Whether you're a homeowner or you rent your home, your personal safety and the security of your home and your property is important to you. If you're on a budget, though, you might feel that there aren't a lot of options available to you to improve your home's security. Aside from the monthly home security monitoring services and expensive home alarm systems, however, there are low-cost home security options available to you that won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Here are a few home security options that will not only help to protect your home, but they'll give you the peace of mind that you're taking proactive measures to protect your person, your family, and your property.
Locking down your windows
While newer windows tend to offer much better protection than older windows, they are still a weak point for your home's security. There are two steps that you can take, however, to better-protect this all-too-common home entry point.
- Cheap locking mechanisms – most windows have locks, but not all window locks are strong or secure. Using a simple 1″x1″ piece of wood to place in your window when it's closed, to prevent sliding, will prevent somebody from breaking your window's locks and simply sliding the window open. You just need a spare 1×1 piece of wood and a saw of some kind to cut it to the right length.
- Window alarms – Window alarms can work with the wooden stick window-locking method to alert you if somebody is trying to gain entry to your home through your window. You can pick up window alarm sensors on sites like Amazon.com for as low as a few dollars, and they're a great investment if you're looking to improve your home's security.
Light up your home at night
One of the best crime deterrents is light — thieves like to lurk around in the darkness, and they predominantly like to strike when you're not at home. Even if you're not at home, however, you can make it seem like you are.
Motion-sensor floodlight systems are very inexpensive — you can pick up an outdoors motion-detection lighting system for under $20 in many locations, and floodlights cost less than the motion-sensor kits. Motion sensor units are preferred for a couple of reasons: they do not run continuously, which on-all-the-time outdoor lighting will increase your monthly electrical costs, and they switch on when motion is detected — this gives the allusion that somebody is home switching on the lights.
If you plan to be away from home for the evening, or even a day or two, security timer switches can help you create the allusion that somebody is home. Timer switches plug into your home's electrical outlets and will switch on the plugged-in appliances at intervals that you select. For instance, you can have your TV switch on at 9pm at night and shut off at 11pm, or you can schedule a lamp or two to turn on and off throughout the evening. If you wanted, you could even set your home's music system to kick on for a couple of hours. With security timers being as cheap as they are, you could pick up several of them so that you could replicate a night's activities, even if you're out of town.
Keep a watchful eye on your property
Another great way to improve home security is by using security cameras. Now, security cameras are more expensive than the other security options listed here, but they an effective addition to the measures already listed. If your home security budget is exceedingly small, you can opt for fake, or ‘dummy', security cameras — imitation security cameras can cost as little as $10 each. If you want to have a real security camera or cameras setup in your home, the prices for those start at around $50 per camera, but can cost much more if you want better options.
Along with powerful outdoor lighting, security cameras — whether they are real or fake — add a lot in terms of the perception of your home's security measures. Just like using security timer switches can create the allusion that you're home even if you're not, security cameras create the allusion that would-be thieves will be filmed if they venture too far onto your property. Security cameras can be a great crime deterrent if used correctly.
Improving your home's security doesn't need to be difficult or expensive. In fact, even with a budget of only $100, and a few hours of your time, you can increase your home's safety exponentially. Not only will these home security options improve your home's actual security — they'll improve your own sense of security, and that's something that you cannot put a price tag on.