Five Tips for Buying Games on a Budget

By Thomas Hart on June 7, 2020

No one ever said gaming was a cheap hobby. Many major launch titles are $60, and to play them you’ll need to own a gaming console, which can average around $300-500. Despite that, I have picked up a few tips over the years that can help you minimize the cost of playing these games.

Tip one: understanding price drops. Depending on the brand, a new game may go down in price from $60 to $20 within a couple of years. If you are playing games on an Xbox or PlayStation, this is especially true. I have seen major releases for the consoles go down in price within just one year, so waiting a while to pick up a new game can be very helpful in keeping the price down, though keep in mind this is mostly for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC games. Nintendo games keep their value and very rarely go on sale, so if you’re gaming on a Nintendo console like the Switch, you will have to keep this in mind when planning a gaming budget.

Tip two: all about the deals. Like any modern commodity, gaming companies will often have many, many deals to get you to buy more games for cheap. This is especially true in their digital stores. The Nintendo Switch eShop, PlayStation Store, and Xbox’s Microsoft Store are all loaded with deals, mostly marking off on the prices of many games. These companies will also include big promotional deals from time to time, such as PlayStation’s Days of Play sale that is going on now, which includes deals for many major releases on the console, like Spider-Man 2018 and God of War 4. Check online stores frequently; you never know what you’ll find.

The Microsoft Store also offers the Xbox One: All Access, which nets you 100 games to download to your console for $20 a month. Image source:

Tip three: Steam. The home consoles online stores pale in comparison to the online store champion, Steam. This is a platform for PC games. If you don’t have a dedicated home console like PlayStation but you have a pretty powerful laptop, this can be a good alternative since Steam itself is free and offers thousands of games for cheap prices. Make sure that your computer can handle these games by checking the minimum and recommended spec requirements and comparing that to the specs of your own computer.

Tip four: used games. Not everyone likes buying things used, but in gaming this could be the only alternative to get a good deal on a game or console. Stores that specialize in used game sales, like GameStop or local mom and pop gaming shops, can be a useful way to both sell games you don’t want and replace them with something that you haven’t played yet. Games especially are great to buy used as most of the time they are in good condition and the only inconvenience you’ll find is that the previous owner didn’t delete their last save file before turning it in. Some places also allow you to rent games, but this is becoming a pretty rare occurrence now.

Tip five: know where to go. Online stores are fun and all, but retailers are where you will usually find the most value. When it comes to buying games, I tend to prefer BestBuy, as they offer most of the games a person could care about and though they don’t offer special deals that often their prices are pretty fair especially with Xbox and PlayStation. GameStop is great for used games, and local game stores will often have fair prices along with games and systems that mainstream retailers won’t carry, such as retro games. Very rarely you may even find games at flea markets or garage sales, but this it pretty up in the air and the games you’ll find there are typically older titles or shovelware.

Retro games can be difficult to find at a decent price or in good condition, but local game stores are often your best bet to find older classics for reasonable prices. Image source:

These tips, while not foolproof, will absolutely help you to find more games for cheaper prices, and ensure you get the most value out of gaming.

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