How to Beef Up Home Security on the Cheap

As a kid growing up, I lived in a house with security that rivaled Fort Knox. Every exterior opening was fitted with an old-style hook and eye latch, which my mother would latch from the inside each and every time someone left the house.

gloved hands of burglar using crow bar to break into a home

Thankfully, these days, there are much better ways to make our homes safe, secure, and friendly to all who dwell therein.

While it’s impossible to put a price on the value of protecting your home and family, there are inexpensive yet highly effective ways to beef up security to create a strong defense against intruders.

Door Stopper

A strong device, such as the Defender Secuirty Door Reinforcement Lock secures any exterior door in your home so that it will resist more than 800 lbs. of force. That’s a lot of security for less than $30 per door. This device is easy to install, a cinch to engage, and offers tremendous peace of mind.

Patio Doors

We installed Ideal Security Patio Door Security bars on our home’s two sets of sliders. This system works like a dream, and the installation was easy. We can open a slider just enough to provide ventilation even while a door is in the fully locked position. The bar easily swings up and out of the way when we want the door open all the way.

Window Locks

These days, local police typically advise homeowners to install secondary locks so windows cannot be opened by force. Good advice. The type of lock that qualifies is one with a metal clamp that attaches to the frame of the window above the sash.

Defender Security Window Lock is just one example that more than meets the minimum standard for less per window. The lock is adjustable to fit up to one-half-inch thick rails. And you can lock it in a “ventilating position” which allows the windows to be slightly ajar, while completely secure against forced entry.

As you consider window locks. make sure you are getting locks that fit your type of window (sliding, double sash, casement, etc.)

Firearm Safe

If you own a firearm, safety should be your top priority. For the money the AmazonBasics Security Safe with electronic lock and two emergency override keys is a great choice.

This safe comes pre-drilled with the hardware required to bolt it to the bottom of a drawer, floor, shelf or wall. Now you can stack things on top of it and no one will be the wiser. The hinges are even concealed so no giveaways there. This compact safe is a winner in both functionality and price point.

Fake TV

One of the cheapest ways to make it appear that you’re home, even though you may be on a two-week Caribbean cruise, is to leave a television on. The flickering light is a dead giveaway yours is a house burglars don’t want to mess with.

But here’s the problem with that: TVs consume a lot of power. A much better idea is to invest in a FakeTV. It turns itself on at dusk and off at dawn. It consumes the power of a nightlight while filling a room with light just like a TV.

FakeTV accurately simulates scene changes and fades on-screen motion in thousands of colors just like a real TV. This gadget gives the impression that you’re home even when you’re away.

Spotlight Motion Detector

Install this light outside your house to kick your home security efforts up a notch. Mr Beams Wireless LED Spotlight turns on in the presence of any kind of motion, and will do more than just keep your home more secure.

Powered by D-size batteries (not included), it will automatically light the way when you need to empty the trash or take the dog out. The LED light is extremely bright and fully weatherproof. Installation is totally wireless, and the light gives 350 square feet of coverage. Awesome.

Home Security System Package

If rather than piecemeal your home’s security you prefer a complete system complete with optional monitoring, take a look at Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System and service offered by SimpliSafe. This is a wireless system that you order and install yourself in minutes. All the sensors arrive pre-programmed and ready to be mounted. No tools required, no wires and no hassles.

This system does not use phone wires that burglars can easily cut to disarm the house. The system offers monitoring plans starting at $14.99 a month with no contract, and there’s no phone line required.

SimpliSafe uses smart technology including motion detectors, panic button, carbon monoxide detection, wireless keypad, and keychain remote. You’ll even get a few window decals alerting all who might intrude that they need to get out. Fast!


Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.


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13 replies
  1. Atk says:

    Mary, do you have experience with the Fake TV? I wonder if it shows through curtains/blinds/plantation shutters? I wonder if it’s bright enough.

  2. Janice says:

    Have you looked at Eufy security? I was thinking about getting it because there is no monthly fee which my cheapskate self likes and there are no worries about privacy because storage is local and encrypted.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Hi Mary
    Love your site! I think it would have been very helpful had you shown photos of said theft deterrents. Some even with your great explanations, I couldn’t picture the device.☹️

  4. M Fraz says:

    Amazing post. Trust me I have a full understanding of how things work and now I can get the home security in cheap. Thanks once again!

  5. Cally says:

    It’s great to know your home is tight and secure… until you’re locked out! there have been a couple of times i wished ours wasn’t so secure. 😉 In the big picture though, a key hidden outside, or waiting for a family member to get home and let you in, is worth knowing you’re loved ones are safe.

  6. MaryM says:

    Not much cheapnesshere, only a bunch of affiliate links. We use broom handles in the tracks of our sliders and homemade pin locks on the windows. Disappointed in this post.

  7. Kay Jones says:

    I am blessed with good neighbors. My extra house key is hidden on their property, not mine. If I am out of town they watch the house, take in the paper and mail and park their car in my driveway. They know my schedule and how to get me if needed and go in my house while I’m gone to turn lights off and on so it’s now always the same time. I think we need to do things to protect out property, but the reality is that if someone wants in your house, they will find a way. It’s just stuff, not people.

  8. Ed says:

    There are some good tips in the comments already. I have a few to add from my own routine:
    Tip #1 LOCK YOUR DOORS!! – You would think this goes without saying but I have been floored to learn how many people
    don’t lock their houses or cars. If you have an alarm, use it. Even if it isn’t monitored, its still a deterrent and someone
    breaking in has no idea that it hasn’t just dispatched the police.
    #2 Install double keyed deadbolt locks. Do not leave the key on the inside lock when you leave. You won’t find a key to mine
    when I’m not around. If you break in through a window you’ll only leave with what you can carry back out of the window b/c
    you can’t unlock my door from inside without the key. It amazes me to see single-keyed deadbolts with a convenient knob
    just inside a glass pane on a door. A slight tap and you can reach in and open it right up.
    #3 Lock storm doors from inside on exterior doors that you don’t use to leave the house. Want to kick in my side or rear door?
    Now you have to get through the storm door first.
    #4 Make it difficult – my home is small. I have an alarm but a thief could sweep through and clear it out before the police get
    there. Valuables aren’t left in the open. I have a closet that locks. Spare keys, laptop, etc go there when not being used. I
    lock it on my way out. I put as many obstacles as I can between a burglar and my stuff. If you rob my house I’m gonna
    make you work for it.
    #3 Leave lights on if you’ll be gone for an extended time. A timer is great (& cheap) but just leave a lamp on 24/7 if you have
    to rather than leaving your house pitch black.
    #4 Since I no longer have dogs, the gates to my back yard (thieves love to break in out of sight) are locked. My dogs were
    more of a deterrent than any lock could ever be.
    #5 A trusted neighbor has an emergency key (& my alarm code). I made certain that it isn’t labeled in a way that would tell
    anyone other than that neighbor that it is for my house. Likewise, I have several other neighbors’ keys. They’re labeled
    so that I know whose they are but anyone else who found them wouldn’t.

    As others have said – know your neighbors. People in my neighborhood don’t really socialize with each other but we all have each other’s contact info and check in to say hey, I’ll be out of town this weekend. That said, there is one house I wouldn’t dare tell anyone I’ll be out of town b/c it’d likely be them or some acquaintance of theirs that robs me. I load the car as inconspicuously as I can. If someone is out at that neighbor’s house or even some random person walking down the sidewalk, I wait to carry out my bags out to the car.


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