The list of video games you absolutely have to play grows longer every day, and unfortunately, new games aren't getting any cheaper. If you want to play every AAA title that's released, budgeting becomes very important. You'll need to know where to find the cheapest video games, how to get discounted video games, and what times of the year are best to go on huge spending sprees.
If you're shelling out $60 for every game that promises to redefine the shooter genre, you'll be broke in a week. Worse than that, your sadness will probably cause your kill/death ratio to suffer, which is universally shameful. Thankfully, there are tons of ways to score premium items at a discount, or even for free, and video games are no exception.
These days, increasingly fewer people are actually purchase games from GameStop, but it can still be worth it to take a gander inside one of their retail locations every once in a while. Maybe the biggest incentive to step back inside the store is their massive collection of cheap PS3/Xbox 360 games.
GameStop has largely moved on from that console generation, but they still have a huge stock of older games. Some of them they can still make money on, but many of them they just throw in a bin marked $10 or less. Those games can be a real steal for anybody willing to take the time to manually scroll through the options.
GameStop's prices are often higher online, so it's worth venturing out into the real world to score some deals. Generally, 360 games that aren't backwards compatible on Xbox One are more discounted, but Microsoft has been steadily adding new backwards compatible games for the past few years, so there's a good chance the $3 copy of The Darkness you picked up will one day be playable on current-gen hardware. Additionally, retail locations are run by humans, who are totally capable of making mistakes, so it's possible to find games that have been listed for less than their established values by accident.
Older generations have always been a little behind the times when it comes to entertainment. Video games are no different, and even though they've probably been the primary purchasers of games for their kids, most parents have no idea how much used games are worth. After all, it's not uncommon to see used DVDs on sale for a dollar or less, so why should video games be any different? They're all media discs, right?
While you probably won't find this year's new Call of Duty game at your neighbor's garage sale, older games are often set out next to the rest of the "old toys," and you usually don't have to haggle too much to get a good price.
There was a time when Amazon Prime members could get 20% off of all new games purchased online. Unfortunately, they've since rolled that back a bit, but it's still possible to get a 20% discount on any pre-orders you place for new titles. Sure, you might not get to read many reviews before the game comes out, but 20% off is a massive discount, even if the game turns out to be less than stellar.
As long as you only pre-order surefire winners you know you'll love, you should be fine. Besides, after four purchases, you've saved enough money to purchase another preordered game basically for free.
Most Americans are aware of the large sale that happens on the Friday after Thanksgiving each year. Black Friday is a fantastic time to pick up new games (and just about anything else) for dirt cheap prices, but many game retailers also host several other massive seasonal sales each year.
For example, Steam has four major sales per year, while companies like Sony and Microsoft frequently have things like spring sales or other holiday sales that can last for a month at a time. Even if a sale isn't currently happening, it's worth waiting a bit to see if one will happen soon, especially if there's a game that you only sort of want to play.