Saving Money on Your Home Security System

Lately I’ve been considering investing in a home security system for my home, and I’ve been researching some of my options for doing it. I want to be secure, but I also want to feel like I got a good deal.

There are several main reasons I’m considering it:

  • Improved Security at my House
  • Saving Money on my Homeowners Insurance
  • Simple Home Automation Features
home security system image

After researching a few things that I’m looking for, here is what I’m doing for comparison: I want to have my doors and windows alarmed, and have a motion detector for my family room due to the many windows. I also want to get a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm to monitory safety. These two features are what will give me about a 20% discount on my homeowners insurance, or about $200 per year. Finally, I’m into the home automation, and would like to turn on some lights from my iPhone.

The Standard Security Solution

The standard home security system solution has been to traditionally go with a large company like ADT. These companies offer a wide variety of home security systems that cover everything I want, including burglary and fire, but charge much more for home automation options. They typically charge $1,500 to $2,000 to install the alarm system, and every home automation option is an additional add-on.

These companies typically start their home monitoring at about $35 per month, but these big companies do make you sign a one to three year contract. This means that you’re stuck with them for a long time, even if you move.

Bundling Your Security

A new way to go in home security is to bundle your security with your cable or phone company. For example, Cox Communications offers home security, and promotes it as a great way to bundle it with your cable and phone. This option is about the same for the installation, but it does include a lot of the home automation options I’m looking for at the same price.

Their prices are also about the same, at about $30 per month, but they don’t force you into any type of contract, so you’re free to cancel at any time.

The Do-It-Yourself Option

Finally, if you really want to save money on your home security, there is the do-it-yourself option. This is something that I’ve actually considered, and there are two main ways to go about it.

First, you can go with a company like SimpliSafe, which offers easy to install do-it-yourself home security systems that are also monitored. They offer easy-to use technology, and they have no contracts, which is great. Plus, their monitoring is only about $15 per month, and the package to install in my home would only run about $500. It doesn’t have the home automation, but the price is so much less.

The second route is to go with a place like Home Automation, and buy all the pieces yourself to install. There is no monitoring, but you can get a good alarm system for a cheap price. Plus, you can add in as much home automation functions as you want, since you’re building your system yourself.

When my wife (fiance at the time) and I lived apart while she was finishing school, we did opt for the do-it-yourself option so I’m fairly familiar with those systems. We also had it monitored and it worked out great. I’m not sure the direction I’m going to go yet, but it’s good to understand all of the options available!

Readers: do you have a home security system and how did you decide which company/package to go with?

Picture by FreeDigitalPhotos.

About the Author

By , on Nov 16, 2012
Andy Tenton
Andy is a 30-something New Yorker who turned his financial life around. He took charge of his finances, got out of debt, and is now working his way toward financial success. He is the publisher of WorkSaveLive.com.

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{18 Comments}

  1. Diane says:

    We have ADT and I’ve been happy with them overall. They installed the basic system for FREE, but it doesn’t have all the optional bells & whistles. For some cost you could add features that you want. I’ve been happy with their monitoring, as they call whenever there’s a problem and ask whether to notify the police, which has worked great for us.

    Never turned out to be anything, but our house was vandalized twice before I got the system, so I think it’s worked as a deterrent with the signs & stickers placed on the windows.

    I am past the 3 year contract. When they advised us of a rate increase, I called & told them that I needed a better price or I would go with a different monitoring company. They gave us a rate of $25 per month, with no contract, so I’m satisfied.

    When you’re shopping around don’t hesitate to ask for free installation or upgrades, or for a better rate!

  2. When I lived in NJ we had a security system. It was mainly for the windows and doors, but it did have a motion sensor for when you were ‘away’ from the house. It was something that brought peace of mind, but I’m not sure if it kept us more safe.

    Now I live in a very safe area, and sometimes even leave the doors unlocked… I guess it depends on where you live on deciding on a security system.

  3. We have a cheap system that just makes noise. It isn’t monitored. My office has a good alarm that contacts the police if it is set off. We used to have lots of break ins, but haven’t since we installed the alarm.

  4. Mrs.CBB says she used to have one in her old house because of the basement windows being big. She worried someone might break in and our house now has one as well. Personally I don’t think it’s worth the money for our house but for some people who want the security it’s peace of mind and if that’s what they want then get it. The rest of the stuff I have covered under contents insurance with my insurance company. Mr.CBB

  5. Mackenzie says:

    We had a home security system when we had our home (we no longer live there). It came with the house which was a new construction home. We loved it and it gave us such security and peace of mind, especially on nights when my husband worked late and I was by myself.

    • Andy says:

      I think it’s a must if the wife/female is going to be at home by herself, especially if there are kids! I work a lot of nights and would have a lot of peace knowing that there is some protection between an intruder and my family.

  6. Mike says:

    The best home security system I ever had was the 110+ pound German Shepard we had when I was a kid. His name was Schultz. Yes, it cost several hundred dollars to feed, care for, and entertain Schultz, but not only did we avoid any home burglary problems, Schultz also provided endless hours of fun and love!

    • Andy says:

      LOL. My 160 lb Bullmastiff would probably scare anybody away, but he’s too much of a baby to really do anything. He’s scared of boxes and mirrors, so I’m skeptical that he’d actually attack if somebody did come in.

  7. Debt RoundUp says:

    I have one with a company I am not going to mention because they are horrible. It is monitored, but I am going to move to the DIY method. I know how to install them and I like the ability to add anything that I want, when I want. Plus, I can bring the system to another home if I move. I hate contracts, so I try to reduce the amount I have by any means necessary.

    • Andy says:

      I’ve always been curious as to how well these places actually monitor things. I only imagine a person sleeping behind a cubicle in the middle of the night…

  8. AverageJoe says:

    We have one installed and monitored by ADT. It’s a mixed bag: I often think it’s a waste of money, but then a neighbor was just robbed in the middle of the day a few weeks ago. I hate that line item on my budget, though. The thought of paying “protection money” every month isn’t one I enjoy.

    • Andy says:

      It’s sad what our world has come to. Too bad there are people that think it’s okay to take from others. I personally feel that it’s become a necessity though to make sure your home/family is secure as it can be.

  9. I don’t have one but my parents do. They skipped over ADT to go with a smaller company. I am not sure if they are regional or local, but they only charged $500 for the install and monitoring is $30/month. If I were to get a system from them the install fee would be waived and my monthly fee would be $20/mo.

    Of course going with a company requires that you vet them out to make sure they aren’t scammers. After all, you’re letting these people full access to your house.

  10. We had a home security system given to us as a part of our mortgage when we bought our house. We had it for a year and it was a pain the neck. We ended up giving up on it because the company simply hassled us and they would also not give us quotes for renewal without sending someone out to give us their pitch.

    I did not know that cable companies are starting to offer similar services. We currently have our tv through DirectTv, but have been thinking of changing. It’s something we’ll have to look into.

    • Andy says:

      It’s crazy to see how many companies are trying to get into it and bundle all of their services. The more they can get you hooked on, the harder it is to leave them!

  11. We don’t have one but I seriously consider one every time we watch a Dateline special. I feel pretty secure in our town and neighborhood but I dont think that anyone should feel too safe. You never know what can happen.

    • Andy says:

      I feel secure in my town as well, but times have certainly changed. I clearly recall 20+ years ago when my grandparents would leave their doors unlocked throughout the night. I thought they were nuts! lol

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