Hobbies can be cheap with a small initial investment (such as day hiking) and they can be expensive.. like when you spend $10,000 on Warhammer Mini's. I have frugalised several of my hobbies and I want to help you to do the same!
Videogames is a hobby I hold dear that can be a lot cheaper than you initially might think. Here are 5 simple tricks that you can use to get the most bang for your buck and keep playing awesome video games and having hours upon hours of fun! Don't play video games? WELL YOU SHOULD! Jokes aside. These tips can also be applied to other hobbies!
1.Figure out the $/h of fun ratio for each game you want to buy.
Of course this is hard to estimate before you play a game but you can check out how long it takes to beat the game here: How Long to Beat And use that as a guide for how long you will play the game for. Sometimes you will have losses but other times you will spend $20 on a game you play for 60+ hours, that's a solid 33c per hour of fun fun fun! My aim is always to get at least 1 hour of game time per $1 spent. I often beat this thanks to following the other rules and regularly end up at 50c/hour. When I use how long to beat I usually go by how long the main story line takes to beat as I'll most likely spend at least that much time on the game.
2. Don't buy big box games right as they come out
I know you're excited to play Dark souls III, but when paying $60-80 and following rule 1, you're going to have to make sure you get 60-80 hours of game time. According to HLTB it takes 25-35 hours to beat unless you want to go completionist. Completionist mode takes around 52h, at that point you're still not at the $1/hour. Wait till it gets closer to $30 and enjoy cheaper games while waiting. As an example I was able to get Skyrim with all the expansions for $13. Now I've spent about 600 hours in total in Skyrim, but some of that was on someone else's console, still, I've paid less than 2 cents for each hour I've Immersed myself in that world.
3. Wait for the best deals
There are sales even on new games! By waiting for Steam's bi-yearly sales or big events you can save a small amount on new games but even more on older games. I also enjoy getting Humble Bundles, these are a pre-decided package of different games (usually with a theme) with a pay what you want feature. They also offer bonuses for paying over the average and sometimes you can add a little to get an extra great game. I usually end up paying around $10 for these bundles where I get 5-6 games at least. Even if I don't play them all I still make sure that I get at least 10 hours of play out of some of those games and with that price it's not a big deal if I miss one or two. Sometimes they have amazing deals for bigger bundles. I recently got their "Firaxis Bundle" which cost me around $20. I received about 14 different games plus some expansions and I got games such as Civ 4 & 5, Beyond Earth, XCOM enemy unknown all amazing games! So far I've logged 13 hours after 2 days of playing Civ 5 so you can tell that I'm going to get my moneys worth out of this deal! Skyrim, mentioned above was a great discount like that as well.
Obviously you don't have the same leisure if you play games on a console, but checking out the consoles online store, keeping up to date with sales, buying second hand and also re-selling games once you've finished playing them. Just be careful to make sure you are buying your second hand games from a reputable source or one that will get your money back if you receive a fake or non working disc.
4. Explore Indie Games
Indie games are a gold mine for well priced entertainement with unique storylines and play styles. Most of these can also be gotten for cheap. Humble Bundle regularly offers indie bundles and there are often sales and promotions and you can get the game cheaper when you support it while it's still in Beta. Some indie games I highly recommend are The Curious Expedition, Luftrausers, Prison Architect, The Stanley Parable and of course my all time favourite, Papers Please. Some indie games are also available in the Playstation store which can save you a lot of money and give you a lot of gametime. On average I pay about $5 per game and get on average 10 hours of game time out of each game.
5. Play Free To Play games (As long as they aren't also Pay to Win).
I've spent at least 600 playing DOTA 2. I've spent about $10 on playing this game, which I paid for a special tournament booklet which came with some stuff that I've eventually re-sold and yes, I'll most likely recouperate the whole cost. Dota 2 and other Free to play games can provide loads of entertainment, new friendships, and lots of swearing at 13 year olds.. The big thing here is to make sure that you keep them free to play and don't end up paying for benefits or “cosmetics” aka stuff that will make your character look more unique or badass. Now I don't mind supporting a game, especially a game I've spent over 600 hour playing but keep it low. Keep in mind that by playing the game you usually make it more desirable for other people to play (because who doesn't want to play a popular game) and a lot of other people might not be as frugal as you.
Now go forth and enjoy your videogames guilt free!
What are some of your favorite videogames that you've gotten great deals on or played for so long that you've more than made up for the price?