Create Your Own Security System

Create your own security system with battery-powered window and door alarms, and motion-detector exterior spotlights. DIY systems like the GE Control Center Starter Kit and Maxsa's LED Motion-Detecting lights are battery powered, so no need for new wiring.

Cost: $30 for the basic GE setup at The Home Depot, plus about $50 for two lights at The Home Security Store.

Savings: about $280 in the first year alone, including the cost of the equipment. Security monitoring services often install systems for free or at low cost, then charge a monthly monitoring fee of about $30.

Bonus: No more embarrassing mea culpa phone calls to the security company when you accidentally set off your own alarm.
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