Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 7th Feb 06, 4:09 PM
    • 8,115Posts
    • 42,285Thanks
    MSE Martin
    Great Cheap Ways To Make Your House Safer Hunt
    • #1
    • 7th Feb 06, 4:09 PM
    Great Cheap Ways To Make Your House Safer Hunt 7th Feb 06 at 4:09 PM
    What's it about?

    It's always tricky to balance the cost of insurance, your possessions and security devices. So how can you make your home more secure without spending too much money?

    What do I want you to do?

    I thought I'd tap MoneySavers collective knowledge to find out... any security gurus (or former burglars for that matter!) or common sense planners out there?

    Click reply to give your tips

    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 31-10-2006 at 3:43 PM.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at

    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
Page 1
    • Nile
    • By Nile 7th Feb 06, 8:51 PM
    • 14,393 Posts
    • 14,354 Thanks
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 06, 8:51 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 06, 8:51 PM
    A cheap way to protect your home while you're away is to ask a neighbour to check your home. A daily patrol around the house, especially pushing any post or newspapers sticking out of your letter box will help. You can reciprocate when the neighbour goes away.

    Another cheapish security measure is to leave a radio playing downstairs when you got out. It will sound like there's someone in the house.

    Use a timer switch to turn a lamp on in an upstairs room in the evenings.

    Ask a neighbour to park their car on your drive or in front of your house when you're away on holiday, to give the illusion that you're at home.

    If you'll be away for more than a week, ask a neighbour to use your dustbin. An empty dustbin is a sign that the house is unoccupied.
    Last edited by Former MSE Wendy; 18-09-2007 at 6:05 PM.
    Hi, I'm the Board Guide on the In my home (includes DIY) and the I wanna buy-it or do-it boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. However, do remember that Board Guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of

    10 Dec 2007 - Led Zeppelin - I was there. I wear my 50 (gold/red/white) blood donations pin badge with pride. Give blood, save a life.
    • MoJo
    • By MoJo 7th Feb 06, 9:33 PM
    • 538 Posts
    • 866 Thanks
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 06, 9:33 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 06, 9:33 PM
    You can get a free guide to Home Security at the bottom of this page:
    • save-a-lot
    • By save-a-lot 8th Feb 06, 12:24 AM
    • 2,506 Posts
    • 2,287 Thanks
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 06, 12:24 AM
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 06, 12:24 AM

    This is not necessarily cheap, but if you are planning a garden anyway then defensive planting is the way to go. It could be cheap if you buy smaller plants and wait for them to grow however.

    Some ways to protect your boundaries and under windows etc is to plant defensively, i.e. thorny shrubs that make entry a painful experience.

    Another tip, on the top of fences place trellis, this will not hold the weight of someone and will break easily if someone attempts to climb over, combine this with defensive planting and that is a good measure to stop people crossing your boundaries. Also, it looks nice and does not give the impression it has been done purposefully.

    Last edited by save-a-lot; 08-02-2006 at 6:35 AM.
    • save-a-lot
    • By save-a-lot 8th Feb 06, 6:40 AM
    • 2,506 Posts
    • 2,287 Thanks
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 06, 6:40 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 06, 6:40 AM

    Done a quick search on Google and found this website that lists some good examples

    • Becles
    • By Becles 8th Feb 06, 7:17 AM
    • 12,878 Posts
    • 26,242 Thanks
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 06, 7:17 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 06, 7:17 AM
    I had a problem with children climbing over the 6 foot back fence to retrieve balls, rather than coming round and knocking on the door to ask for it back. I was worried in case they hurt themselves, and I was annoyed with damage to plants and my garden bench as they were climbing on that to get back over.

    I bought some anti-vandal paint which only cost a few pounds. I painted that on the top of the fence. It stays sticky like tar, so will make a right mess on them if they climb over. After a couple of sticky fingers cases, the problem was solved.
    Here I go again on my own....
    • Aril
    • By Aril 8th Feb 06, 1:11 PM
    • 1,880 Posts
    • 16,730 Thanks
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 06, 1:11 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 06, 1:11 PM
    When we joined our Neighbourhood Watch scheme one of the tips was-don't just leave your hall light on when you go out [this is what intruders expect people to do]- it's better to a light on upstairs aswell. If you're going to be away for some time a timer is also a good idea. The other thing is don't keep large amounts of cash in the house- a friend of ours recently lost her elderly father. He had been in hospital for a month and fortunately our friend had the sense to go in and clear the house [he had a large amount in a pressure cooker!] Within 24 hours the house had been burgled and they had even unscrewed the top off the tumbler drier looking for his savings. There probably isn't a hiding place you can think of that they don't already know about.
    Aiming for a life of elegant frugality wearing a new-to-me silk shirt rather than one of hair!

    Not Buying It 2016
  • Volcano
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 06, 2:45 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 06, 2:45 PM
    Best timers are those 7 day ones. They allow you to programme 5 different on/off times each day over a week. As well as plugging this into a lamp I also have it connected to the radio tuned to radio 4 with the volume turned up to conversation level (this freaked me out once when I came back from a holiday to hear people arguing upstairs!)
  • looneyleo
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 06, 3:36 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 06, 3:36 PM
    Just a quick, simple and in-expensive solution to giving people a second thought before entering your property. Put a "Beware of the Dog" sign in your window, on your gate or door etc. We put one up for a dog we were looking after for a short time and it immediately stopped all visitors using the back entrace and they very carefully approached our front door. The dog has now left...but the sign has remained! Add a picture of a really big nasty looking dog too to make it more authentic!

