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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

Home Security on a Shoestring Budget


Beware of Dog, Looters will be Shot, NRA, etc. Even home security signage is a good idea. Companies will still sell you stickers even if you don't own one of their systems. You want to make potential invaders think you're a crotchety old man with a gun, and you better run! Be the friendly neighbor, though! Signs won't protect you in court, so always know your local laws and rights!

Light it up!

Solar motion and dusk till dawn lights are cheap and can easily be affixed to your gutters or the exterior of your home or garage. Intruders don't like to be lit up when trying to sneak into your home. Use light timers when you plan to be away and set the random timer over the same time daily.

Make some noise!

A radio, weather radio, or even a police scanner will provide sporadic and unpredictable noise in your home. Never let a potential burglar know that you're not home. Check if you can turn your TV on a timer to go ON for an hour or two in the evenings if you plan to be away for a vacation.

Report unusual activity!

Make a police report if you suspect anything unusual in your neighborhood. The more people are aware, the less likely a person will succeed in their crime. Also, it might be a good idea to communicate with your neighbors if you see anything suspicious.

Don't leave valuables in the open!

An age-old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind!" When it comes to home security, this is no different. Don't leave bikes, toys, or anything out overnight. Don't leave valuables in your car and especially on your seat. Always lock up your gear indoors before night falls. This goes for garage doors as well.

Stay off social media!

Don't share images of valuable things on the internet. Curious criminals might wonder what else you might have. If you're going on vacation, don't announce it on your feed for the world to see. Wait until you return to share your adventures with others.

Fake Cameras

A potential robber will not get up close to the camera to check if it's real. They will see it and keep moving on. Dollar Stores sell these for $1.25.

Keep Your Yard Cleaned

Bushes and shrubs should be trimmed regularly. This allows more minor spots for potential criminals to hide while they plan to break into your home or car.

Install Cheap Door and Window Alarms

Dollar Store sells window and door alarms for $1.25. At this writing, you can buy 10 of them on Amazon for just under 20 bucks. Bells on doorknobs are another way to send a potential thief running. If they open the door successfully, have something to alert them on what could be going on.

More Random TIPS for When You're on Vacation

Don't let your home get marked!

Ask a neighbor to remove anything hung on your doorknob or shoved in your door. Well-meaning churches and local lawn care businesses will occasionally hang a sign on your door to advertise their services. Sometimes, it could be a criminal with a fake company trying to see if you're home. A promotional door hanger will alert potential bandits that you're not home.

Hire Lawn Care

If you're going to be gone longer than a week, you'll want to have your lawn well-groomed. Long grass can give you away.


Ask a friend or another neighbor to take your trash to the curb. Offer them your empty can if they plan on doing some spring cleaning that week you're gone.

Your car keys

You can use car keys as an emergency weapon; they can also be used as an alarm. Keep keys next to you at night. If an intruder invades, set your car alarms off. Your neighbors and anyone nearby will be looking to see what's going on. It might be enough to send a bandit running for the hills.

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