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Gaming can be an expensive hobby. With consoles around the $400 mark, gaming computers even higher, and new games costing $60 or more, it’s not hard to drop over $1,000 in a year on gaming.
But gaming doesn’t have to be a bank-breaker. Using a few strategies will help you save hundreds on games, letting you spend your money in other important places — or for more games.
These five ways to save money on gaming will help keep you fed, clothed, and able to hang out with your friends in real life on occasion. Be sure to share your best gaming-related money-saving tips in the comments below too!
1. Buy (and Sell) Used
This is an obvious one, but it can make a huge difference — if you’re buying a recently released game, you could save $10 or $20. If it’s been out for a while, you could save even more. It’s certainly possible to get PS4 and Xbox One titles for $15 or $20 if you look in the right places. eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist are all good places to start.
Taking this route requires some patience, as recently released games don’t tend to hit the used market very quickly, and it takes even longer for their prices to go down to a reasonable level. But this patience can be rewarded with significant savings. It’s tough, but it’s worth it!
After you’ve bought and played a used game, it’s a good idea to sell it to someone else — not only does it help to put money back in your pocket, but it helps other people save money on gaming, too. The same places that you would buy games are also great places to sell games. You probably won’t make back all of that money, but even if you end up paying $20, that’s a great deal on a game.
You can also buy that use gaming consoles. Used-game retailers often have good deals on consoles that come bundled with games, and you can also find great deals on owner-to-owner sites like Craigslist. If you buy from another owner, be sure to test the console before you take it.
2. Buy Bundles
This is mainly for the PC market, but game bundles will also occasionally be available for consoles. Humble Bundles are a great example: they’re offered on a “pay-what-you-want” model, and you can support a charity with part of your purchase. What more could you ask for? At the time of this writing, the Humble Bundle includes Resident Evil 5, Ultra Street Fighter IV, DmC: Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 4, and several Resident Evil expansions. To get all of them, you have to pay $15 or more. That’s an amazing deal.
You can use the /r/GameBundles subreddit to get tips on the best bundle deals, and Indie Kings updates their list of game bundles on a regular basis, too. If you’re looking to buy a new console, you can also find some great bundles from retailers, though you’re probably better off buying a used console from another owner.
3. Watch for Game Deals
If you know where to look, you can find some really great offers on games. There are a few sites that keep track of video game sales, like CheapAssGamer, DailyGameDeals, and /r/GameDeals. Kotaku’s deals tag is a good thing to keep an eye on, too—it includes sales on other tech items, but games and consoles do show up regularly.
If you’re a Steam user (why are you still using Steam?), you can also find really good deals on Steam games, including sales and bundles. Good Old Games also has occasional sales that you can check out via their website or their client, Galaxy. And don’t forget to check IsThereAnyDeal.com, where you can search for deals on any game or console you’re looking for.
If you desperately want a new game, buying it around the holidays can be a good way to save; big stores like Best Buy and Target often offer good sales around the holidays. Even if the prices of new games don’t drop very much, you might be able to nab a gift card along with your purchase, making it a better deal.
4. Get Free Games from Memberships
Both Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold offer free games each month with the subscription service, which you’ve probably subscribed to anyway because you need it to play multiplayer games. Don’t miss out on the free games — check each month to see what’s on offer. There are rarely big, major games, but you can pick up a few here and there and you’ll get a lot of money’s worth of free games.
Resogun, Infamous: First Light, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Transistor, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Rocket League, and Super Meat Boy have all been available on PlayStation Plus over the past couple years, and Xbox Live Gold has offered similarly popular (and cult-popular) games.
These subscriptions also often have discounts on full-price games, so keep an eye out for games that are on your to-play list. They won’t usually be cheaper than buying a used copy, but you never know!
5. Trade Your Old Games
When you’re done with a game, you could sell it and hope to get a good price, or you could trade it for another game with no cash involved. That’s what sites like Play ‘N’ Swap, /r/Gameswap, and Title Trader are for. Go out onto the forums, find someone who’s looking for what you have, and set up a trade. 99Gamers also has a similar system that uses points for currency.
People offer trades on Craigslist all the time, so that’s another good place to look. And if you aren’t having any luck online, try setting up a trading system with your friends — if you both buy one game and then trade when you’re done, you’ll both get two games for the price of one. Getting a lot of people involved will make it an even better deal.
I’d recommend against trading in your games to stores like GameStop. While it does save money, the prices you get are rarely even close to what you might be able to get selling your game online or taking advantage of a game-swap website. If you absolutely can’t wait to get a new game, you could trade in some old ones to bring the cost down, but it’s probably a better idea to sell them and put the cash toward the new game.
More Savings = More Money for Games!
So what are you going to do with the hundreds of dollars that you save on video games over the next year with these tips? Buy more games, of course! And you can save even more money by sticking to OEM products when shopping for gaming hardware.
No matter what you’re going to do, enjoy your savings—and your gaming!
How do you save money on games? Which websites have you found to be the best for buying and selling used games? Have you ever traded games before? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below!