Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their home, especially if they have children or pets. But not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on lavish security equipment and alarm systems, so what can you do to secure your home on a budget? We’ve compiled a few ways you can ensure your home is safe and secure without breaking the bank.
How to boost your home security on a budget
Window bars and dowels
The best way to secure your windows is by using dowels or security bars. If you want to stop intruders from opening a sliding window, the simplest way to do so is by cutting a wooden dowel to the size of the window track. Even if the window isn't locked, the dowel prevents the window from being opened unless it is removed. Alternatively, you can use a window security bar to prevent sliding windows and doors from being opened.
The GT-DB003 from GREATIM is durable, rustproof, and perfect for keeping your windows and patio doors from intruders. Installation is easy, too. The GT-DB003 model installs directly into the window rail or door track without mounting brackets. They also have varying sizes so you can choose the best fit for your door or window.
Another way to ensure your house is kept free from intruders are motion lights. These detect movement within a certain distance from your home and light up, so you can rest easy knowing exactly who, or what is lingering around your home. Burglars do not want to be seen and will be startled once a spotlight is shone upon them. Motion lights are perfect for areas like patios, decks, garages, or any area of your home that may be exposed to the general public.
We like the SOLLA dual-head solar-powered motion light, as it can detect movement from up to 15 metres away. It comes with two bright LED lights, that give off up to 1,500 lumens. While it's not the cheapest motion light on the market, it is solar-powered, meaning it’s cheap to keep and easy to set up.
Door and window sensors
Contact sensors, or chime sensors, typically work by operating a two-piece magnetic sensor that triggers when a door opens, or the sensors separate from each other. Place it in various windows or doors around your home, and you will be alerted once a door is ajar or a window is open. Alternatively, there are also motion sensors, which work a bit differently from window or door sensors, as they simply detect when something approaches the motion sensor. A great location to place the sensor is in the backyard – any intruders who thought of entering through an inconspicuous path will be shocked and deterred by the alarm.
We love the Mirabella Genio Door and Window Sensor, which connects directly to your WiFi and is controllable by your smartphone. It's also reasonably priced at a modest $30. Unlike other sensors, the Mirabella Genio doesn't require a hub. Just download the Mirabella Genio app, and you will receive push notifications each time the sensor is triggered. It's also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can ask things like - “hey Google, is the downstairs window open?” We also like the Mirabella Genio Smart Motion Sensor, which can be configured to trigger with other Mirabella Genio products, like the door and window sensor we just mentioned.
Move wheelie bins away from the house
Wheelie bins are often used by criminals or intruders as climbing aids. In the eyes of a perpetrator, they make the ideal piece of equipment for reaching upper-story windows and tall fences. Having your wheelie bins close to your house or near surrounding fences can make it easier for intruders to access your property or climb into your windows.
Here are some tips for ensuring your wheelie bins are never taken advantage of:
- Attach groups of wheelie bins together so they become harder to move and use as climbing aids
- Leave them inside the garage, shed, or through a locked gate
- Only take your bins out on bin day, and return them as soon as you get the chance
Plant prickly bushes
Another way to deter intruders from your place is by planting or placing prickly, thorny, or dense bushes below your ground-floor windows. Many ornamental plants can add an extra layer of security to your home with their vicious thorns.
A thorny, spiny plant or hedge can make a burglar’s task difficult, as they may be put off by the natural barrier. Not only this, but they run the risk of leaving behind cut skin or torn clothes – which connects them (and potentially their DNA) to the scene of a crime.
If you’re thinking about adding a natural deterrent like a spiny plant or hedge, think about your current escape route. In case of a fire or other emergency, you don’t want to obstruct your escape or cause extra injury.
Cheap security cameras
Security cameras are one of the best ways of keeping track of what happens around your home. If someone is lingering around your home more than they should, security cameras are great because they provide video footage of the perpetrator in action. This proof can be provided to authorities if anything does happen.
While there are some top-of-the-range security cameras that are well worth their money, we want to shine a spotlight on some of the lower price cameras that are excellent choices for their price point.
When talking about budget-friendly security cameras, we love talking about the Reolink Lumus. For around $80 you get 1080p video resolution, motion detection, two-way audio, and a siren. It also has a weather rating of IP65, so it's perfect for outdoors – and works rain, hail, or shine! It also comes with 64GB of local storage, and seven days of cloud storage for free.
Read more on our guide to the best cheap security cameras.
Invest in a safe
If all else fails and an intruder manages to break into your home, the thief will have a difficult time trying to break into the safe if they do not know the code, or have the key. Intruders often search for valuable items, money, and expensive items like jewellery in typical hiding places, such as in the master bedroom. The best thing you can do to protect these valuables is to have a safe and store them in an unsuspecting location.
The Sentry X055 Safe is a cost-effective way to keep all your valuables safe in case of a break-in. While not as advanced as other safes at a higher price point, this safe does the job. You can set your own digital combination but are also given two override keys so you can always have access to your valuables. This safe is made of steel and features two live-locking bolts, concealed hinges, and hardware to bolt it to the floor if needed.
The Master Lock Door Security Bar is portable, easy to install and configure to your own hinged or sliding door. Its able to withstand almost 115kg of force, and can be adjusted from 70cm to 1.1m to fit most sliding or hinged doors. The rubber bottom and 20 gauge steel construction mean that the security bar provides a secure grip on your door and full contact with the floor without scratching.
Window security films
Many people opt for window bars or grilles to deter intruders and prevent break-ins through their windows. These bars can be quite pricey and can change the overall appearance of your home.
Instead of obtrusive window bars to prevent break-ins, consider a window security film. Window security films are visually appealing and affordable – all you need to do is place them over your existing windows. The security film is quite tough and is engineered to strengthen the glass behind it. Security window film can make your windows more difficult to penetrate and will slow intruders down on their quest to break into your home. They may give up and move on to easier targets, especially if you already have motion sensors, window sensors, or other security measures that have already alerted you to their presence. The tough nature of the window security film will give you more time to respond (up to 3 extra minutes). During this time you can exit, turn on any security alarms, or call the police.
Up your protection from intruders with BDF S4MC Window Security Film. It's relatively affordable and reduces cleanup time in the event of a break-in. It's easy to install, and is perfect for those who are renting, as you can just peel it off like the screen protector on a phone.