Gaming on a Budget

It’s been a long year but 2013 is on its way out and 2014 is marching its way in. Sad to say for many (myself included) it’s been rough financially. Although the economic struggles took a toll on my family, we learned how to budget our money wisely and stretch our pennies. As a gaming consumer I know first hand how difficult it can be to support my hobby. Games come with a $59.99 premium and that can put a dent in the average wallet. But it is possible to play your favorite games throughout the year! Here are some suggestions that have helped me out.

Saving Up

Good old fashioned saving always helps. Whether it’s a rainy day savings, saving for vacation, or saving for a car, putting a little aside on a regular basis always helps. We usually receive game announcements well ahead of their release. And with the announcement comes an opportunity to preorder the game. Much more than 3 months in advance. The reason I mention 3 months? Well sitting aside $5 a week will bring you to $60 roughly after 3 months. And the time is even shorter if you can put aside a little more. That’s the cost for a brand new retail copy (or digital copy) of the game you are “chomping at the bit” to play. If you are patient, and have a regular source of income to provide the money you need, then saving is a good option for getting the games you want throughout the year.

Buying Used

The second suggestion once again requires a little patience. But the payoff can be worth the wait. There are consumers that purchase games on day one, play them, then sell them. It’s not a waste if you look at it in a “glass half full” kind of way. You buy the game for $60 and sell it a couple of weeks later for $40, instead of saying “I lost $20”, view it as “I paid $60 and got $40 back.” Buying from these individuals is a good thing because the games are usually in perfect condition and you are paying $20 – $30 less for the game. Try looking on eBay, Amazon, or even Craigslist a couple of weeks after the game’s release and you may have the opportunity to buy it for a very good budget price. And of course the price will continue to drop as time goes on.

Renting

The option I have come to appreciate the most is renting. I have found that I don’t have a desire to “revisit” a lot of games that I play nowadays. I play them until my heart is content, and then I am done. The online rental company, Gamefly, has worked out very well for me. For one gamestop a time, keeping it as long as you want, the fee is $17 a month after taxes and shipping. $22 if you want two games at once. You also have the ability to switch the game(s) out as many times as you like as well. The downside is the time in transit can take several days depending on where you live. Something else to keep in mind is that the newest and hottest game may not ship to you right away. But as long as you leave your most desired games at the top of your “Game Q” then it should ship to you in a decent time frame. Once again, patience is needed.

Waiting for a Sale (Patience)

I was told to always buy on sale. This applies to everything from cars, to clothes, or even a home. Waiting for something to be marked down is always the best option. Especially around this time of year games are marked down to great prices. Some are basically given away. Steam is well known for such sales. Amazon is also a good place to look for a sale after a few months of the game being on the market. In my opinion it always seems like games drop in price or go on sale after about 90 days. Just my observation.

The recurring theme in my thoughts above is the need to be patient. Suffering through a major economic set back helped me learn patience. Waiting to finish technical school, waiting to find a good job, waiting to get back on my feet, waiting for life to get back on course. The endurance helped me in a lot of ways. I have learned to play games at a more deliberate pace now. I don’t agonize over not having the newest games on day one. Instead I take things in stride and enjoy each game at my own pace. I have a serious backlog of games and I am slowly catching up. It’s a good problem to have and my wallet truly appreciates my diligence.