The World’s Most Affordable Alarm System

When we had our house built a few years back, one of the decisions that we had to make was whether or not to include an alarm system. Sure, you can add them after the fact, but it’s a lot easier to have it done when the walls are open and everything is accessible. The main problem with home alarms is that all but the most expensive systems are incredibly easy to defeat — just cut the phone line. On top of this, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of paying a monthly monitoring fee.

To make a long story short, we ultimately decided against an alarm system. However, as more and more houses went in around us, and more and more alarm monitoring company signs went up in our neighbors front yards, we soon realized being in such a distinct minority placed us among the ‘softest’ targets on the street. Then I got to thinking… You can buy pretty much anything on eBay — what about those alarm monitoring company signs that everyone around us had?

I checked and, sure enough, I was able to buy an ADT Home Security sign and some window decals for about $20. Given that even the cheapest monitoring service cost ten bucks a month (plus tax), we’ve saved a substantial chunk of money in the three and a half years that we’ve lived here. And I remain convinced that the appearance of having an alarm is every bit as effective as actually having one when it comes to deterring burglars. The only regret I have is that it would be nice to have our smoke detectors wired into an alarm system such that the fire department gets automatically dispatched in case of a fire.

28 Responses to “The World’s Most Affordable Alarm System”

  1. Anonymous

    I read your article and considered going this route, but I happened to see that one of the advertisers on your site,, was offering cellular alarm monitoring at $14.99 per month. We’ve had it for a few months and everything has worked very well. And since we save nearly $300 on our homeowners insurance, it’s easily paying for itself.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve been a home automation nut for about 25 years and relied on the internet to bring me control of my home, updates and live video to a laptop computer for free. I recently broke down and decided to get a security system that talks to my ZWave stuff because if my cable line is cut, I’d get nothing. Check out cellular advantage

  3. Anonymous

    Alarm systems are not just for break-ins. Our system detects fire alarm signals and sends the fire department. I doubt very much a sticker can call the fire department while you’re at the movies and your house is smoldering.

  4. Anonymous

    stickers & psters are great til somone breaks into your house in the middle of the night when you & your family are asleep!
    has been a rash of that here in the Boro.

  5. Anonymous

    This is a great tip and still very relevant today. Adt signs are still selling rather briskly on ebay. As more people lose their jobs and neighborhood foreclosure rates skyrocket and abandoned properties increase, having a security sign on one’s property isn’t such a bad idea.

  6. Anonymous

    You guys overseas are lucky ,,I have a 7 ft concrete wall around my premises with 3 ft electric fencing on top of it.Beam Perimiter alarm system around house and CCTV cameras around house with armed response,automated gates etc,,,and we still got broken into..

    Guess where we live …..SOUTH AFRICA

  7. Anonymous

    I have a better one yet–how about making money on an alarm system? With a monitored security system, I save over $12 a month on my homeowners insurance while only paying $4.95 a month for monitoring with I did have to pay a one-time $195.00 reprogramming fee, but in less than 3 years the money saved on insurance has paid for that.

  8. Nickel

    You can get real ADT signs and window decals on eBay, although the ads are a bit cryptic. I think ADT gets eBay to shut them down if the seller is too clear about what they’re selling — but you can alwasys send them a message for clarificaiton.

  9. Anonymous

    So where is a good place online to get “real” or “authentic” alarm signs?

    I’ve seen some fakes that look fake. Looking for the real McCoy.

  10. Anonymous

    I could post a long exspositiory with plenty of statistics to wow you – but the bottom line is not just your security, but your pocketbook. Like Dus10 already stated, you do get a discount on your homeowner’s policy. You might do some research and find out how much money you save – if it’s the same as the monthly monitoring (usually no more than $30/month) your indirectly getting the service for free. All you pay for is the installation. Metro Security in the Tulsa, OK area does installations for $99 and the equipment is free. I’ve got hooked up – it was worth it.

  11. Anonymous

    But you _are_ at a disadvantage when you sell your home if you’re the only house in the neighborhood lacking an alarm system. Also, this is not something easily remedied after building. IMO, install an alarm system in your house during the build-even if you know you won’t use it. Installation will be less costly, more effective, and far less intrusive.

  12. Anonymous

    Check this out.

    Key quote:

    The Greenwich Study of Residential Security, funded by the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation (AIREF), and conducted by Drs. Simon Hakim, Gideon Fishman and Yochanan Shachmurove, finds that alarm systems are the single most effective measure to help reduce the probability of burglary. There’s a catch, however: Alarm effectiveness is contingent up a customer’s willingness to display their alarm company’s yard sign. If burglars can’t determine that a house has an alarm system while surveying it from a distance, the house becomes a target.

    “This analysis shows that most homes that were burglarized did not have a yard sign,” Dr. Hakim, a professor of economics at the School of Business and Management, Temple University, tells SIA Research Update. “Unfortunately, alarm customers in Canada do not use yard signs because they end up buried in the snow for much of the year.”

  13. Anonymous

    My brother-in-law works for one of the security monitoring companies and he gave me some stickers and signs for free.

    Also, most homeowner’s policies have discounts for having security systems, so it is not an entire waste, even if you never actually get the benefit of using it. And yes, it is very nice to have your fire alarms wired into your security system.

  14. Anonymous

    I have a 80 pound Pit Bull & Lab mix. Our front and back doors have enough glass on them so that you can see her walk up to see who is there. She’s a sweetheart and I doubt she’d actually do anything is someone broke in but no one has bothered to test that yet.

  15. Anonymous

    Looks to me that you are really not comfortable with your security situation.
    else you wouldnt have got a decal .

    If your main worry is a phone line being cut , you should consider wireless security system.

    Personally i believe a home security system is like auto insurance, “Necessary Evil”.
    You wont need it till you need it 🙂

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