Home is where the smart is – 3 tech hacks to help keep costs down

Wardrobe sort
(Image credit: Tom Watkins)

Marie Claire UK’s Dionne Brighton gives her top hacks for cutting costs with ideas for your smart home.

A new year is the perfect time to form good habits – with saving money unsurprisingly  looking like the most popular resolution of 2024. 

But gone are the days of budgeting books and panicked side hustle ideas. Instead, 2024 is the year of self improvement by smart technology. Yes, it’s time to take advantage of our smart tech and programme it for good, not only making our lives easier but also saving us some cash in the process.

Putting it into practice this January is Marie Claire UK’s digital writer, Dionne Brighton, who is using 2024 to programme her tech in the right way, forming better habits through her smart home functions, and as a result avoiding unnecessary spending. 

“We can easily fall into bad habits and not realise just how much we’re spending,” says Dionne. “So this year I’m making new habits with tech to make a difference in my bills.”

Here are Dionne’s top hacks for saving money using smart tech.



1. Cut down your food bills

Food bills are one of the biggest sources of household overspending in the UK, and for people wanting to save some money (and fast), cutting down on your grocery spending is a great place to start.

This can be done through smart tech – using grocery apps to plan your meals and shop more mindfully, streaming recipes to your phone, and investing in efficient equipment. Dionne’s recommendation? An air fryer, which she explains “is not only easy to use, but also energy-efficient”. Some families even invest in smart ovens, monitored via a connected app, making cooking that bit easier – and helping them steer away from costlier convenience foods and takeaways.

“When I go to the shops I end up buying way too much stuff that I don’t actually need, so I’ve been making digital shopping lists and doing online orders and it’s saved me so much money,” says Dionne. “Also I’ve been searching online to look for new recipes to take away any takeaway temptation.”


(Image credit: Tom Watkins)


2. Change the way you buy clothes

Overbuying on clothes is another common expense, hurting not only the environment but your bank balance too. And just by making a few necessary changes to the way you shop, you can save yourself a fortune.

Using AR tools is a great place to start – allowing you to try on clothes digitally and saving time and money by eliminating returns. Dionne herself names “ordering several sizes and never remembering to return them” as her worst money-wasting habit. “I’m really excited about the future of AR tech,” she explains. “So I can try on clothes digitally and make sure I love it before I buy it.”

And crucially, when you do shop, try to seek out ethical, circular businesses, vintage and rental options, something that Dionne calls her best piece of advice. “Save yourself some money and shop with an online rental company,” she explains. “I’ve also been shopping online on second-hand clothing websites to be more sustainable and find myself some real bargains.”

Scrolling through phone

(Image credit: Praxima)


3. Make your whole home smarter

Having a connected home is a proven way to reduce living costs, and while you do have to invest in the tech in the first place, there are major smart home savings to be made further down the line.

EE’s new Smart Hub Plus helps your whole home run smoother – whether you’re setting up apps for appliances, smart speakers, heating and lighting, or just pausing the Wi-Fi on kids’ devices to get them off to sleep. With you in control of your devices and network, there’s no stopping you.

Smart tech can make a huge difference to household savings – but first, strong and reliable Wi-Fi is essential. So, to fully embrace connectivity and use your technology for good in 2024, it’s important to look for broadband that’s a little smarter. Because we all want to form new good habits this year.

EE helps you do so much more with tech in your home. For more smarter ideas, visit ee.co.uk/home – plus save £20 a month on new, unlimited mobile plans, when you choose EE Broadband.

Smart meter

(Image credit: Tom Watkins)


Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.