One thing that my husband and I did not do much of after purchasing our first home together in 2009 is survey the property for any security weaknesses and address them.
We know that we do not want to purchase a security system, but there are still frugal alternatives that we can do in order to increase our protection and make sure that we are safe in our home.
Below are seven alternatives to home security systems in case you cannot afford or do not wish to purchase the installation and upkeep of a home security system.
Frugal Alternatives to Home Security Systems
- Proudly Show Off a Home Security Sticker: Did you know that you can find home security signs and stickers in the signs section of your home improvement store? Proudly displaying these in a window, front lawn, or other prominent location can deter an intruder from entering your property. You can even purchase fake/decoy alarm boxes to scare them off. Sometimes, imitation works.
- Increase Your Outdoor Lighting: You can install motion sensor lighting, or just regular outdoor lighting to decrease the likelihood of an intruder going onto your property. Take a half an hour or so one night and walk around your home and garage to identify the areas with shadows. Also, identify areas where installing a light will be convenient. You want to account for as much of these shadow spaces as possible.
- Install a Dog Alarm Sensor: Getting a dog just for the sake of extra home security probably does not save you any money from an alarm system after you take food, medications, and purchase price  into account (but it sure does add to coziness and companionship!). Instead, if you only want a dog for the sake of dissuading potential intruders, you can purchase and install something like the motion sensitive Doberman Entry Defense . When a door or window is opened, this alarm will set off sounding like a Doberman dog (the opening of a protected window or door breaks this connection of two magnets that have formed an electrical circuit).
- Install Window Security Locks on Your Ground Level Windows: If you have ground-level windows in your home (we have two in our master bedroom), then you probably want to purchase window security locks you install from the inside for extra protection. True, the burglar may eventually just break the window. However, these could offer you a few precious minutes or seconds to be awakened, turn the light on, and call the police.
- Take Advantage of your HOA and Community Benefits: We pay an annual $450 fee to our Homeowner’s Association to cover the costs of various amenities such as the upkeep to the pool and community club down the street. It turns out that part of our money also goes towards paying a security guard to periodically drive through the streets. If you have a similar set up, be sure to inform this security person and/or your HOA before you leave for any trips so that they can pay extra attention to your property while you are gone. If you have trusted neighbors, friends, and family members, it’s a good idea to also inform them of your travel and ask that they periodically drive by or stop in to make sure everything is okay. You can return the favor to them when they take their next trip.
- Change Your Locks: If you have just purchased your home, it is a good idea to change your locks and/or doorknobs. This is because you have no idea who has a key to this house. It could be a previous babysitter, family member, person who knew the house was on the market, dog sitter, etc. In order to safeguard yourself and your family, take the time and money to start fresh with keys. This way you will always know who has a key to your house.
- Protect Your Perimeter: Castles used to have moats circling their entrances to make it much more difficult for people to invade. Does your house have similarly discouraging elements to keep intruders out (though on a much smaller scale)? This could be prickly bushes/cacti/roses by your windows or other physical stumbling blocks that will help to keep an intruder at bay.
If you do still want to install an alarm security system, be sure to check with your homeowner’s insurance company to see if they will discount your insurance for doing so. This could help to offset the cost of the installation and monthly payments.
Another good idea is to keep informed about the crimes in your neighborhood and area. Scope out any local crime in your neighborhood and stay informed using websites like mylocalcrime.com  and CrimeReports.com . Finally, take a look at these wacky home security money safes  to keep jewels, documents, and money safely hidden in the event that a burglar or intruder does enter your property.