Although video games provide some of the best value-per-dollar for entertainment, gaming as a hobby can get quite expensive. Those $10, $30, and even $60 purchases do add up, and it’s easy to spend upwards of a thousand dollars in a year.
Fortunately, if your budget is tight, you have ways to cut back. First and foremost, stop pre-ordering games. Take it one step further and avoid buying games new. But most of all, wait for deals! You’ll need patience and you won’t always get to play the games you want right away, but deals and bargains can save you tons of money.
Of course, finding those deals and bargains is the difficult part. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best sites that do the hard work for you.
Is There Any Deal is a deal comparison site for video games. It not only aggregates pretty much every video game deal currently available, but lists them all side-by-side and ranks them by how much you can save with each deal. Just search for the game you want, then view all the deals on its page.
Other nifty features include:
- Wait for a better price — Set a price point and get alerted when it drops below.
- Price history — See if the game’s current price really is a deal or not.
- Trends — See how quickly the game has sold.
If price is your only criterion, then this site is what you need. But Is There Any Deal also lists stores selling the game without deals. This allows you to use the site as a “where can I buy this game?” tool and not just a deal comparer.
CheapShark is a similar but simpler alternative to Is There Any Deal. It only aggregates video game prices from a dozen or so online retailers, but lets you search for any game and gives you a quick comparison of what it costs at each one. It’s easier to use than Is There Any Deal, but not as informative.
Two features you’ll find useful: Cheapest ever shows a game’s lowest price ever and when that price occurred. Price notifications let you set a price point and receive an alert when the game drops below it at any of the tracked retailers.
CheapShark’s deals listing page has an interesting sorting measure called Deal Rating. It considers various factors (e.g. absolute price, percent off, Metascore, release date) to determine how good the deal is. Very nifty at a glance!
The Humble Bundle started in 2010 as a discount collection of video games with some of the proceeds donated to charity. Its first few bundles consisted of mainly indie games, but has since evolved to include AAA titles and other more desirable games.
Humble Bundles are known for the “pay what you want” approach, which means you can grab lots of games for very cheap. However, in every Bundle, some of the most desirable titles are only available if you spend a minimum amount. Since this minimum amount rarely goes over $12, it’s still a great deal.
You can also browse the Humble Store for regular sales. Either way, these two options comprise some of the best ways to save money when gaming.
4. Bundle Stars
Bundle Stars is like a Humble Bundle that’s specifically for Steam games. It isn’t as popular, doesn’t offer the amazing savings, and doesn’t have the same charity angle as Humble Bundle. But it’s still a great way to save money if you play most of your games through Steam.
Unlike Humble Bundle, Bundle Stars has dozens of different bundles for sale at once, and each bundle has a theme. As of this writing, you have options like “Strategy Heroes Bundle” (eight strategy games at 97% off) and “Treasure Bundle” (10 match-three games at 98% off).
Slickdeals is one of the best sites for daily deals, period. Users post deals whenever they spot them around the web, receive them in emails, etc. And since deals are available across many other departments (e.g. home, tech, travel), Slickdeals is a great choice if you want an all-in-one deals site.
After using Slickdeals for a while, you’ll see why it’s one of the best bargain sites around. Everyone uses it, and ever since its competitor FatWallet died, there’s been an influx of activity. Consequently, the deals have never been better.
Daily Game Deals may not have the easy browsability of the other sites above, but it functions perfectly as a “check once per day” kind of site. It’s a blog that publishes once per day, with each post covering a massive roundup of new gaming-related deals around the web.
Most of the deals come from the same retailers, including Amazon, Newegg, Gamefly, Gamestop, Walmart, etc. For truly effortless notifications, just sign up for the daily newsletter and get the deals sent straight to your inbox. New posts go up every day at 11am ET.
7. Reddit’s /r/GameDeals and /r/ConsoleDeals
These two communities on Reddit are fantastic for catching deals fast and early. While /r/GameDeals is technically for all game deals, it does have a heavy slant towards PC gamers. That’s why /r/ConsoleDeals was born.
It’s hard to say whether PC gaming is cheaper or console gaming is cheaper, but the beauty is that you can play whichever you want and still benefit from the deals subreddit that applies to you. These deals aggregators are two of the best you’ll ever find. Users source the deals from everywhere.
And while you’re on Reddit, you may as well check out /r/patientgamers. It’s a community of gamers who wait at least six months after a game is released before buying it, which often results in super savings. I consider it one of the best lesser-known gaming communities.
How Do You Save Money on Games?
Surely there are other sites and methods for cutting back on gaming costs! These are simply the best I’ve found and they’ve worked so well that I feel safe recommending them. But I realize that I haven’t visited every site on the web, and I’d love to hear if you know of any alternatives.
Here’s one final tip to save money on games: look up trustworthy video game reviews to check if the games you have your eye on are really worth buying!
Image Credit: SergPoznanskiy/Depositphotos