isn’t the Future of Grocery – Yet

For as long as I can remember, Aldi has been my first choice for groceries. The only knock I had on Aldi – at least in relation to my three major values of cost, control, and convenience – was the convenience aspect. That’s where Walmart Grocery Pickup came into my life (as noted in my previous article on Four Focus Areas for Digital Frugalism).  Over the last month, with the exception of one week of Aldi relapse, I consistently turned to Walmart Grocery to satisfy my weekly grocery shopping needs.  While I estimated I could save about a buck on my weekly grocery bill by going to Aldi, I found that Walmart better aligned with my value for convenience. By my calculations, that 30-minute time savings more than justified the difference.

So in the battle between cost, convenience, control, Walmart was winning the battle of convenience, Aldi retained the cost crown, with the deciding factor coming down to control. More specifically, this meant the grocery provider I would anoint as my go-to moving forward would hinge on how much control the two gave me over my own life.

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Digital Living Frugality

Seven Easy Hacks to Using Amazon Without Letting Amazon Use You

At some point in our lives, we throw in the towel and admit defeat.  More specifically, we throw our wallet to monolith that is Amazon and admit convenience is more important than cost, privacy, and pretty much everything else in life.

And then I realized, you don’t have to leave your wallet open to enjoy the benefits of Amazon.  In essence, you can pocket the $119 that you would normally spend each year on prime and yet still benefit from what Amazon has to offer.  Here’s how:

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Audio Digital Living Minimalism

Six Simple Steps to Declutter Your Digital Listening Skills

In Four Focus Areas for Frugal Digitalism, I talked about how to save money by taking advantage of free audio opportunities. Free content, however, is only valuable if you’re mindful of how and why you listen. In this article, I lay out a framework for improving your digital listening habits and getting more out of the time you spend with your digital audio content.

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Digital Living Frugality

Four Fun Focus Areas For Frugal Digitalism

Many millennials and digital natives have migrated their lifestyle online and in doing so have paid the price of convenience. Such convenience has come in the form of a monthly subscription fee to get access to craveable content. While a single subscription fee may have only a minor impact on one’s budget, when coupled with subscription fees across different digital services, the budget impact becomes more severe. This is further exacerbated by the rising subscription costs being charged by service providers and media conglomerates who have realized content is king and have gone on a spending spree in an effort to acquire digital content.

Thankfully, a convenient digital lifestyle doesn’t need to come with a high price tag. In many areas of your digital life, there’s no need to trade cash for convenience as you progressively shift your lifestyle online. In this article you’ll find ways to practice sustainable frugality in various areas of your digital life. This means getting what you need without borrowing login credentials from friends, illegally downloading the content you love, or managing multiple e-mail accounts in order to rotate through free trials offered by many digital services.

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Digital Living Home Buying

Finding the Right Home for Your Digital Lifestyle

Nearly 10 years ago I purchased a home that had been built in the 1960s. While it was equipped with few technology frills, over the years I managed to build out an impressive digital footprint within its walls. That work, however, came at a cost that could have been avoided (or at least minimized) had I planned out my technology needs up front and found a home more conducive to those needs.

Therefore, as I planned a move to a new city, I spent time assessing the digital attributes I valued in a home and set forth finding a new place that provided a foundation on which to build a meaningful, though more thoughtful and simple, digital footprint. In this article, I lay out six things to consider when searching for a digital-friendly home.

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