How to Play Video Games on a Budget

Playing video games is the favorite pastime of many people all over the world. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of video games as a whole has skyrocketed as we are confined to our homes and looking for ways to interact with people outside of texting and Zoom calls. Whether you are brand new to playing video games (welcome!), or a seasoned veteran, there is no denying that getting lost in a game can be extremely fun—but it can also be extremely expensive.

In this current generation of consoles, video games can cost upwards of $70 (USD). That’s if you already own a console. If you can find a Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, or PlayStation 5, that’s another $300 – $500 (USD) you have to drop just to play one game. That is quite the investment no matter how serious you are about gaming. 

In some ways, there is no way to get around spending some money when it comes to video games. That being said, there are some things you can keep in mind that can help you cut costs a bit so you can enjoy your favorite hobby without breaking the bank. 

Here are a few tips and tricks to use that will save you some money when it comes to video games:

  • Get a GameFly Subscription
    • GameFly is essentially what Netflix used to be—a subscription service where you rent physical copies of games one or two games at a time. When you are finished playing with the game, you put it in the envelope they provide you, stick it in your mailbox and they will send you the next game on your queue. Or, if you love the game so much, you can pay a discounted price to keep it. Plans start at about $15 a month for one game at a time and go up from there. It’s an excellent way to play a bunch of different games without committing to the steep price tag of a new game. They also have games from previous console generations and have regular sales to purchase deeply discounted video games. So far this year, I have played ReturnalRatchet & Clank: Rift ApartResident Evil: Village, and Hitman III. If I would have purchased all of those games, I would be down $237.29, but because I played them over a two month period, I only spent $30. That’s $200 in savings!
  • Make a List on Deku Deals
    • Deku Deals is a fantastic website if you have a Nintendo Switch. It is a price tracking website that aggregates the cost of all Nintendo Switch games across several popular retailers on your specific list and alerts you when games you are interested go on sale. The level of detail and data this site gives you is impressive–you can see the history of discounts for each game so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not now is the right time to purchase the game you’ve had your eye on. It’s free to sign up, so the savings start the second you begin using it.
  • Follow Deal Accounts on Twitter
    • There are several accounts on Twitter whose main job it is to alert you of when games go on sale or even when hard-to-find consoles come back in stock. Personally, I love @Wario64 and @VideoGameDeals. When I am looking for something specific (like an Xbox Series S, or those sweet Legend of Zelda joy-cons, both of these accounts helped me find), I turn notifications on for the accounts. Be warned: they tweet A LOT. So, turn them on when you are looking for something specific, and then maybe mute them once you’ve found it (or you will be tempted to buy too many things!). 
  • Buy Used
    • There’s nothing wrong with buying used video games. A lot of my collection was purchased second hand. Do a Google search for video game stores near you and patronize those local shops. The good ones will help you find the games you are looking for and even recommend the next game you should play based on previous games you’ve enjoyed. If you live in Houston, Texas, be sure to check out Hey Bro! Video Games, Game Over and Replay. All three have helped me add to my collection over the years. 
  • Get an Xbox GamePass Subscription
    • Ok, hear me out. I know that there is some hate for GamePass online, but I’m not really sure why that is. GamePass just makes sense if you have an Xbox, and honestly, it makes sense even if you don’t. Do you have a smart phone? Get GamePass. Do you have an Xbox? Get GamePass. For just $10 a month, you can access some of Xbox’s best games, and they are making a concerted effort to release major games day one on GamePass. Just today, I downloaded Microsoft Flight Simulator–for free–and played it a couple of hours later–on launch day, without spending $59.99. It is such a big bang for your buck, it’s not even funny.

Those are just some of the things I use to save some money while engaging in my favorite hobby. What tips, sites or Twitter accounts do you use to game on a budget? Sound off in the comments below and let me know!

Mark Pereira is a staff writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

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