When it comes to protecting valuables, there is no better option than owning a home safe. After all, safes have been used for this very purpose for hundreds of years. But safes come in many shapes and forms, and as such can vary in cost. For those of us on a budget, spending thousands of dollars to get the best safe available is simply not an option. Fortunately, buying a safe doesn't have to be a bank-clearing ordeal. Here are some tips on how to find affordable home safes without sacrificing quality.

First and foremost, you need to know exactly how many items will be going into the safe once purchased. Be practical about what needs to be protected, Cd's and DVDs can be replaced, jewelry and personal artifacts cannot. Once you complete this step, plan to buy a safe around your needs. There is no reason to buy a safe much bigger than you need. Smaller safes are just as efficient as bigger ones and come without the hefty price tag. And as an added bonus, they are also usually easier to hide as well. Think ahead and you won't overspend on a model you will never fully use.

Once you decide roughly how large of a safe you need, you should decide what type of safe you need. There are many different types of safes available on the market and as such many different features to choose from. Some safes open by fingerprint identification, others can be installed into walls and be hidden easily. While all of these features sound great, the simple fact is that they are not all useful to everyone. A safe installed to a wall is no more effective than a well-hidden safe in the closet, but costs at least twice as much because of the installation required. Be prudent about what you need and avoid getting caught up in adding as many features as possible. Having to turn a combination instead of using a keypad may not seem so bad when you save some cash.

The last, and most obvious, buying strategy is to shop around and be patient. Find the best price you can before committing to a purchase. These days with the Internet and mass retail chains, you can find deals and coupons for almost every good. Safes are no exception. You should, at a minimum, look at five to six different companies and compare prices. And remember that with online purchases, shipping and handling adds to the final cost. Don't be afraid to wait a week or two before finalizing a decision if you think a better deal may be coming.

The bottom-line is that if you know exactly what you want and take the time to do your homework on prices, you will find an affordable home safe. It really is that easy. Buying a safe should be a one-time deal for most, so take the time to explore all of your options and make the right choice.