Gaming on a Budget

The world is still on a bit of an economic downturn, so a lot of people are suffering financially. For most people, one of the first things to get cut back is the entertainment part of the budget- the fun stuff. But there is no need to deprive one’s self of fun, just because the money is tight. This guide will cover how to keep yourself or your children gaming with a constant supply of new games.

The absolutely cheapest way to find different games to play is to search yard sales, pawn shops, and flea markets. And the cheapest gaming to be had there is likely to be on older gaming systems. This is fine for people who just need gaming t shirts and  don’t need fancy graphics or the hottest new games, but there are a few things you should watch out for. People are selling their old games for a reason, and it could be because they don’t work anymore or because they’re missing some essential components. If what you’re buying is a cartridge game (basically a game that isn’t a disc), be aware that these games are likely very old and very used. They can generally be repaired with a good cleaning (involving unscrewing the cartridge and cleaning with a wet q-tip) or by simply blowing the dust out of the open end. When buying an older video game console (or any console, for that matter) make sure you’re getting a controller as well as a power cord. Test the cords to make sure they plug into the console you’re buying. It would be ideal to get an AV cable (a cord that plugs from your console into your TV) with your purchase, but most electronics retailers and department stores sell the appropriate cables for a few dollars.

Another great way to get cheap games is by buying them used at stores that sell both new and used games. Gamestop (including its other names: Babbages and Funcoland), Best Buy, and even some Wal-Marts offer great deals on used games. You can usually find newly-released games in their used sections for a few dollars cheaper than the new copies. Gamestop, in particular, offers periodic deals on used games, like “Buy 2, Get 1 Free”. These offers appear most commonly around the holidays. These stores are also great for selling your unwanted games. They often won’t give you much money or credit for them, but it can be better than just letting unwanted games sit un-played.

If you don’t want used games, but still want to game for cheap, you can always try the online shops of numerous gaming devices. At the start-up menus of the Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, Wii, and X-Box 360, there is a online shop that sells older classics and new gaming experiences. Most of these sell for $10 or less, and many offer that same amount of gameplay as full retail games. Many allow you to try before you buy by downloading a demo. Futhermore, the Playstation 3 and X-Box 360 offer constant deals on these games of up to 50% off. Just be wary of downloading full retail games on your console, as they often sell for more than their in-store price.


One more way to save money is through renting. While Blockbuster may be shutting down, Gamefly is still going strong. Gamefly is an online game-renting service that charges a monthly fee of $15 to let you rent one game at a time for as long as you want. If you like the game, they often have a great “keep it” price. There are other similar services, like Gamemine and GottaPlay, but Gamefly is cheaper and considered more reliable.

As you can see, the money-conscious gamer can find plenty of ways to save while still enjoying their favorite hobby. You just have to be willing to look a little farther than the closest retail stores.

What do you think?

Stefan Smith

Written by Stefan Smith

Stefan Smith is currently the managing editor of Nfl Touch Down. She is the author of ‘Sweet Life’ and the recipient of Pen and Scroll award.

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