How to Play Video Games on a Budget

Gaming can be an expensive hobby, but here’s how you can use your frugal ways to cut down on the amount of cash that leaves your wallet, while still getting your gaming fix.

With the price of a new video game hovering around the $60 mark, it’s a hard pill to swallow, and it’s tough to spend that kind of money on a new game that you really want to play when your budget can’t really comprehend the cost.


There are plenty of gaming deals throughout the year, allowing you buy games cheaper than what you would pay for them otherwise. Of course, newer games usually don’t go on sale within the first few weeks of releasing, so if you like to play the latest games as soon as possible, your wallet may be working some overtime, but with a little patience, you can end up saving some big bucks.

Here are some tips on how you can save money money and play videos games on a budget.

Never Pay Full Price

I would say the number one rule that you should give yourself when gaming on a budget is to make it a point not to pay full price for something, whether it’d be a console, game, accessory, whatever.


how to restart an xbox one (9)


This is because someone or some place will always have a game selling for less than what others are selling it for. All you have to do is shop around and check a few stores. More likely than not, one of those stores will have the game on sale for at least a few dollars off.

As mentioned, newer games rarely go on sale, but even waiting just a few weeks for the hype to die down can result in the first deals rolling in for that blockbuster title.

Buying a Cheap Console

Before you do any gaming, you first need a gaming console to play all of those games on. There are a ton of places where you can buy used gaming consoles, and some of these places I cover later on, but I’ll give you a quick overview.

PS4 vs Xbox One 2014 Buyer's Guide -  5


eBay, Craigslist, and even Gamestop offer used gaming consoles. You can sometimes even buy brand-new gaming consoles at a discounted price, like when retail stores offer holiday deals throughout the year.

For used consoles on Craigslist or eBay, all you really have to do is wait for a desperate seller who needs some quick cash because his car broke down. In the past, I’ve seen plenty of never-been-opened Xbox 360 Kinect bundles sell for around $250 on eBay when they normally retailed for $300 in the store, and I’ve even spotted one for $200 brand new on Craigslist.

Peruse these marketplaces and wait for a great deal to come along, and you’ll soon notice that you’re wallet is staying pretty full.

Be Patient

This is sort of a continuation from the previous section, but to save yourself a lot of dough, be willing to wait a few months or even a year before buying that new release, or at least be patient for a good deal to roll around. This allows time for the used copies of a new game to start appearing on eBay and Craigslist.

Xbox One & PS4 GTA 5 Screenshots


I can’t even begin to tell you how much money I could have saved if I just waited to buy Call of Duty: Black Ops once Modern Warfare 3 came out a couple of years ago. Usually when a sequel to a game comes out, the prequel gets a significant price drop.

Furthermore, I’ve been finding a lot of great games on eBay recently that are selling for nearly half of what they cost when they released. Forza Motorsports 5 can now be bought brand new for $40 (or around $30 used). Furthermore, older games like Grand Theft Auto IV, Mass Effect 2, Halo 3: ODST, and Batman: Arkham Asylum all were under $10 each at various online spots and stores when I did a quick check. Sure, they’re older games that might have lost their hype, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their appeal.

Be Willing to Compromise

Many popular games have several sequels and such, and sports games have a new version that comes out every year, but you should ask yourself if buying the latest game in a series is actually worth it.

Assassin's Creed Unity - PS4 Games to Buy 2014


For example, MLB 15: The Show just recently released, but it’s possible that you could buy MLB 14 for a lot less and still get 80% of the experience that MLB 15 offers. The newer game might have slightly better graphics and some new features, but MLB 14 is still a really fun game, and you can save a few Hamiltons by opting for last year’s version.

One of the biggest things that you must do in order to save money while gaming is to be willing to compromise. You probably don’t need the latest and greatest sequel that’s out, especially for a series that releases a new title every year. Instead, go with a game that’s a year or two old in order to save some major dough.

Places to Find Cheap Games

So where do you exactly find all of these cheap, used games and consoles? Here are a few places to look.


eBay is easily one the best place to get cheap used games, accessories, and consoles. However, the best things to buy on eBay are huge lots, where sellers will pool all of their gaming stuff together and sell it all at once.

You’ve probably heard the saying that it’s much cheaper to buy in bulk, and the same concept applies for big bundles of gaming gear on eBay. A lot of sellers simply throw all of their games and accessories in one listing and sell it at a single price. This is what’s called a jackpot. It’s much cheaper to buy a ton of games at once than to buy ten or twelve single games separately. Plus, whatever games you don’t want out of the lot, you can simply put back on eBay to make a few dollars back.


Craigslist isn’t my first choice to look for used gaming stuff, or anything for that matter, as it can be a hotbed for scams. However, if you’re careful and feel lucky, you can find a good honest seller who’s selling his gaming stuff for cheap. And like I mentioned earlier, a lot of sellers get desperate and need money fast. Thus, you can grab some great deals.


Amazon Marketplace

If you didn’t already know, Amazon allows people just like you and me to sell their used stuff. If you click on an item, you’ll obviously be given the brand-new price, but below that you’ll see something like “73 used” or however many there are currently being sold. Click on that and you’ll be taken to Amazon’s Marketplace.

Prices of used games and gear are very competitive, since there are usually a lot of people selling the same thing, so if you prefer doing business the Amazon way, there’s nothing to lose. Plus, who doesn’t love shopping on Amazon?


Gamestop wouldn’t be my first choice for looking for cheap gaming stuff, as most pre-owned games they sell can usually be found for a few bucks cheaper online, so I tend not to go to Gamestop too often. However, it’s at least worth a mention, so don’t cross it off your list completely.

GameStop has a plethora of games under $10 and even a few for as little as $3. You can even find great deals on pre-owned gaming consoles.

Garage Sales

Garage Sales are a hit or miss when it comes to good-quality, used gaming gear. Sure, you might find a couple of beat-up gaming systems bundled with a few no-name games, but you’ll have to look a little harder to find the good stuff. However, it doesn’t take too much effort to come across an older lady who is selling off all of her grandson’s unused gaming gear for really cheap.