Video games are an accessible and ridiculously fun hobby, but there’s a small issue; if you want to stay up-to-date with the latest gaming systems, accessories, and games, you’ll need a decent amount of money. New consoles cost several hundred dollars, computer upgrades cost hundreds of dollars (or more), and most of the major titles that come out are $60 or more upon release.
If you’re serious about gaming and you want to indulge in your hobby, you’ll need a strategy to keep that hobby funded.
Tips for Funding Your Video Game Habit
These tips can help you buy all the games, gear, and accessories you need to fuel your habit.
1. Make use of subscription services. First, consider taking advantage of a subscription service. Most consoles offer some kind of subscription service, where for a certain monthly or annual fee, you’ll get free games on a regular basis. For example, with PlayStation Plus, you’ll get access to two or more free games every month for PS4; if you purchase your subscription annually and look for discounts, you can usually get it for as low as $50 per year. This is a cost-effective way to try out new games and continuously build your library. Just be aware; in many cases, you’ll only get to keep the games for as long as you’re a paying subscriber.
2. Remain patient. Next, remain patient (if you can). When they release, games tend to be relatively expensive, but it only takes a few months before they come down in price. In time, you’ll see deep discounts, with games only a few years old selling for a fraction of their original MSRP. If you can hold out for a few months, you can usually nab a 25 to 50 percent discount—and you’ll see even steeper price cuts in the future.
3. Look for discounts and bundles. Keep an eye out for special discounts, offers, and bundles. In many cases, game distributors and online commerce platforms will attempt to attract customers with special deals. You may be able to find good games for dirt cheap this way. Participate in online forums dedicated to finding great deals on video games, and subscribe to social media feeds where these types of packages are advertised.
4. Monetize your hobby. If you love playing video games, why not make some money with your hobby? There are several viable options here. For example, you could stream yourself playing your favorite game and make money through ads, subscriptions, and donations. You could review games on a blog, and make money with ads, affiliate links, and premium content. It’s hard to break into this content creation industry, since there’s so much competition, but it could be a valuable way to make extra money.
5. Create additional passive income streams. If you want to earn extra income, consider adding passive revenue streams to your personal finance strategy. These streams can earn you regular income without requiring much ongoing effort on your part. For example, you can purchase rental property and collect rent from tenants, or invest in dividend-paying stocks, and collect quarterly dividends.
6. Buy physical copies and resell. It’s popular to buy digital copies of games these days, since it makes for easier storage, and you can download games at your convenience rather than ordering online and waiting for shipping or heading out to a physical store. However, it could be better to buy physical copies of games; this way, when you’re done playing them, you can resell them on the secondary market and make back a portion of what you paid for them. Games depreciate quickly, but every bit helps.
7. Avoid microtransactions. Some games offer microtransactions—small purchases that give you some kind of in-game advantage or special items. These are tempting to buy, because they’re offered in such small increments, but they can quickly add up to damage your budget. Avoid games with microtransactions and/or limit your purchases.
8. Play what you have. Sometimes, gamers are tempted to become collectors, rather than players. Just because a game looks exciting doesn’t mean you’ll be happier with it in your collection—especially if you already have a backlog of games you haven’t played yet. The next time you think about buying a game, consider playing what you already have.
Refining Your Approach
You may find that some of these strategies work better for you than others. For example, if you’re always eager to get new games the day they come out, it wouldn’t make sense for you to wait for months or years to get a better price. Learn from your past decisions and keep refining your approach to save more money and keep your hobby adequately funded.