When struggling with debt or making ends meet on a budget, it can be a bitter pill to swallow a monthly subscription fee for your home security needs. Sure, automated alarm systems can help deter home invaders and have been shown to limit the time they spend inside once they’ve broken in. But for those who want to make ends meet first (or supplement their home security measures already in place,) following simple home security tips and investing in cost-effective alternatives to traditional home security measures can save you hundreds of dollars.
Don’t buy: “Pick-proof” or “bump-proof” deadbolts
As far as deadbolts go, everybody knows that the keyhole is its greatest vulnerability. As long as someone is able to pick or bump your lock (which is increasingly common knowledge thanks to the internet,) they can access your home. What this logic fails to account for is that your lock is not your whole door’s weak-point. In fact, the majority of break-ins occur due to brute force. An elaborate lock worth hundreds of dollars is practically worthless if a door can be busted with one swift kick or shove.
Instead get: Jamb reinforcement plates
Depending on the brand that you choose, jamb reinforcement plates can reinforce your door for a fraction of the cost of high-end deadbolts. Following this simple guide, anyone with a few common tools and access to a home supply retailer to find a kit can make their door far sturdier in about half an hour. These additions to your doors can make forced entry nearly impossible at an low cost.
Don’t buy: Shatter resistant window film
Your windows are another key vulnerability to your home’s defense. Burglars will often break in to gain entry to a house or to a door’s lock in order to bypass a sealed door. Shatter resistant film might seem like a common sense answer for this problem – but there are two caveats. First, these are usually advertised as a cheap and easy alternative to installing tempered glass but fail to meet a similar level of durability. Secondly, there’s a much cheaper way to prevent entry into your home that doesn’t require applying expensive films.
Instead get: Window screws / anchors
The problem with entry through windows isn’t that the panes can be broken. In any case, this is difficult to solve in an affordable manner. The real problem is that criminals are able to gain access through them in the first place. In other words, limiting access through your frame is the much more cost effective route, and this is easily done with a window screw or anchor. This simple modification simply limits access through your window to just a few inches − making entry impossible even if the glass is easily broken. For a few dollars and a few minutes of installation, you can easily make your windows safer against trespassers.
Don’t buy: Security cameras
When it comes to safety for our family, haven’t we all wanted an extra pair of eyes at some point? Here comes the appeal of security cameras, an essential part to home security systems. These devices can be a great deterrent to the occasional would-be thief, but there are some serious drawbacks. First, they mostly function independently of your alarm system unless paired with a motion sensor. They’re also easy targets of vandals and thieves; many companies have started created “vandal-proof” models to help the issue. Lastly, the added expense to your energy bill and home security subscription can be a little too steep for what they provide.
Instead get: familiar with your neighborhood!
Editor’s Note: I actually own a camera and I love it (Dropcam). I can see what is going on around me and the cost is negligible. I also don’t pay a subscription fee because I am notified of any movement, not the alarm company. I recommend them just for the piece of mind that they provide.
While technology can be an excellent tool in defending our homes, there are few assets more useful to you than the trust and attention of your neighbors nearby. Becoming friends with your neighbors creates a neighborhood watch that provides more coverage and attentiveness than any mechanical eye can give you. Further benefits include the availability of future house sitters when you need to leave your home for an extended period of time, available witnesses for when something does happen on your property, and a sense of comfort and familiarity with your neighborhood. While technology can help with your piece of mind, nothing beats the mutual trust and help of your neighbors.
Author Bio: Naomi Broderick is a full-time mother (and a part-time writer) who manages to find time to write on parenting, home renovations, and finances. She enjoys reaching out to others online to learn and advise others to reach debt freedom and professional success.
Editor’s Note: These are great tips Naomi. I do think there are alternatives to paying for the high cost of home security systems. Having said that, I have heard really good things about SimpliSafe. It is a cheap alternative to the typical alarm system, but with all of the bells and whistles. If you want it monitored (which is not required), then you can get it for as low as $15 per month. That is cheap. Check them out at www.simplisafe.com.
Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/mandykoh/4594911593/