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Gaming on a Budget: Five Quick Steps to Getting the Most for your Buck

Written by: Andreus Narain, Special to CC2K

CC2K believes that a recession shouldn't stand in the way of a good frag.

ImageBeing a gamer is not a cheap hobby by any means. With new releases coming out each weak ranging from $50-60 the average person’s choices would seem quite limited. Previously, I would have to choose between game A or game B and rarely ever both. Who can frequently spend $120+ every couple weeks? I couldn’t, so I looked into ways to spend less money and get more. Over the years after I have found a few different ways to stretch my dollar and gain access to more games that I originally thought possible. Here are a few steps that should help you:

1. Don’t buy at Retail

Buying at retail will always hurt your wallet. However, there is no way around it if you have to have a certain game. Chances are if you have been anticipating a game for a while you are much more likely to shell out the retail price than wait for a price drop. If you can’t wait then I suggest you look at #2.

2. Don’t buy from GameStop for new releases

Why would I not recommend buying new games from GameStop or Ebgames, when they appear to be the obvious choice? It’s quite simple actually. GameStop doesn’t give you gift cards/certificates for buying new games. Retailers, such as Target, and Best Buy usually have weekly specials for new games. You could get easily $10 gift card with that new game cushioning the blow of the $60 purchase.

Look at sites such as Slickdeals or Cheapassgamer. They frequently post the latest deals. Cheapassgamer (CAG for short) especially, focuses on gaming deals. I have used CAG for years and can vouch for its credibility. It should be the first place you look for gaming deals.

3. Buy used

There is nothing wrong with used games. I have bought so many used games in my life that I don’t think twice about it. There is often quite a large price difference between a used and new game if you know where to look. GameStop may charge a $5 price difference for their new and used games, but other retailers make it more worthwhile. On an E-retailer, such as Amazon, you can find a copy of Infamous (it released a couple months ago) for $45 new or 38.90 + shipping used.. A used copy at GameStop is $54.99 and new is $59.99. That’s quite a difference.

4. Trade

Trading games online may not seem like the safest approach, but can be very reliable (for both parties involved) if the proper measures are taken. Cheapassgamer has its own section for trading among its members. Experience on the site and other places, such as eBay feedback, are used to bolster one’s reputation to ensure that nothing underhanded will take place. Once credibility is established members usually agree to send the games out at the same time. One exception is that brand new members are usually asked to send first, because they will likely have no feedback or anything they can rely on to support their honesty. With trading one purchased game to lead to many other played games. Trade for inFamous to get Red Faction. Then trade Red Faction to get BlazBlue and so one.

Goozex is another popular site that people use for online game trading. Goozex is free to sign up and only costs $1 per trade. Goozex is pretty simple. You create your own list of games that you have for trade on the site. Goozex will alert you if a member wants your game. You print off a mailing sticker and send the game. You earn points, which can be used to request a game for yourself. Requesting the game is what incurs the $1 fee, the Goozex trade token.

5. Rent instead of buy

With Gamefly (a godsend in my opinion) you can sign up for a subscription service that allows you to rent numerous games for the length of your subscription. Subscriptions last a month, but can be renewed as long as you want. The price of the subscription is usually around $20-$30, much less than a retail game, and you have to chance to play numerous titles. The basic Gamefly subscription is its 2 games out at a time for $22.95 plan. You can rent any two games available at the site at a time. When you are done with a game you place it in its mailing envelope (supplied by Gamefly) and when they receive it another game will be sent out from you list, called a rental que. Keep your que filled with games you want and there shouldn’t be many times when you are left with nothing to play. Keep in mind that new releases are always in demand the first couple months after they are released. If you don’t receive a new release when it is released you will have to wait a few months.

There are four shipping centers in the US, Los Angeles, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, Tampa, FL and Austin TX. Depending on where you live it should take more than a few days to receive a game once it has been shipped.

These are just some of the ways I have learned to save money over the years. I am sure there are others, but I can count on these methods to frequently save me a lot of money. Gaming is an expensive hobby, but it is also one with an incredible amount of deals to be found. Shop smart and you will be saving money in no time.