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How to Tech Out Your Home With DIY Security

How to Tech Out Your Home With DIY Security

One of the biggest reasons why homeowners choose not to install a home security system is cost. With monthly service fees, installation prices, and equipment rental costs, it’s not necessarily difficult to understand why some choose to go without home protection from a major security provider.

Although a professional security system might be out of reach for you because of the costs involved, the importance of protecting your home certainly makes it worth your while to look into the more cost effective option of DIY home security.

If the task of building your own home security system sounds daunting, don’t let that discourage you. Building and monitoring a DIY security system is actually fairly simple. Here are five ways you can use the most up-to-date tech in DIY home security to successfully monitor your home on your own and avoid the monthly bills involved with subscribing to a home security service.

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1. Check out DIY security kits

Arguably one of the most time consuming tasks involved in the process of building your own DIY security system is finding all of the necessary cameras, sensors, and cables to support your monitoring system. Fortunately, some security pros have realized that this is a pain point for home owners looking to take the DIY approach to home security, and have created kits that come complete with all of the monitoring necessities.

If you’re not quite sure where to start looking for the right kit to meet your needs, this guide could be helpful. It provides a list of some of the most popular and effective DIY home security kits and explains what home security goals they are intended to meet.

2. Look into doorbell security

If you’re not quite ready for a full camera system, but would like to know who’s approaching your home while you’re gone, a doorbell security system could be ideal. Doorbell security cams are relatively simple to install and should work with most homes that have an existing doorbell in place.

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Once you’ve installed a doorbell security system, you can use it to answer the door even when you’re not home using the built in camera and two-way voice features.

A popular choice for doorbell security cams is the Ring doorbell. If a security doorbell sounds like it might fit your needs, I recommend checking out this particular brand. You can find a video review here that explains how the device is installed and how it works.

3. Consider motion lighting

Sometimes, a sudden light turning on can be enough to deter potential intruders from your home. This is why some homeowners choose to install motion lighting around their homes for security purposes. You could start out slow with a light by your garage or your front door, then add a few lights to your backyard or along your driveway if you find that having motion lights gives you increased peace of mind.

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Home Depot offers up an excellent buyer’s guide to outdoor lighting if you’d like to familiarize yourself with the components you might need before you hit the store.

4. Take advantage of remote monitoring

Most DIY security camera systems provide user access through apps and online portals. Take advantage of the monitoring options your DIY security device has to offer. Call the company and discuss your options for remote monitoring on the go. If you’re confused by a certain feature or are having issues connecting the device to your phone, don’t hesitate to call in or engage with a customer service rep on social to get the problem solved.

The only way you’ll get the full benefit of your DIY security system is if you make sure to keep up on monitoring your home using the apps and tools available while you’re away.

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5. Use automated light timers

If you’re planning on heading out of town for a vacation or even if you simply work late nights, setting up an automated timed lighting system could be beneficial. This system would turn lights on and off at set points throughout the day and night to help trick potential intruders into thinking someone is home without racking up your electricity bill by leaving the lights on all day while you’re gone.

You can check out a guide to automated light timers here.

Hopefully these tips will help you set up an affordable and effective home security system on your own! As your needs and interests change in home security, it’s likely that you’ll need to change your approach, but taking the DIY route is perfect for those of you who need only basic security for your homes at the moment.

If you have any questions or perhaps a tip you’d like to share with other readers, we’re all ears! Please comment below.

Featured photo credit: iStock via istockphoto.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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