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The Nerd Side Of Life

4 Tips for Gaming on a Tight Budget

While we would all like to get our hands on a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or high-end gaming PC, the prerequisite $350-$500 (or much more) can create a large barrier to entry. 

Even if you have enough disposable income lying around, you’ll probably need at least twice as much to obtain the necessary gear and accessories to make your new console playable. And that’s before you buy any games, which can be expensive on their own. Fortunately, it’s possible to quell your stay-at-home boredom by gaming without breaking the bank. 

With the right advice and a bit of creativity, you can set yourself up for endless fun on even the tightest of budgets. Here are four tips to help you make it happen. 

Choose Your Platform

If you’re yet to buy a console, you’ll need to start by deciding which platform to focus on. Do you opt for a more recent generation, or take a few steps back into the retro gaming realm? Here are a couple of factors to consider. 

First, there’s cost. You’ll naturally save a ton by opting for older, used consoles that can be found in local listings on sites like Craigslist and OfferUp, where a bit of negotiation can lead to an even better deal. Alternatively, you can buy or build a PC – something you may already have that simply requires some tinkering to be usable. 

Another factor is the selection of games. This mostly depends on your preferences. If you value variety, you’ll want a platform with many different (and accessible) games. You should also keep connectivity in mind, especially with older consoles such as the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox, which don’t support HDMI. 

Find Free and Cheap Games

Shopping for hardware tends to be the most challenging part. So once that’s out of the way, you can move on to finding games for your new machine. In the case of discs, you’re free to negotiate with sellers and buy in lots for low prices. You also have the added benefit of being able to sell your games afterward, which you can’t do with digital content. 

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A great way to stretch your entertainment budget online is to look for gaming deals and coupons through aggregators. These are sites that specialize in finding the biggest discounts on old and new titles. You can also stock up on free games and bundles by taking advantage of special offers, such as those offered by Humble Bundle. 

Don’t forget about subscriptions. Both Sony and Microsoft provide free games in exchange for their respective PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold memberships. 

Sell and Trade

The savings don’t end when you’re all set up and ready to go. When you’re done and dusted with a game, you can likely recover some of the cost by selling it on eBay or Craigslist. 

Selling directly to another gamer ought to prove more lucrative than taking it to a store like Gamestop. If you have friends who use the same platform, don’t hesitate to ask them if you can trade or borrow games as well. 

Rack up Points

Many services offer incentives such as loyalty points that can help offset the cost of your game purchases. For Xbox users, there’s Microsoft Rewards, which pays out for doing things you already do on your Xbox. Nintendo has a similar program, while Steam offers desktop gamers trading cards that you can sell to save up for an occasional cheap game. 

There are many other ways to make gaming on a tight budget possible. You can use emulators, play mobile games, and opt for freemium titles, to name a few. Get creative and see what’s out there!

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