CCTV System on a Budget: How to Save Money 14

Budget is a funny word because it has no practical meaning.  Once I had a customer call me looking for a modest CCTV system.  During the conversation he reminded me many times the he had a budget; when I finally asked what the budget was, he said $10,000. Another time I had a customer call for a big and complex system and tell me the budget was $600. When talking to a CCTV expert that you trust, make sure that you let them know what you want to spend.  I know it is hard to trust a sales person, but we all have to take a leap of faith.  Basically CCTV is an industry in which you get what you pay for. So, if you are prepared to spend $5, make sure you get $5 worth of stuff.  *You will need more than 5 dollars.

Don’t be like this guy…

CCTV System Save Money Meme


CCTV can read a license plate and record the number in a data base.  It can count the number of people entering and leaving an area.  It can send a text message to your phone during a break in.  CCTV can do a lot of things but it is not free.  We have to be realistic about what we want and what we want to spend.

I know we want to see everything all the time, but that is expensive.  For example, a homeowner is really only worried about break-ins and vandalism of their home.  They do not need to know every license plate of every car driving by the street they live on.  Instead of trying to create a CIA style surveillance system to monitor everything in the world, think about the real areas of interest.  It is cheaper to buy a camera that can see just the front door.  That is what we really care about.


When you see a CCTV system on TV they always show a control station with a bank of monitors and a person watching all of the action.  In real life most CCTV systems are not monitored unless an event takes place. So do you need a separate monitor or can you find a way to hook the system into your regular television? Or do you have a spare monitor lying around at home? That is always an option to lower the total cost.


Another thing to consider when purchasing a CCTV system is installing it yourself. We have plenty of videos on our YouTube channel that show you how to set up a DVR and how to connect a camera. There are videos by other channels also that show you how to run a wire through a finished wall.


When it comes to the DVR, you have two options: a standalone or a PC-based DVR. If you are on a tight budget, you’re going to want to go with a standalone. But you are losing a lot of features. The standalone has a great graphical user interface, and does the basics: recording, storing video, and makes video available upon request. If you’re willing to spend a little more for a more advanced standalone DVR, you will get more features, like alarm inputs, PTZ controls, hybrid-capability, etc. An advanced standalone still doesn’t compare to a PC-based, which allows for upgrades by installing more cards.


Traditionally, analog cameras use coax cable, or siamese cable for data transmission. Another option you can do is use CAT5 cable. It is much cheaper, only 65% the price of siamese cable. CAT5 is reliable, and if you have an IP camera, it runs both the power and the data to and from the camera and the DVR/NVR, saving you money on power supplies (for IP cameras only).

Homeowner’s Insurance

When you install a security system, it will save you money in two ways. First, talk to your insurance company. They will give you a discount when they know you have installed a security camera system (some companies require that you also install a burglar alarm, deadbolt locks, and reinforced perimeter entry points). Another way a security system saves you money is by deterring crime. Imagine the hundreds and thousands of dollars you end up saving when a robber sees a security camera observing him, and decides to rob another place. If you own a business, security cameras will reduce theft or inventory shrinkage as much as 30-50%, according to national statistics.

As a homeowner, there are many ways to save money when buying a system. If you have a high or low budget, there are some extra features that aren’t considered necessary. Installing a system can also save you money in different ways. When talking to your salesperson, give them your budget, and they will help you out and stay close to your budget.

I went through our other CCTV articles to find more money saving tips.  I also added a link back to the full article if you’d like to read in full….

Should You Choose Wireless?  –  Choosing a traditional hard-wired system over wireless could save you money, and frustration.

DVR Capture Card Guide: Choosing a DVR Card  –  If you’re thinking of investing in a PC-based DVR, and you’re looking to pick out a DVR capture card, you can save money by picking one that has less than real-time frame rate.

DDNS & Dynamic IP Addresses for DVR Security Systems – When looking for a router, look for one that will give you the option to host the DDNS’ Internet Domain name on the router web configuration page, this will save you some money also.

CCTV Resolution 101 – Analog vs. IP –  If you want to record an area with short distances, i.e. your backyard, then you should buy a low resolution camera. It will capture everything and save you money.


  1. thank you for this usefull review. I read your website regularly and and it really heps too much. In turkey the issue you mentioned exits a lot. As a normal human behaviour people wants the cheaper solution. But the problem is they request the best performance. Customers also should know that, you get what you pay. The seller must be honest and tell this issue to the customers.

    again thanks for the usefull review, and waiting your new reviews.

  2. Nice Article. Customers always want a CSI type of system for under $1,000.00 The typical homeowner wants a PTZ on every corner of their house with out the slightest idea that it’s overkill. Even if it’s within their budget, it’s usually completely unnecessary.
    Customers need to find a sales rep that they are comfortable with, one that is more concerned with selling them something that fits their needs, rather than squeezing every dime out of them on product that they can use, but they don’t need to “get the job done.” There are reps out there who are in it for the customer satisfaction! There are reps out there who do NOT make commissions and do honestly want customers to be happy with what they’ve purchased! In all of my years of selling CCTV at multiple companies, I’ve never been commission based, but had the largest customer “following” – because it’s about making your customer, installer, distributor HAPPY and selling them what they NEED not always what they want!

  3. Great article, a lot of people pay over the odds for the wrong things, I suppose you can’t really blame them when it comes to the safety of their property or family, but still, there’s so much more out there for a lower price.

  4. great article, i think it helps many people. for customers budget is really matter and providing the right is so important.

  5. Thank you for the article it was very helpful in many ways.

  6. I am very thankful to you that you posted this article which help lots for security purpose. All the stuff that you mention here are really very effective & appreciable.

  7. “Basically CCTV is an industry in which you get what you pay for.” I totally agree! The better the quality, the more cash you have to shell out. That’s why it’s important to know your customer’s budget so you can give them what they want according to it.
    Kudos on this good post!

    jack savige
  8. Thank you for this useful article. Keep posting

  9. i really enjoyed reading the article & thanks for the share. Hope others will also find it more useful while considering their security.

  10. Now a days,CCTV Camera is must. I have also planning to install for my business. Thanks for sharing useful information.

  11. Thank you for this useful posts. Keep posting…

  12. i think it helps many people.thank you for best tip…

  13. Now CCTV Camera is Security, and more people pay attention to CCTV Camera system.

  14. I want to make sure that my home is protected from robbers. It makes sense that I would want to get a nice CCYV system. I’ll get a professional to install it for me. That seems like a good way to ensure that I can keep an eye on my home.

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