The feeling of safety that comes from a secure home is priceless, but getting started on your journey of home security can seem financially daunting. Luckily, there are plenty of free and cheap ways to beef up your home’s defenses, keeping your family and possessions safe.
Free solutions using what’s already in your house
Whether you’re paying hundreds of dollars for an alarm system or you skipped one altogether, a few simple tips can help dissuade a burglar from breaking in. Making your home look occupied and cutting off easy access can do a lot to make a thief skip your house.
That starts with always locking your doors and windows. It may seem like common sense, but some break-ins start with the simple twist of a doorknob and stop if the door doesn’t give. Just make sure to throw that deadlock for another layer of security. Locking windows also puts another hurdle in the way of a lazy thief.
In fact, making your house less attractive to burglars is often enough to keep them away. Things like closing blinds or putting high-value items out of sight makes your home less of a target. You can also put on lights while you’re out to make it seem like someone is home. Leaving on the TV or some music also reinforces that idea.
If you’ve already jumped on the smart-home bandwagon, you can use those devices to up your home security — set smart lightbulbs to go on and off with on a timer, take advantage of your Wi-Fi security camera’s automated alerts and have your connected outlets turn your stereo off after a few hours. Just be sure your smart home stuff is secure too.
Cheap solutions to beef up security
If you don’t already have smart home devices, spending the dough to deck out your home in connected gadgets isn’t exactly budget-friendly. But there are some cheap solutions. For example, you can get simple plug-in timers to put on lamps, making your house look lived in even when you’re not there.
You can also invest in sensors that turn your lights on when the natural light fades, which are especially helpful for outdoor lamps. Motion-activated lamps can also scare off potential thieves, and today’s solar-powered, LED options are cheap and can be placed strategically.
There are also plenty of DIY sensors designed to frighten criminals and alert neighbors with loud noises. These two-part sensors can be placed on doors and windows, and when the two pieces are separated, a chime or alarm sounds to alert anyone around. There are also full-fledged DIY security systems like the Scout Alarm and Link Interactive that may be worth looking into if you’re looking for a step up.
You can also set up a fake security camera to trick thieves into thinking they’re being watched. These battery-operated boxes look like cameras and even have red lights to give them “night vision,” but there’s no other electronics inside to drive up the price. However, criminals don’t know that.
Here are some other small purchases you can make to keep out criminals:
- Install some new strike plates and deadlocks to make it harder for criminals to force their way in.
- Buy a clouded film for your windows to keep eyes from seeing inside while still letting light in.
- Get a small safe for your valuables and keep things locked up while you’re away, or just hide them where criminals wouldn’t think to look.
Often, the cheapest ways to be secure are to purchase deterrents that give the impression that your property is highly secure. With most people never considering home security, adding small layers of safety can really pay dividends but convincing robbers to turn elsewhere. Be sure to read our review of the best home security cameras.