How to save money on video games this holiday season

ps3November is one of the biggest months for video game releases as publishers try to make their way onto holiday wish lists with big titles such as Gears of War 2, Mirrors Edge, Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, Little big Planet and many many more. Even picky gamers can easily spend $300-$400 to snap up just the highest rated games, let alone any of the casual games set to invade store shelves in the next two months. With so many releases it is no wonder that the GeekDad at WIRED came up with 5 ways to stretch your gaming dollar this fall.

GeekDad offers the following 5 ways to save money on games this holiday season.
  1. Know your release dates and what games you can wait to buy.
  2. Read reviews to avoid the crud that many developers shovel out this time of year.
  3. Play the demo; nothing helps you separate the wheat from the chaff quicker than hands on time.
  4. Trade in and or buy used games, even new release used games are $5 cheaper.
  5. Join a gaming community, which exist solely to help others find cheap video game deals.
These are some excellent ideas for saving on games. I've already prioritized my game purchases for the rest of the year, planning to pick up Mirrors Edge on launch day while waiting until after the holidays to snag a used copy of Gears of War 2. With the prevalence of demos and reviews these days there is no excuse for making an uninformed game purchase, even as a gift. While we are talking about gifts, let me be one of the first to say, "there is no shame in giving a used game as a gift, after all, used games play the same as new ones!"

Toy Wishes Hot Dozen

    Every year, Toy Wishes magazine names the "Hot Dozen" -- toys that the trade magazine predicts will be the hottest sellers that holiday season. On this year's list: Toy: Kota the Triceratops Manufacturer: Hasbro Playskool | Price: $300

    Hasbro / AP

    Toy: Ultimate Wall-E Manufacturer: Thinkway Toys | Price: $249.99

    Thinkway Toys / AP

    Toy: U-Dance Manufacturer: Hasbro | Price: $74.99

    Hasbro / AP

    Toy: Bakugan Battle Brawlers Manufacturer: Spin Master | Price: $12.99

    SPIN MASTER LTD / AP

    Toy: Disney Clickables Fairy Charms Starter Set Manufacturer: Techno Source | Price: $29.99

    Amazon.com

    Toy: Animal Scramble Manufacturer: Wild Planet | Price: $29.99

    Wild Planet / AP

    Toy: Bratz Really Rock! Jade Manufacturer: MGA Entertainment | Price: $19.99

    Amazon.com

    Toy: Crayola Glow Station Manufacturer: Crayola | Price: $29.99

    Crayola / AP

    Toy: Pacific Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker Manufacturer: Jakks | Price: $29.99

    Amazon.com

    Toy: Lego Angents Mission 6: Mobile Command Center Manufacturer: Lego | Price: $89.99

    www.shop.lego.com

Another method GeekDad mentions is a subscription rental service such as Gamefly.com. This is an excellent way to get through the glut of games coming out in the next few weeks. I've personally used several of these services and Gamefly tops the list in selection and shipping times. If you plan to play a lot of new releases, sports games especially, then a subscription service is an absolute must.

Finally there's nothing more disappointing than finding out the game you bought for your 12-year-old doesn't sync up with the restrictions you have on gaming at your house. Thankfully parents can avoid the hassle of selling a used game at half price by making informed decisions with the information at WhatTheyPlay.com. What They Play is a ratings and discussion board dedicated to helping parents understand what is really in the games their children play.

As a gamer and a saver, I am living proof that you can enjoy your gaming and still make prudent financial decisions. While many people are quick to dismiss gaming as expensive, even with an initial cost of $60, my cost per hour of entertainment for Halo 3 was only $0.67, making it one of the cheapest forms of entertainment aside from solitaire. If you already have a console it is likely one of the cheapest ways to entertain you and your friends, just don't forget the cheese poofs!

If you follow even a few of these steps you can easily cut your monthly gaming bill in half and put that money towards something important like an emergency fund or snowballing your debt away. How do you save money on video games? Share your best tips below.



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