Are you looking to install a home security system on a budget? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you save money on your home security system.
Customize your system
One way to save money on home security is to customize your system by cutting unnecessary add-ons. While many components are typical in home security systems, you may not need all of the extras. Carefully weigh your need for each item. For example, door and window sensors typically only need to be installed on ground-level doors and windows. It is unlikely that a burglar will climb up to a second-story window to break in. When customizing your system, consider which of the following are absolutely necessary:
- Door and window sensors
- Glass break detectors
- Indoor motion sensors
- Outdoor motion-sensing lights
- A central control panel
- Yard signs and window decals
- Smart applications
- Doorbell cameras
- Outdoor cameras
If you have door and window sensors, do you need indoor motion sensors in every room? If your primary goal is to protect your home and its residents, how many outdoor cameras do you need? And do those outdoor cameras need features like color night vision? Asking yourself these types of questions will help you evaluate what’s absolutely necessary and where you can save money by doing without.
Finally, one of the most important questions to consider when customizing your system is whether you plan to have a professionally installed, hard-wired system or a DIY system. A top-of-the-line professional system is not in everyone’s budget. A DIY home security system can be significantly cheaper in terms of up-front costs.
Shop around for the best prices on system components
Another way to lower the cost of your home security system is to shop around for the best prices on each specific component. When it comes to security-system equipment, prices can vary greatly depending on brand and model.
For example, if you know you want outdoor video cameras, a quick search on Amazon reveals options from a low cost of $25 to kits priced over $500. A plug-and-go DIY outdoor video camera like a Google Nest Security Camera or a Blink Outdoor Camera Kit will usually be cheaper than a professionally-installed Vivint camera system. Smart home devices, such as doorbell cameras, can vary from $50 to over $125. Even the price of window sensors can range from about $15 per sensor to over $60 per sensor.
Watch for discounts, special pricing, and deals
In addition to shopping around for the best prices, consumers should be aware of discounts, special pricing, and deals offered by security equipment companies, installers, and monitoring companies.
Monitoring companies often offer prepayment discounts if customers pay for a year’s worth of monitoring upfront. Other companies offer discounts to veterans, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.
- Ring offers a 20% discount to military, first responders, and medical personnel.
- Vector Security is another company that offers discounts to military personnel and veterans, providing a free basic security system, 15% off additional equipment, and 20% off of monthly monitoring costs.
- The Vivint Gives Back program offers discounts for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
In addition to offering discounts to specific groups, many security companies also run special promotions and offers throughout the year. By watching a company’s web page and social media accounts, you will be aware of ways to save money and lower your home security costs. Promotions might include free installation, a free month of monitoring, or discounts and deals on products.
Lower your homeowners’ insurance cost with a home security system
Did you know that insurance companies will often offer you a discount on homeowners’ insurance when you set up a home security system? Check with your insurance provider to see if you qualify for a discount. Savings will vary depending on your provider, but a professionally monitored system can qualify you for a discount of 2–20% on your homeowners’ insurance, depending on the level of sophistication of your system. Insurers like Progressive, Liberty Mutual, and Allstate mention this discount on their websites.
Save on monitoring
Finally, consider whether you need a professionally monitored home security system. Many DIY systems can be self-monitored through smartphone apps. If a door or window is opened when the system is armed, the user’s cell phone is sent an alert. An unmonitored system can still emit a loud alarm, gaining the attention of your neighbors and startling the intruder, but it will not call the local police department. If you live in a close-knit neighborhood, an unmonitored system may be enough for peace of mind.
If you choose to utilize a monitored system, there are a few ways to save on monitoring costs. Monthly monitoring costs can vary from $20 a month to closer to $50 per month. Look for an affordable home security monitoring service that fits your needs. Companies often have different tiers of monitoring services, which can significantly impact the price.
Also, be aware of your contract. Some providers offer yearly contracts that auto-renew on a particular date—locking you into another year or two of service. This may become an issue if you decide to sell your home but still have months or a year left in your monitoring contract and could result in having to pay a hefty cancellation fee. Read the fine print!
You may prefer a monitoring service that does not require a contract. These no-contract plans allow you to cancel whenever you want to and avoid a long-term commitment and potential penalties. Month-to-month contracts are typically associated with DIY installations and smart home devices rather than a traditional wired security system.
A home security system doesn’t have to break your budget. By customizing your system to include only the add-ons you need, shopping around for the best prices, researching discounts and deals, and lowering your homeowners’ insurance and monitoring costs, you can keep your home and family safe while saving money.
If you already have a home security system and want to see what it will cost to cancel it, be sure to check out our guide.
Donna Pittman is a freelance writer with a passion for educating consumers about new products, especially in tech. She has been a writer for over 15 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in English. She has written for a variety of industries, including home security, commercial security, and solar energy. When she’s not researching or writing an article, she is probably bargain-hunting or hiking.
Eric Paulsen is a writer, editor, and strategist who has been creating content in the B2B, healthcare, FinTech, home security, and government sectors for more than five years. He holds an MFA in creative writing and lets everyone in his life hang that over his head. When he doesn’t have his hands deep in some piece of content, he’s either watching baseball or praying for the offseason to end quickly.