Making your home safer for less

Low Cost Home Security Tactics

by Elli Bishop

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Sometimes the costs associated with home security can be daunting. When you buy a home security system, you're looking at a monthly monitoring fee, plus an installation fee, plus any equipment charges. Considering the financial commitment, buying a home security system may not be the right home security tactic for everyone. Although a home security system is a great asset for those who can afford it, there are lots of ways you can fortify your home without breaking the bank. Here are some cost-efficient strategies for making your home a safer place.


Your neighbors don't have to be your best friends, but it's a good idea to reach out to them, since your neighbors can be your first line of defense against burglars. If you have a tight-knit neighborhood, it's easier to spot strangers lurking around and to alert the other neighbors of suspicious activity. If a neighbor hears you calling for help or if they hear a suspicious noise coming from your house, they're more likely to check on you if you have a rapport with them. So, if you haven't already, head on over to your neighbor's with a plate of cookies and introduce yourself.

Outdoor Motion-Sensor Lights

Burglars prefer to work without being seen. Make it difficult for potential intruders to lurk around your home at night with motion-sensor lights. When someone approaches the perimeter of your home, bright lights will turn on. If anyone nears your doors or windows, the bright lights will come on, startling potential intruders and encouraging them to leave. Aside from scaring away intruders, these motion-sensor lights can also save you money on your electricity bill, since you don't have to worry about leaving a porch or driveway light on all night.

Yard Signs and Window Stickers

A sign or window sticker warning that your home is armed by a security system may deter burglars, even if your home doesn't really have a security system. However, some signs and stickers look more believable than others, and if you have a fake company logo on your yard sign, it's pretty easy nowadays for a determined thief to whip out their smartphone, Google the brand, and see if it's a legitimate company or not.

Trimmed Yard

Untamed bushes and shrubs can be an ideal hiding place for burglars. When burglars look for homes to target for a break-in, they look for tall trees and untrimmed greenery that can help conceal them while they break in through a door or window. A simple and very cheap way that you can help deter burglars is to keep up on your yard work. When a burglar looks at your home and yard, you want them to see that there's nowhere to hide.

Slideshow: Cheap Home Security

Real or Fake Dog

Intruders hate dealing with noisy dogs because they attract attention. However, there are risks associated with using a dog as a security measure, since burglars sometimes hurt dogs in order to keep them from barking. An alternative is a fake barking dog. A fake barking dog includes a few different pieces of equipment. You place a sensor outside your home, and when it detects motion, a speaker inside your home plays dog barking noises. Typically, noisy dogs are not a burglar's friend, and it may make a burglar think twice about breaking into your home.

Timed Indoor Lights

You can set timed indoor lights to make it look like you're home, even when you're miles away. Burglars prefer to break into homes when the occupants are nowhere to be seen. It's less of a hassle. If you have timed lights, you can set your lights to turn on or off at certain times of day or night. So, when you're on vacation or getting home late at night, it will appear that someone is home, which can make potential intruders think twice.


A FakeTV gives the impression that you're home and watching TV in your dark or dimly lit home. It's a small box that emits light to mimic the color and scene transitions of a television program. When someone sees the television-like glow from the outside of your home, it seems that someone is home watching TV. Since burglars prefer to steer clear of homes when occupants are there, a FakeTV can possibly deter burglars from targeting your home.

All of the above suggestions are much cheaper than a home security system. If you're financially strapped, these cost-efficient safety tactics should help deter intruders from your home. However, a home security system may provide the real peace of mind that other security measures can't, so it may be a good idea to start saving your pennies and looking into getting one.

Reviewed June 2017

Elli writes for, an honest security system reviews site on a mission to help make your home and community safer. For more information about motion sensors, see The Beginner's Guide to Motion Sensors. Visit for more safety tips and for information on various security system companies.

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