Gaming can be expensive. Contrary to every young person’s dream, being an adult doesn’t mean that you have an unlimited budget for entertainment. If anything, every year equals another responsibility and often another bill to the stack. For those lucky souls that don’t have to pay rent, have children, pets or medical bills- congratulations.
But for the rest of us, being an adult is an endless black hole in which you throw your money and resources and hope to God that your life investments pay off in time for you to retire in comfort. I’m a firm believer that I may really retire and become a walmart greeter just so I can afford the finer things in life.
Until a miracle happens, I have to budget for my entertainment and I’m about to share some tips and resources to help that happen. Don’t let this list fool you. They are all great resources, but I can’t say that I never splurge on things. Like League of Legend skins…or Hulu…or Netflix…or a million other tiny debits that add up like crazy if you’re not careful.
Self-Built VS Premade
We have to start at the beginning, don’t we? That means hardware. Unless you’re talking about Tic-Tac-Toe, you’re going to need a platform for your game.
Are you a console player? Then you need to become intimately familiar with your local classifieds or Gamestop if you want a used console for a discounted price. More than that, you should shoot for sales such as Black Friday. You can always get a discount somewhere, but it’s really hard to beat sometimes $50-$70 off during the pre-holidays where the big businesses are trying to bring in the money.
Are you a PC player? You’ve got a few options and you need to make a decision first. Do you want to build your own or buy a premade machine? There’s benefits for both but we’re talking about budgeting and budgets involve both money and time. So while building a machine could be the cheapest option, you have to ask yourself whether you have the time and skill it takes to do it.
As far as skill, there are YouTube videos out there to walk you through it but only you can determine whether the time you spend doing it is worth the money saved. Just in case you’re interested, PCGamer has an article that goes through the best budget options for a gaming machine and I think they do a good job explaining the pros and cons to each.
As for premade options, I still want to stress Black Friday sales because even websites do it these days. So whether you want to go easy and just check out Best Buy or if you want to be more specific and go to the vendor’s website, they will ALL have a sale going. Trust me.
So you’ve finally got a fairly cheap gaming machine, now what?
Find free games to play.
This isn’t that hard. There are actually some stellar games out there that don’t cost a thing to play. If anything, you’ll end up like me and paying for appearance items more than to actually play the game. But those things are optional. So if you’re on a budget, check out some of the games listed below:
League of Legends
TONS of Steam Games
Guild Wars 2
Star Wars: The Old Republic
The Lord of the Rings Online
Dungeons and Dragons Online
Limit how many services you are subscribed to.
What are you really watching right now? I love both Netflix and Hulu, but I often find myself using Netflix more. That being said, Hulu has a lot of new content out now and so it’s really a tight competition. But what are you using them for? If you’re watching primarily Anime, maybe try VRV instead. Alternatively, are you still paying for cable? Consider cutting back because cable and satelite plans charge for channels you will never watch. But make sure you aren’t losing a package discount if you have a packaged plan with multiple products. (Example: Phone, Internet and TV)
Consider Gamestop if you are a console gamer.
Look, most of you will already know that you can trade in your console games. I absolutely hate that option because I’m an old school gal who likes to collect things. So I might only play that game once, but damnit if I decide to play it two years later, I will still have it.
That being said, this is a new world and there are a lot of gamers that don’t replay games at all. So while they are losing money by trading it back in at a lower price, they have no reason to keep the game once it’s done. So by all means, go trade that game in and get another one. I guess you could look at it as a sort of rental service.
Make your game last.
This is one of the most important and yet hardest things to do. We find some new game and we love it so much that we just binge it like a Netflix show and finish it in two days. So then we’re jonesing for a new game and a new fix.
Stop that. Relax. There is no rush. Take breaks, go for walks. Play the game more than once. A good game is good for more than one playthrough because there are generally so many aspects that you miss if you are rushing.
If nothing else, budget yourself one new game a paycheck. If you can’t afford that, then one new game a month. And for pete’s sake: Make it last.