Home Defense On A Budget: 20 Inexpensive Tips

Home defense is a part of self-reliance that we all deal with on a daily basis, and self-reliance is the king of all things DIY (Do-It-Yourself).

Since it applies to us all, regardless of how much money we have, this article will address how a prudent measure of home security can be achieved on a budget.

I lay out the fundamentals of survival as follows: security, medical, shelter, water, food, signaling, navigation, and mobility. If you have those basics covered, you are in good shape, and security is not listed first among them by accident.

I use a modified rule of threes to remember these priorities and keep them prioritized in order of what can get you killed the fastest, because one way to see survival is as a race against time. I remember to rank security first in the rule of threes by saying that you can live three seconds without thinking. This is easy to remember because the average gunfight lasts just over three seconds. That is all the time you will likely have.

If you are not familiar with the rule of threes, it’s worth your time to look it up (but I will not explain it here or the article might be too long).

If you train or have been there and done that, you know that three seconds is often more than you will likely need to resolve a deadly force scenario, but it sure does not leave much room for error. Especially when you are doing something that cannot be undone and will be the very first line people read on your permanent record.

No two ways about it, home defense is serious business and warrants serious attention.

RELATED : 6 Ways to Survive a Home Invasion

To make this something everyone can afford in the space allowed by an article, an effective defense should include the following four points:

  • Your Tactical Toolbox
  • Physical Security
  • Training
  • SOP (Standard Operating Procedure … or Operations depending where you hail from)

This article will focus on the first two and I’ll assign the last two as homework since I’ve already covered them in another article.

Your Tactical Toolbox

The container for your tactical toolbox can be anything that will hold and organize your gear.

The container you choose does not matter so much as that it does its job adequately for you and may need to vary as you see fit to comply with local law. You can use a concealed carry waist pack, a belt, a satchel, an EDC bag or anything else you can strap on in a hurry that will hold what you will need to deal with a home intrusion or invasion.

Here are some suggestions for what it should hold, but your mileage may vary:

  • Defensive firearm (with night sights and loaded with defensive ammunition if possible)
  • Spare magazines, speed loaders or shells
  • Tactical flashlight
  • Tactical folding knife
  • Less-lethal option (such as pepper spray, taser, an ASP baton if you are trained and certified to use it as a less-lethal weapon)
  • Cell phone
  • ID
  • GSW/trauma kit (First Aid Kit for gunshot wounds)

That is your tactical toolbox. Many folks toss a pistol under the table or in the night stand and call it good. This is a recipe for disaster. You can and must do better than this. Your life and then your freedom may depend on it.

I would avoid using something that looks too overtly tactical if the grid is still up. It may save you a lot of grief. Local laws may prevent you from carrying concealed in your own home or they may protect your right to do so even without a permit, so learn your local laws. They may determine what this toolkit needs to look like in order to keep you out of prison.

The idea here isn’t to take on a SWAT team, it is to fight your way to a safer room with larger weapons.

Most of this list is likely pretty self-explanatory to many of you. No need to drop a bunch of money on a smart phone for your tactical toolbox because you will only need voice and any old cell phone that will still power up should be able to dial emergency services. If you don’t have one lying around, you can find one for a song.

Physical Security

The idea behind physical security is thus:

  • Conceal the existence of your family and your home.
  • Conceal anything that makes your family or home a target worth the trouble.
  • Convince your enemy the risk is not worth the reward.
  • Make getting into your property, your home and your room, noisy and time consuming buying you time to react, whether that means running or fighting.

RELATED : Complete Guide to Securing Your New Home

Start outside your property or apartment and work your way in concentric layers. Begin by looking at your property from the outside and look at it through the eyes of your enemy. Do what you can to make it a less appealing target. Move anything of value out of sight, under a tarp underground or inside and work your way in.

You’ll have to decide whether making it look abandoned will help or just invite trouble. Sometimes you need to go the other direction and make it look occupied by more people than it is. Since this is about prepping on the cheap, I will forego retreat defense and defending a large amount of real estate.

If your home has a perimeter fence, keep it in good repair. Plant thorny plants or cacti at the perimeter to discourage entry. Same goes for anyplace your enemy will go for cover or concealment.

Keep your plants trimmed so they do not afford intruders good places to hide. If things go downhill, I’ve seen homeowners in many countries apply mortar to the top of a wall and set glass bottles in the mortar.

They let the mortar set and then break the tops off the bottles. The result is a wall topped by broken glass set into mortar. It is not unattractive and is certainly more colorful than barbed wire but would might get you a nasty letter from your home owner’s association if you have one and the grid is still up.

If you cannot afford motion sensor year lights, go the biological alarm system route and give a puppy or two a good home or throw out some bird seed. Once you are accustomed to the reactions of animals, they become an inexpensive alarm system that needs no electricity and is tough to fool.

An old West gunfighter hero of mine trained his dog to lick his face in order to wake him up instead of barking and managed to die of natural causes even though he drank heavily and had a lot of enemies.

CLICK HERE to find out more about layered defense for your home.

The next concentric ring in your defense is the structure of your home itself. Anyone with the right tools can go right through even the walls or roof of most homes, so this is more about slowing them down and making a racket than preventing entry.

If you hear them coming and are prepared, you can disappear or make them right on a battlefield you have chosen and prepared. If you can afford it:

  • Install security doors in addition to exterior doors.
  • Install Protect-O-Shutters over weak points such as French doors and glass.
  • Replace any weak exterior doors with strong solid core security doors, ideally steel or incorporating layers of steel.
  • Make sure all doors, hinges and windows are attached to framing with long hardware.


Do what you can afford to do to slow entry and then get creative.

RELATED : How to create a panic room in your home

One-way glass is very inexpensive and underused as a tactical advantage. Install one-way glass in any mirror frame and cut a hole in the wall behind it. This inexpensive trick gives you the drop on anyone entering a room. They think they see a wall, but behind the wall is an armed homeowner.

You may have a hard time justifying the deception if the grid is up, but at least you will be alive to stand trial. I have installed such contraptions and it is very easy. The hole on the other side can be finished and concealed by another mirror of similar design or anything your like.

Build hard cover into walls where it will benefit you, but deprive a home invader of advantage. These areas will be easily located in tactical role-play training exercises. One cheap way I have done this is to pour blocks of steel-reinforced Quikrete to match the spaces in between studs and cap the studs themselves with mild steel stock screwed into the studs. Then just sheetrock back over it and no one would know your cracker box home is a little less so than they might think.

Similar to one-way glass, most stairways can be turned into a death trap. Most people do think they will be shot in the back descending a solid stairway, but stairways are hollow underneath and all you have to do is cut a view port/firing port in a stair case and screw some Kevlar from surplus PASGT vests around it to turn into a pillbox against small arms. This works particularly well with carpeted staircases. As you can just remove enough material from the carpet to see out without anyone being able to notice the viewport.

Another inexpensive tip to swing the odds in your favor is the placement of lighting and light switches so that your defensive positions are shrouded in shadow while those of intruders are brightly lit. This is not an insignificant advantage and can be accomplished even without electrical light.

Use these tips in concert with your tactical training to make use of hallways, stairway and doorways as fatal funnels and you will increase your odds of surviving a home invasion.

Just do not forget to implement SOP and train or your enemy will just waltz right pass your defensive preparations and use the element of surprise to make sure you never make it into position to put any of your preparations to use.