The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Budget-Friendly Home Security Tips

By Angelina Ignatova

 

Protecting your home and loved ones from a burglar breaking in need not cost you a fortune - some budget-minded home security tips | Photo credit: MS Clips

Protecting your home and loved ones from a burglar breaking in need not cost you a fortune - some budget-minded home security tips | Photo credit: MS Clips

 

In today’s economy, it’s a common temptation to mitigate our existing expenses or cut out some everyday costs altogether. Even though spending money on alarm systems may not always seem like a high priority, protecting your family and your valuables is of the utmost importance.

If you’re already paying for an existing monitored security system, this may be one of the areas that you could be looking at to cut costs. Contrary to popular belief, effective home security doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, some of the most expensive systems don’t necessarily ensure the best results — it takes people whom are committed to a security-conscious lifestyle to yield that.

Here are some budget-friendly measures, in addition to always being sure to securely lock your doors and windows, to secure your home without causing your own personal great depression.

  1. Use security signs. If you decide to cancel your monitored security system, you don’t have to give up the stickers or sign stakes that you can display in the front yard or on the front door. It might be an empty threat to home invaders, but every second counts during a burglary, and investigating further is usually not worth the risk for them.

  2. Focus on motion detectors. Cameras may initially seem like a better choice, but in private homes, you can be fine with motion detectors, too (unless it's a mansion in Bel Air). These detectors will help to catch movements of any property violators. Plus, they are much cheaper.

  3. Install monitors. If you are still thinking of buying a camera, you should keep in mind that not all surveillance cameras are created equal. Some cameras are tied to digital video recorders, capturing all footage for future investigation. These DVR systems, however, can get pricey for installation and maintenance, not to mention video storage costs as well. A budget-friendly alternative is to set up monitors that don’t record and are connected on a closed circuit network. Again, home invaders won’t know the difference, and you will save yourself those maintenance and storage costs.

  4. Set-up fake cameras. If monitors are outside of your price-range, you can consider fake surveillance cameras. Security retailers offer great replicas that can be strategically positioned to ward off would-be intruders.

  5. Keep the lights on. Use lights inside and out as an effective and inexpensive deterrent. Most burglars prefer the seclusion of shadows and darkness when breaking into a home. While shining outdoor lights aren't a guarantee to safety-guard a home from invasion, most breaking-and-entering criminals will avoid well-lit homes and instead look for those that are darker, easier targets. Likewise with the inside of the house. Leave on a few lights and the television or stereo when you're away in the evening to make a burglar think twice about breaking in. Most burglars prefer to avoid potential confrontation and fear being caught — most will move on if they think people could be inside (or later in the wee hours, if there is a chance that people are awake). When you and your family are away for an extended period, set-up different lights on timers in various rooms of your house to make it look occupied. One single light burning day and night in just one room for several days could signal observant burglars that no one is home. Additionally, have a neighbor or relative pick up your delivered packages, mail, and newspaper if you're to be gone for more than a few days. Better still, temporarily cancel your newspaper subscription and have packages delivered to your office or a friend's home.

  6. A guard dog is an alternative to expensive home security systems | Photo credit: cimeries, Morguefile.com

    A guard dog is an alternative to expensive home security systems | Photo credit: cimeries, Morguefile.com
  7. Get a guard dog. Dogs not only make friendly companions for their owners, but they can double as security guards for your home. They have superior hearing and are quick to hear cars on the driveway and footsteps in the front or backyard. Burglars and home invaders who hear barking dogs early on are more likely to abort a burglary. However, you might want to keep in mind that according to Discovery news, professionally trained guard dogs have skyrocketed to astronomical prices. So in order to be frugal, you’d better buy a puppy and train it yourself. Besides, kids will love it.

  8. Protect your identity. Many people don't realize that burglars can steal your personal information from your home computer and many thieves actually target computers for just this reason. There are a number of programs available that monitor suspicious behavior to your credit and income information. These will help protect you from the anguish, cost, and time-consuming burden of undoing the financial and emotional damage of identity theft before it starts. Identity theft is a multi-billion criminal industry. Take the precautionary steps to protect you from becoming a victim.

One more thing: always lock your vehicle, day or night. A growing number of quick and easy home break-ins occur because a thief was able to effortlessly open a car or truck door and push the button on the homeowner's garage door opener remote. This can happen to anyone in any neighborhood, even during the day, such as during a backyard pool party. Within a few scant minutes, a skilled thief can be in and out of an opened garage with many of your prized possessions snatched up, with no time-consuming picking of locks or tell-tale sounds of breaking glass.

 

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Sources:
NAMIC Online, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, (http://www.namic.org/consumer/crime.asp).
Przybys, John, Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Rude Awakening," (http://www.lvrj.com/living/13746752.html).