No matter where you live or what you own, having proper home security is crucial to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings. When most people think of home security, they imagine an expensive setup for things like high-tech devices and more. Thankfully, it’s possible to get quality home security on a budget to keep your home safe without spending a ton of your hard-earned money. This guide offers you some easy and affordable alternatives so you can choose home secure solutions that work for you without breaking the bank.
How much does home security cost?
Here are a few things to consider when factoring home much security for your home will cost:
- Security system plans: Many providers offer plans that include everything like equipment, installation, and ongoing monitoring. The average cost for this service is approximately $10 to $50 per month.
- Equipment: Security equipment is usually the biggest cost and includes things like cameras and alarms. Plan to pay around $100 to $400 for each camera and/or each piece of equipment.
- Installation and activation: Professional installation and activation of your new system should set you back around $200 to $300 when hiring a professional technician.
- Monitoring: This monthly service costs $25 to $50 per month and alerts the local authorities if a breach or fire has been detected.
- Permits and maintenance: You likely won’t need a permit to have home security, but expect to pay between $10 and $50 per year for maintenance like replacing batteries or service calls.
Affordable alternatives to secure your home
- You can have affordable home security without spending a lot of money, but there are some basic things you’ll need to stay secure.
o Essential equipment includes cameras, a video doorbell, and an alarm system.
o Monitored home security systems cost a monthly fee, but they alert you and the authorities if something goes wrong. Unmonitored systems cost nothing, but you’re responsible for keeping track of what’s going on in and around your home.
o Installing a wired system may cost you less than a wireless one because the equipment usually costs less, and wired equipment is more reliable and stable. If you’re planning to move, choose wireless options so you can take your equipment with you.
o If you’re installing home security DIY, research the best affordable equipment available. Consider going wireless since it doesn’t require any electrical knowledge or skill to install.
- There are ways to find affordable alternatives to keep your home secure.
o Every home security system should have at least one camera. You can find wireless cameras online for an affordable price.
o If you’re going the cheap route, make sure your cameras are at least high resolution and come with an app so you can check on the footage remotely.
o Look for deals on security equipment online, and check during major sales like Black Friday to get the best price. The end of summer is another good time to look for great deals.
o Check with a few local security companies to find out if they offer a decent rate for monitored plans, as many small businesses provide affordable prices to local residents.
o Used or refurbished wireless cameras are usually cheaper than brand-new ones. When buying a used camera, make sure it’s factory certified and that you buy it from a reputable reseller or retailer instead of an individual.
o Window and door alarms are affordable and often come as a multipack so you can alarm several areas at once. Look at big box retail and home improvement stores to find affordable options.
- Motion-activated or motion-detecting lighting is a great way to secure your home on a budget.
o Try solar motion-activated outdoor lights to help you save on energy while keeping your home illuminated and more secure.
o Try an outdoor camera that has a motion-activated light built into it. A camera-light combination with spotlights and sirens is even better and is a great deterrent to criminals.
DIY ways to keep your house secure
- There are plenty of DIY options available that will make your house safer and more secure.
o Simply lighting up your driveway and backyard, keeping valuable items out of view, and upgrading your window and door locks will add extra security to your home. Always keep car and home doors locked and add a door security bar to make it more difficult for your doors to be breached.
o Get to know your neighbors and establish a good relationship with them so that you’ll look out for each other and alert each other of any suspicious activity.
- Protect and secure your windows DIY without spending a lot of money.
o Windows are one of the weakest entry points into a home, so keeping them secure is vital.
o Place a broomstick or shower curtain rod between the frame of windows and sliding glass doors to create a barrier that’s more difficult to open.
o Install pin locks on double-hung windows by drilling a small hole in one side of the frame. Purchase pin locks and insert them into the hole to keep the windows securely shut. Pin locks are affordable and easy to find at most home improvement stores and online.
o Add protective film to your windows. Not only does this hold the glass in place if it breaks, but it makes it more difficult for thieves to break the glass in order to reach inside and unlock the door.
o Plant large, thorny bushes under each window to create a barrier. Most burglars will avoid walking into sharp, thorny plants to get inside a home.
- It’s easy to reinforce your doors DIY.
o Replace short screws in your doors with larger, longer ones, particularly in exterior doors. Four-inch screws in the door jamb will reinforce the door frame and the structure of your house while making it much more difficult for criminals to kick the door in.
o Install anti-jemmy plates on the external side of the door to cover the gap between the door and frame. These durable components can prevent someone from trying to insert an item between the door if they try to tamper with the latch or bolt.
o Add reinforcement hardware to all external door locks to make the doors more difficult to open. This hardware can make it harder for people to try and fiddle with the doorknob or pick the lock.
o Add a portable deadlock or door lock to the inside of your doors if they swing inwards. These devices are affordable, easy to use, and will add yet another layer of reinforcement. You can also use them while traveling to keep you safe when you’re away.
o A simple door stopper or hanging some loud bells on your doors is a simple, cheap, and effective alarm. Once someone moves the door, the stopper or bells will make a noise.
Clever home security hacks
There are even more easy home security hacks that are easy to implement on a budget:
- Place a local home security company sticker on windows and doors to alert burglars that your home is protected and monitored. Keep in mind that copyright laws may vary per jurisdiction, so check with your local laws before adding company stickers to your property.
- Install several fake “dummy” security cameras all around your home, including the garage and front porch. You can also add an old, non-functional webcam to an eave to create the illusion of an active, working camera.
- When you’re away from home, make it look like your home isn’t empty. You can use a Fake TV device to simulate the illusion of the television being on. Leave the window blinds on the upper floors open and use a virtual assistant speaker to play noises so that people think there’s someone there.
- Create the illusion that you have a large dog by leaving water bowls and dog toys on the porch. You can also post a sign that says “BEWARE OF DOG” in large, visible letters on your fence or front door.
- Even something as simple as placing a pair of large work boots on your porch can make burglars think someone is there. This is also a great tactic for people who live alone, or when you leave a child at home alone and want others to think someone much larger lives there, too.
Turning old gadgets into security devices
If you have some old devices and gadgets lying around, take advantage of them by repurposing them and turning them into DIY security devices.
- Convert an old smartphone into a security camera by installing a security camera app on both your old and new phone. Log into the app on the old phone and select the camera option. This will turn on the camera so you can use it to monitor various areas of your home. Use the app on your new phone to log in and monitor activity remotely.
- Turn an old computer mouse into a homemade alarm. Remove the circuit board and solder a small buzzer or noisemaking device to the LED portion of the panel. You can find more details about the process here.
- You can use old buzzers and sirens to create an extra-loud DIY alarm for your home. Simply connect the wires to a battery and secure it to a piece of plywood using electrical tape. Place the plywood near a window or door, so it will trip the alarm when the wood moves.
- If you have old pet or nanny cams at home, use them as a cheap replacement for more advanced, expensive security cameras.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get effective home security. Whether you’re reinforcing doors and windows or looking for ways to add security equipment DIY, remember these tips to make the process easy. With the right security measures in place, you’ll have peace of mind without spending a lot of money.