Tips and tricks for gaming on a budget

Here are some tips to help you stay on budget when buying video games!

We have all had that moment when we wished we had that unlimited money cheat in real life.

But then, as a result, our currency would become useless, and we would not be able to buy games at all. So we are all left to manage our money the best we can, despite many games that may catch our attention.

If you are struggling to keep up a budget on your gaming, or even are just looking for a new way to save money, here are some tips.

game review

Look at reviews, lots of them.

Is that game really all the hype has made it out to be? Check out some reviews, and definitely more than one. If you can, be sure to find something critical of the game in some way, shape or form, so you have a better idea of its flaws (because every game has them).

Even if judging by the reviews, the game seems worth it, it may still be overly expensive, so do not jump to buying it just yet.

steam summer sale

Look out for deals, yearly sales, or bundles

Though some companies bump up their prices before yearly sales like the Steam Summer Sale (or Steam Winter Sale), you can use tools like the Steam Database to keep track of price changes before you buy. When used correctly, the Steam Sale can get you some great discounts.

Don't be afraid to also look for non-Steam digital retailers, but be sure they are reputable before making purchases. Many smaller digital retailers often have massive sales to compete with Steam's convenience.

You can also refer to resources like Reddit's /r/gamedeals for information on current game discounts, or buy from Humble Bundle, which is a "pay what you want" (to an extent, if you pay more than the average, you may unlock other games in the bundle) for Indie games. Humble Bundle updates on a weekly basis. You can also try IndieGala, or Indie Royale, which are similar services.

 majora's mask 3d price over time

Wait for the price to go down

Usually, the price of a title will go down over time by itself, though if you do not keep an eye on it as physical versions become more scarce the price may spike back up again. As such, the key is to keep an eye on the price, either manually or using a tool. If you like Amazon you can use Camelcamelcamel, for example, which makes a graph of price changes since the item first went on sale.

Another option, especially for Nintendo games, is to buy them digitally, as they are often cheaper that way even after physical retail prices have spiked, and you can always download them again for free.

 GameStop logo

Trade your old video games in 

Some of us are reluctant to let go of our old video games, but there are some we may not need, or enjoy, any more. That being said, there are stores and services out there that are willing to take old games and pay you for your trouble. GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, and a number of websites have game and console trade-ins; be sure to shop around to see who has the best trade in price.

Or, you can try a site like 99gamers, which allows users to sell video games directly to eachother for virtual currency, which you can then, in turn, use to buy other games on within the service.

 GameFly logo

Rent or borrow games

Sometimes you are on the fence about buying a game, or you just do not have the money to invest in it. Instead, you can try renting or borrowing a game from a service like GameFly, or Redbox. Generally, renting is cheaper than buying a game outright, and gives you some time to test-run a new game without worrying about regretting buying it.

Buy used games

Sometimes it is hard to imagine yourself touching a game someone else's grimy hands have "spoiled," but there really is no difference between a previously owned game and a new game. If new games are not in your current price range (or new games are not being manufactured), consider used ones instead. There are a ton of places to buy games used, including Amazon, GameStop, Craigslist, and even Glyde.

 pile of games

Worst case scenario, check your backlog

In the case that the previous options cannot help you, and you are still craving that feeling you get when exploring a new game, make sure you do not have a backlog of games to play. Dust those things off and give them a whirl. After all, by the time you have finished with those, you will probably have saved up a little more and purchasing new games might be an option again. Also, don't be afraid of replaying an old classic; plenty of games are worth a re-play, especially if it's been a few years.

Staying on budget while gaming may take some planning, but there are tools out there to help you along and lots of options as far as where you get your games from. Make sure to shop around before you settle on something, and you can even try to use price matching between stores if you find a better deal elsewhere but cannot get to that store.

And remember to have fun playing your games! Finding games for a discounted price is no good if you are not going to enjoy them.

Image Sources:

Burn [Online image]. (2013). Retrieved June 29, 2015.

Game Review [Online image]. (2013). Retrieved June 29, 2015.

Gaming on a Budget [Online image]. (2014). Retrieved June 29, 2015.

Preowned [Online image]. (2013). Retrieved June 29, 2015.

Untitled image of Majora’s Mask 3D price over time. (2015). Retrieved June 29, 2015.

Wagamon, M. (2014, July 18). 5 Ways to Game a Bunch without Spending a Bunch. Retrieved June 29, 2015.

Tags budgeting
Published Jun. 29th 2015
View Comments
  • Chai Chien Liang
    Did a quick google search last weekend and managed to save 33% on DMC4 Special Edition at gamersgate, pretty good deal for a new release

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