    • bylromarha
    • By bylromarha 8th Feb 06, 5:37 PM
    • 9,959 Posts
    • 13,247 Thanks
    Ask the local fire service to do a home safety check.

    It's free, and they'll fit free smoke alarms if you don't already have them.
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
  • richcook
    a not so cheap way to protect your home
    keep a son at home or rather make it to comfortable for them to leave

    • save-a-lot
    • By save-a-lot 8th Feb 06, 7:55 PM
    • 2,506 Posts
    • 2,287 Thanks

    I have been looking around on this subject and I have found some good general advice...

    curteousy of here - - a snippet of an article about reduction of burgulary

    Statistics show that properties with little security are 15 times more likely to be burgled than those with good security.

    The good news is that it doesnít take much to secure your house Ė and put off thieves.

    Safety checklist

    ē Iíve checked that all the doors and windows are locked Ė even if Iím just popping out for a minute.

    ē Iíve fitted deadlocks to all outside doors. (Burglars hate them because you need a key to open them from the inside as well as the outside.)

    ē Iíve made sure the deadlock key isnít in an obvious place.

    ē Iíve fitted key-operated locks to all the windows. (Burglars donít like having to break glass because of the noise it makes and the risk of leaving forensic evidence.)

    ē Iíve installed a visible burglar alarm, and turned it on!

    ē My spare keys are not hidden outside, or in the garage or shed. (Burglars always look there!)

    ē Iíve left the lights and the radio on a timer for the evening (as little as £2 each from DIY shops) so that it looks like Iím in.

    ē Thieves canít get into the garden - thereís a good fence, the side gate is padlocked (and it will take more than a good kick to get through it), and the shed is locked.

    ē Iíve made sure the TV, video and other valuables canít be seen from the window.

    ē There isnít any cash lying around.

    ē Itís dark outside so Iíve closed the curtains and left a light on while Iím out.
    I have marked the common sense and cheap points in red

  • reknaw
    Good Illusion
    Are you at home now? Is it dark? Good. Go outside and look at your home. This is exactly as it should look when you are not there too! Look at the way the curtains are arranged, which lights are on, and what 'life noise' you can hear.

    Timers are £3 at IKEA. Go buy!
    Last edited by Former MSE Wendy; 18-09-2007 at 5:59 PM.
  • nailbiter1
    Don't wait for the fire service if you haven't got an alarm there is no excuse fit one NOW. Less than a £5 on the high st, sometimes less than £4. Yes I'm a firefighter, yes I went to a fire recently where a whole family died.
    • Smiley_Mum
    • By Smiley_Mum 8th Feb 06, 9:06 PM
    • 3,779 Posts
    • 2,914 Thanks
    Info from the website of BBCs Beat the Burglar series.
    ďOrdinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.Ē - Oscar Wilde
  • razzer
    One neat idea to persuade the burglar that next doors house is easier to break putting down a gravel driveway....if you cant afford about gravel around the house especially near windows and doors.

    the effect is mucho thing any potential thief dislikes.......Gravel won't need replacing and cant go wrong in anyway so theres no maintenance.....also it is fairly cheap from your local garden centre so it makes good money saving sense.
    Omg I over-spend by That Much every month ? !!! ,searching for ways to make ma money go mucho further.........
  • lapat
    get a dog £7 a week to feed
    • pavlovs_dog
    • By pavlovs_dog 8th Feb 06, 11:12 PM
    • 9,798 Posts
    • 24,019 Thanks
    from a fire safety point of view, although not the cheapest, i think these things seem absolutely fab

    know thyself

    Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus...
  • borasiclint
    Carpet gripper screwed inside the fence near the top.
  • scootermacc
    industry worker
    I work in the industry. Some tips on top of what has already been said.

    1. Fit a burglar alarm. Single best thing you can do. There are wireless ones available from DIY stores such as Homebase and B&Q (£100-£299 depending on your needs). Worth every penny and you'll be amazed at how easy they are to install. I have this one:, bought from these people: (got it from them because they supplied an external siren too). I've seen them on ebay too for under £100.

    2. If you can't afford a burglar alarm, then at least buy a 'dummy' siren to go on the front of your house. They're 10-15 pounds from a local electrical wholesaler (CEF, Edmundsons, etc), take 5 mins to fit. Its all about making your property less appealing than those around you!

    3. DON'T leave ANY keys (including car) in view of your doors. One major area of rising crime is people 'fishing' keys from your hallway using a rod and hook. I'm not kidding - it happened to my next door neighbour. They hooked the keys at 3am, used the front door one to steal a laptop, then took his car for a joyride, leaving it embedded in the side of a BMW on the other side of the city!

    4. Get a fake bean tin. £2.99 from Wilkinsons. Looks like a real tin of Heinz beans but its hollow. Good for keeping keys in.

    5. Motion sensing external lights. Again relatively cheap, and just one more thing to put someone off if they are snooping round the back of your house.

    I may have more later.
    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

49Posts Today

891Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Have a great Easter, or a chag sameach to those like me attending Passover seder tomorrow. I?m taking all of next?

  • RT @rowlyc1980: A whopping 18 days off work for only 9 days leave! I?ll have a bit of that please......thanks @MartinSLewis for your crafty?

  • RT @dinokyp: That feeling when you realise that you have 18 days of work and only used 9 days of your annual leave! Thanks @MartinSLewis h?

  • Follow Martin