Investing in a home security system may not seem like something you have the budget for, especially as a new homeowner. However, having a security system offers lots of benefits and financial perks. Residential security systems can save you some hassle when submitting insurance claims or reduce the risk of property damage. Home security systems also don’t have to be a huge investment—you can find an increasing number of DIY solutions. And as technology improves, so do the choices you have available to monitor the efficiency and security of your home.
If you’ve been putting off getting a home security system because of the cost, here are a few ways you can improve your home security without breaking the bank.
 Install a DIY Security System
There are several excellent options on the market for DIY home security systems that don’t require much technical expertise to install. Many providers of security systems offer the opportunity to purchase the components separately to build out a comprehensive security system over time, allowing homeowners to spread out the up-front equipment costs. For example, you can begin a with a doorbell camera as a first step, then gradually integrate other security measures like electronic door locks or motion sensors when you have some extra cash to invest.
It’s not always the best option, but self-monitoring may be a good interim approach until you have the budget to devote to a monthly monitoring fee. Many companies have modest installation fees, and the equipment costs aren’t prohibitive, but the monitoring fees do add up over time—most monitoring fees range anywhere from $15 to $60 a month.
Fortunately, many of the makers of popular home security cameras and smart home devices like thermostats, door locks, and carbon monoxide detectors have apps that allow you to monitor and manage alerts on your mobile device or view live streams at a distance. These apps place the responsibility of notifying authorities in your hands but can be a boon for your bottom line.
 Integrate Your Smart Home Devices
Security systems can act as hubs for your smart home, controlling your smart home devices from one interface that keeps your home running smoothly and efficiently. Modern smart home technology is doing more than just making the daily lives of homeowners convenient and comfortable. Many home security systems integrate with smart home devices like thermostats and sprinklers that can encourage energy and water conservation, ultimately earning you back the cost of the device over time.
 Focus on the Essentials
Walk your property’s perimeter and evaluate the entry points of your home. Decide what is vital to monitor and where you should spend money now. For instance, the average burglary costs $2,361, so equipping the main entrance to your home with an electronic door lock, an alarm, or a doorbell camera is an excellent first step to minimizing risk and deterring crime.
 Invest in Devices That Do Double Duty
When you’re shopping for home security equipment, pay attention to purchasing components that can multitask. Instead of buying the cheapest device you can find, focus on cameras that trigger motion sensor lights or programmable smart lights that you can control from a distance to create the appearance of occupancy. Even relatively low-cost security components like smart door locks have unexpected benefits, such as remote control and the ability to use your smartphone as your key. Finding ways to make your home security work overtime for you is an easy way to get more bang for your buck.
 Qualify for Insurance Discounts and Boost Claims
Some insurance companies offer discounts on monitoring fees or installation costs of certain security systems and lower your premium if you have a home security system equipped with smoke detectors or burglar alarms. Plus, devices like water or temperature sensors can reduce the risk of property damage and provide the early warning needed to avoid injury. If you do submit a claim, home security systems equipped with cameras can provide invaluable assistance and can help police catch culprits or potentially recover stolen property.
While you might invest a bit up front in protecting your home, these tips can help you reap the benefits of reducing your risk of theft and property damage for years to come.
Kelsey Down is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City who specializes in technology, home, and parenting—and the areas where all those subjects intersect. Her work has been featured in Realtor Magazine, TechSpective, Working Mother, and other publications.