13 Easy Home Security Upgrades Under $13

A home intrusion can happen to anyone. Improving your ability to prevent intrusions is one way to easily bolster your security. Knowing what to do during an intrusion is another important step. The easy home security upgrades can help prevent of intrusions or be an asset during an intrusion. The majority of them are preventative, and it is always a good idea to reduce your risk of burglary. Here are 13 easy home security upgrades under $13:

1/13 Automatic Timers

Timers can be most effective when hooked up to lights and televisions. Set timers to turn on when you leave as a cheap burglar deterrent. Setting lights or TVs to come on at dusk and stay on for a few hours while you are away is one of the more common methods to deter burglars. If your house is being cased, a burglar may be able to tell by the exact timing that a timer is used, but many burglars are opportunists that will not study your home for long periods.

2/13 Document Belongings

Document Belongings

While documenting everything you own of value will not prevent a home intrusion, it is very helpful if you do become a victim. An easy way to do this is to record a video ‘tour’ of your home and save it in a safe place where you can access it if there is a burglary. As always, redundancy is good in this situation, since a back up video will help if the original video is stolen.

3/13 Stand-alone Window/Door Alarms

A two pack of alarms can set you back only $10. Not only are they pesky noisemakers for intruders, but if someone looks in your home they also appear similar to networked alarms. Visibility is just as key for placement on these, since you want to install them to deter intruders just as much as alert you to them.

4/13 Burner Phone

Whether you have an old phone that you no longer use, or purchase a cheap one, an extra phone kept charged in a safe room is a good idea. If there is an intrusion, or any reason you may need to call 911, this phone can call without any minutes or a plan. Even if the nearby cell tower does not show up, the towers are obligated by law to take 911 calls from any cell phone, regardless of carrier, plan, or minutes.

5/13 Well Known Security Company Signs

You can get a generic security company sign, or shop on eBay for an actual sign from one of the leading security companies, such as ADT or CPI. A recognizable security company on a sign is much more effective than a generic sign, but something is better than nothing if you cannot find a sign. Burglars are three times more likely to target a house without a security system, so this is a cheap deterrent to not make their target list.

6/13 Adopt a Dog

Adopt a Dog

Burglars must be cat people, because they do not like dogs. While adopting a dog will cost you more than $12 in the long run, adopting instead of buying can be as cheap as free depending on the shelter. If the shelter charges an adoption fee in your area, check out classifieds to adopt from owners looking to get their pet to a good new home. If owning a dog is completely out of the picture- it shouldn’t keep you from putting up a “beware of dog” sign or even leaving a dog bowl in the back yard. Intruders are likely not to take any chances if there is even a hint that a dog may be home.

7/13 Fake Security Camera

Putting up fake security camera is a great deterrent. While IP cameras are relatively cheap and easy to use- the fake ones are cheaper and do not require any recording or monitoring. They provide the same prevention security as regular camera, as long as they are placed in a visible area.

8/13 Motion Light

Motion lights are a good security upgrade for any house. Using motion detection to illuminate dark areas near your house can provide advance notice if something is there. Triggered motion lights can spook intruders, and are also useful for every day activities.

9/13 Diversion Safe

A Diversion safe can keep small items safe and in an accessible area. There are many different kinds, so make sure to get a diversion safe large enough to stash valuables, but that makes sense with the rest of your decor.

10/13 Trim Your Hedges

Trim Your Hedges

This is more of a time investment than costing money. Tall bushes near your house and especially near windows provide intruders with spots to hide when scoping out your house. Having holly bushes or other bushes of the ‘spiky’ variety do the opposite though, and are great to plant under windows. Either way, you want your bushes to be lower to the ground so a person cannot hide behind them while scoping out your home.

11/13 Door plates

Door strike plate

A door plate can greatly increase your entryway security. Everyone knows kicking a door just to the side of the handle can get you inside. This one piece strike plate makes that much harder. If you don’t have the latch/deadbolt combo, they make them for single latches as well. They take less than an hour to install and almost eliminate a preferred method of entry for burglars. We go even further in depth in this review on the best door reinforcement options:

The Best Door Reinforcement Kit for Home Security

 12/13 Door Bars

Door bar

Whether you use a broom handle in a sliding door, or one of these telescoping door bars for a conventional door, door bars can be a quick security improvement. While the telescoping bar is good for regular doors, a dowel rod or broom handle is a must-have for sliding doors. Sliding doors are targeted often since the locks built into them are not very good.

13/13 Knowledge

Knowledge chess pieces

Upgrading your home security knowledge is not just free- it’s one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Situational awareness is paramount in keeping your home secure. Knowing your risk is an important step in preventing home invasions. Clarity, and calm under pressure are important if an intruder makes it inside your home. Protecting yourselves and your loved ones is top priority, and knowing how to handle yourself is something you should practice. Prepare today for what is possible tomorrow.

The Final Word

Hopefully at least one of these 13 home security upgrades is worth your time considering. If not, it is always good practice to review your home security plans and equipment for weak points. Staying in touch with local police or neighbors to be informed on current crime activity is also important. Stay safe and stay ready.

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13 Easy Home Security Upgrades Under $13

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

2 thoughts on “13 Easy Home Security Upgrades Under $13

  • Thanks for the great ideas! I’m sure a fake security company yard-sign and fake home security cameras would be just as effective as having a legitimate home security system installed. As soon as potential burglar scopes out your property and see the camera and yard decal, they’re definitely going to skip that house and move on.

  • Great info!!!! I will most definitely use, most of these at home. As to the “Security” part..in particular 8/13….DO NOT USE the motion detector light in the picture…the ones that Rite Aid/Walgreens etc. carry….they only last a month at best before the battery inside DIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know.. I’ve bought quite a few of them and found out the hard way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Costco has some nice ones that are solar and not to expensive!!(<$25) Security must be something you do not scrimp on!!!!!!!!!!!!


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