I've never really felt the need to "smarten" my home, especially if it means installing a bunch of sensors and whatnot. However, I will say that my Venstar smart thermostat is just about the best thing ever, so maybe I need to rethink all this.
And here's a deal I'm thinking strongly about: Today only, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Insteon 2522-232 home-automation kit for $99.99, shipped (plus tax). Regular price: $199.99. (Price at Amazon: $187.)
The kit includes two dimmer modules (for remote and scheduled lighting adjustments), a motion sensor, an open/close sensor (for a door or window) and a leak sensor. (Take it from any homeowner: the sooner you learn there's water in your basement, the better!)
You also get a hub, which links all the pieces together and allows for future expansion. (Insteon offers a huge range of connected components, everything from wall switches to thermostats to Wi-Fi cameras.) It connects to your router, making it possible to control everything via Android and iOS apps. (There's even Apple Watch integration, according to Insteon's Hub page.)
I'm especially liking this because the sensors are all battery-powered, so you don't have to deal with wires. Plus, there are no monthly fees -- though obviously there's no third-party monitoring, either.
Even so, for $100 the kit offers an awfully affordable way to dip your toe into smart-home waters. The handful of user reviews (at both Amazon and Best Buy) are mostly positive, though apparently you should be prepared to do a little router tweaking (in the form of port forwarding) for successful remote access.
Bonus deal: Movie time! Ending soon (but hopefully not too soon), Amazon Instant Video is offering rentals of "Unbroken" in SD or HD for 99 cents. That's a nice offer on a new release, but I hope you'll take my advice and read the book first. (The Kindle Edition sells for just $4.99 -- less than you'd normally pay to rent the movie in HD.) It's not only a captivating story, but also an amazing dose of perspective on life. You think you're having a bad day? Find out what a really bad day feels like.
Bonus deal No. 2: Many casual runners have no problem zipping through a 5K or even 10K race, but a marathon? That's pretty daunting. A half marathon, on the other hand, seems a lot more manageable -- especially if you have a coach. Like this one: For a limited time, Zen Labs' Half Marathon Trainer Pro (iOS) is free. Regular price: $9.99. This is version 4.0, released just two days ago.