Shameless Moneysaver: Video Games

I know it sounds a little off, but it’s basic math. Video games are actually a great way for college kids to entertain themselves while getting a great bang for their buck.

I’m all for ingenious ways to save, but this sounded odd when I first read it in Grigory Lukin’s e-book Go to College Without Going Broke: 33 Ways to Save Your Time, Money, and Sanity. After giving that tip a chance and reading it, it certainly began to make sense. Here’s the long and short of it:

Most of us already have a video game console. If you don’t have one already, one of the major 3 (Wii U, PS3, or Xbox 360) will generally cost you about $150. That’s a big price tag, but it’s a one-time expense.

From there, brand new video games generally go for $60 but used copies can be found for MUCH, much less than that. If you buy a new video game at $60, you can expect to around 60 hours of initial play time. That means an initial cost of $1/hour of play. Then you get into DLC (downloadable content), side quests, free online play, playing in group/party setting etc and the cost per hour of play plummets down to just cents!

As far as entertainment goes, this is pretty darn cheap. Lukin points out that it is far more affordable than, say, going to the movies. There, you pay $10 for a two hour movie, so that’s a $5/hour base price. Then there are concessions. We all know how much those drive up the price of a night out at the movies.


This makes me feel a little better about my Wii U purchase for sure. And Grigory Lukin certainly has a point about replay value, and how it stretches your dollar.

From my point of view, though, consoles are even more cost efficient that Lukin is giving them credit for. Most consoles now, including my Wii U or my boyfriend’s Xbox, include video streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, HBOGO, etc. If you already subscribe to any of these video services (which I will discuss in a future post), you can now watch them on the t.v. your console is hooked up to.

That effectively makes consoles like a Roku system. Once you’re done playing games on them, you can just hop onto a service like Netflix and watch, say, Doctor Who.

There’s one way to severely cut down on the purchase cost of a video game: TRADE INS! If you’re not taking advantage of trade in programs, you’re WASTING your hard-earned cash!

It’s simple enough. Go to a retailer that has a trade in program, such as GameStop or Target. I choose GameStop mostly. Take your used games in and they’ll assess their condition and relevance and give you a price. You can either use it right then toward your next purchase or they’ll put it on a gift card for you to use later.

My GameStop Trade-In Haul 06/29/2013

    I was in the mood for a new Wii U game, but not in the mood to pay $60 for it. I’ve had my eye on Game + Wario (a great multiplayer mini-game title) which JUST came out so there are no used copies. The ticket price was $39.99. I brought it 2 old Nintendo DS games to trade in and got $40 for the two of them, making my NEW game FREE! I just had to pay $2.39 for tax. BOOM.

If you’re strategic about your spending and take advantage of trade-in programs and used game prices, you can keep your entertainment costs very low.

I know college students in the throes of exams and essays don’t have a lot of time to burn, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a bunch of money when you do.

‘Til next time, stay saving, my friends.

Signed, FlatBrokeCoed


2 thoughts on “Shameless Moneysaver: Video Games

  1. What I did was purchase a 3DS, which is nearly half the price of the current Wii U, and the games for it are regularly $20 cheaper than console games. I use mine as my portable music player too. As far as gaming goes, I would call the 3DS the best bang for your buck out there.

    • There are a lot of games I would currently play on the 3DS. It seems like a cool system. I like that it’s hooked up to the eShop like the Wii U.
      I didn’t know that the 3DS could store and play music. That actually makes it cooler.

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