Maybe you received a bonus at work, got lucky on a scratch-off lottery ticket or — unlike many disappointed taxpayers this season — you scored a sizable tax refund. If you have $1,000 to spare, here are some ways to spend it on your home.
If Netflix’s “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” inspired you to cull your possessions, consider hiring a KonMari consultant to teach you how to determine which items “spark joy” and are worth keeping. You can find a professional organizer at Napo.net or a certified KonMari consultant at Konmari.com. The cost will vary based on your location, the organizer’s experience and the scope of your project, but most organizers charge $30 to $80 an hour, according to Costhelper.com. They may also charge by the day or project. KonMari consultants generally charge $60 to $150 an hour, but some offer discounts for multi-session packages.
Make your home smarter
Control your home with a tap of your smartphone or a voice command by installing smart-home devices. Start with a smart speaker such as Amazon Echo ($100) or Google Home ($130) and a smart thermostat. For the thermostat, we like Ecobee 3 Lite ($170) for Amazon Echo users and Nest Learning thermostat ($250) for Google Home users. For either system, smart plugs, such as the Belkin Wemo Mini ($35 each), turn household items that plug into electrical outlets into smarter versions that can be controlled with your smartphone, tablet or smart speaker. The Philips Hue White Starter Kit ($100 for a kit with four bulbs and a bridge that acts as a translator between the bulbs and your Wi-Fi network) will allow you to turn lights on and off using your voice or a smart device. To control access to your home and monitor what’s going on outside your door, add a smart lock and video camera, such as the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect ($279) with the company’s Doorbell Cam Pro ($199).
Buy a 3-D printer
With a 3-D printer, you can make household items (from vases to cell-phone cases), create replacement parts or just get crafty. Models for home use have come down in price (they start at about $200) and are now easier to use. For higher print quality and more features, a serious user should expect to spend $700 to $1,000.
Most models in this price range build objects out of layers of molten plastic using a process called fused filament fabrication. (Depending on the quality, plastic runs $20 to $70 per kilogram — enough to make at least 100 chess pieces.) Some 3-D printers also work with other materials, such as wood, bronze or copper-based filament. Among them: The FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro ($899) prints layers with precision inside a chamber that protects your work.
Barbecue like an Egg-head
The Big Green Egg, a modern take on an ancient Japanese cooker, enjoys a cult following. Egg-heads grill, roast, bake and smoke over wood or charcoal in the domed ceramic cooker. For about $1,000, you can get an Egg in the most-popular large size, big enough to grill up to eight steaks or about a dozen burgers at once. Depending on the package from the dealer (find one at www.biggreenegg.com), you’ll also get a metal frame, called a “nest,” for your egg, as well as side extensions for working or serving, a gripper to lift the grill in and out, and an ash tool.
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