10 Cheap Ways to Protect Your Home

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If you want to keep you and your family secure, home security should be a top priority. In a post-crisis environment, people will be hungry for your resources (just look at how they act during Black Friday). In fact, people will be willing to kill for what they want. All it takes is someone seeing you stock up on guns and other resources to get them interested in burglarizing your home.

Fortunately, there are cheap ways to protect your home. In this article, we’ll talk about the 10 most effective ways to do it while staying on budget.

Top 10 List

#10: Keep Your Yard Trimmed

Believe it or not, trimming your hard can go a long way towards deterring potential burglars. Psychologically, an untrimmed yard makes burglars think that you’re not home enough to take care of your yard. As a result, they’ll be more likely to break in. Even if you’re a busy person, try to keep your yard trimmed. It doesn’t require that much effort, and will go a long way towards helping you protect your home and discourage a break-in. Also, make sure that all greenery looks neat and tidy.

#9: Use Timers on Lights

Answer the following question honestly: if you were going to break into a home, would you break into one with the lights on or off? Most people would go with the latter. That’s why I recommend using timers on your lights. Basically, these work by periodically turning the lights in your home on and off. That way, even if you and your family are away from your home on a Saturday night, it still looks like someone is home. For as little as $12, you can buy these straight from Amazon. In short, there’s no better way to protect your home than by doing this.

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#8: Use Wooden Dowels on Sliding Doors

Many homes around the world have sliding doors that lead to the backyard. Although they have latch-type locks, they are still prone to being forcefully opened. This also applies to windows that slide. If someone pulls hard enough, they’re going to open.

However, if you place a wooden dowel on the bottom of your sliding door, it immediately eliminates the problem. Wooden dowels cost around $1, and can be purchased at any hardware or craft store. If you’re on a budget and need to protect your home, this is one of the better ways to do it.

#7: Reinforce Doors

One of the most common ways that intruders get into homes is through the front door. Knowing this, it would be in your best interest to secure your doors as much as possible. The best way to do this would be to invest in a door frame with hinge reinforcements, similar to the Door Armour MAX reinforcement hardware shown below. For approximately $100 (and actually a little less), you can dramatically increase the strength of your door frame, making it almost impossible to be kicked in. Note, whenever someone kicks in your door knowing your home, they’re most likely prepared to kill you and your family. Otherwise, they would have taken a quieter or more strategic approach.

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#6: Install Motion Detection Lights

Another way to protect your home effectively is to install motion detection lights. As their names imply, these lights will automatically turn one when they sense movement. This is good for a few reasons. First, upon seeing the lights turn on, a burglar may become startled and run off. Secondly, it gives you more time to prepare. A descent motion detection light won’t cost more than $30 or so. There are fairly easy to install as well. It’s recommended that you place a motion detection light at each corner of your home. That way, you’ll have all angles covered.

#5: Never Hide Keys Outside

This is arguably one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to secure their home. I mean, I get why people do it (they want to have a backup key in case they forget theirs inside). However, this is a very bad idea if you want to protect your home.  First off, hiding a key under a flower pot or the front mat is very predictable.

This will be one of the first places intruders look before breaking in. The other reason why I advise against this is that someone may have seen you do it. If someone saw where you hid your spare key, you’re basically saying, “Come on in!” A better idea would be to leave a spare key with a trusted relative if you need to have a spare key at all.

#4: Always Use Window Shades and Blinds

Investing in blinds and window shades can keep prying eyes out of your home. Think about it: if someone looks through your window and sees that shiny MacBook Pro sitting on the couch, this could motivate them to steal it.

By having window shades installed, you prevent this temptation from ever occurring in the first place. Also, by covering your windows, burglars won’t be able to plan their point of entry or how they’ll get around, making them less likely to break in. When learning how to protect your home, this is a cheap and super-valuable tip to consider.

#3: Install “Dummy” Surveillance Cameras

If you can’t afford real security cameras, then buy fake ones. Many smaller stores do this all the time. They install fake cameras to save money. And guess what? Many store owners say that they work just as effectively at discouraging people from stealing. We all know that installing real security cameras can be expensive.

That’s why fake cameras can be a great alternative. Install one (like the WALI Bullet Dummy model shown below) on your front porch and you have just added another layer of security to make someone think twice before breaking in. There are some fake security cameras that are solar powered that help keep a blinking LED light going (to help it look more realistic). These fake models look strangely real, and are worth investing in I think.

(NOTE: When this article first appeared in 2016, a discussion ensued about the efficacy of fake cameras. Professional thieves aren't likely to be thwarted by this; however, it is possible that it could deter someone who is not quite as savvy.)

protect your home
protect your home

#2: Buy Fake Alarm System Decals

Similar to tip #3, if you buy fake alarm system decals, intruders will be less likely to break in. You’ll appreciate the fact they only cost about $10 and take seconds to install. But keep in mind that if you’re going to do this, you need to do it right.

For example, never buy a fake alarm system decal that doesn’t display a real brand (or no brand at all). This is a huge mistake to make when learning how to protect your home. It’s too easy for a burglar to Google search the company displayed on the fake sign. If they determine that it’s fake, your plan is ruined.

Another take on this is the sign posted on driveways that would definitely keep ME away - those "No Trespassing - Property under Video Surveillance - Beware of the Dogs" signs. One hint that there are dogs behind that fence would keep me from even walking up to knock on the door with a friendly "hello."

#1: Don’t Update Your Location on Social Media

The final tip I’ll leave you with is to never update your location on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. If you do this, you’re asking for your home to be burglarized. For instance, if you update your FB with a message that says, “Cancun is beautiful. Back to the states in five days!” you’re basically sending an invitation for people to break into your home. You can’t protect your home if you’re not there! As tempting as it may be, wait to share photos of your trip until you get home. It’s simply the smart thing to do.

How to Protect Your Home – Bottom Line

When learning how to protect your home, think about which of the above tips would benefit your home the most. You don’t necessarily need to apply all of the ones above. Simply pick the ones that you believe are most effective for your home. Now you know that even if you’re on a budget, there are still ways to protect your home. It’s all about being creative and using your wits. In the future, I’ll be sure to talk about more advanced ways to secure your house, as well as what to do when someone actually makes their way inside. Thanks for reading.

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