Are your kids asking for the $70 Skylanders game or a new video gaming device that costs more than your first car did? Video games can get expensive, and because new and hot games are constantly emerging, and the old technology can become obsolete in a year or two, many parents feel like they are spending quite a bit of their budgets keeping their kids up to speed with video games.
To reduce the cost of video games, try the following options.
Consider an Older System
The newer the gaming system or computer, the more it will cost. Consider purchasing a system that is an iteration or two behind brand new. Yes, the kids may whine about not having the latest technology, but remind them that it was cutting edge at one point. There is still plenty of fun in slightly older systems. Newer ones may be overkill anyway.
If you can’t find an older system in regular retail, check specialty stores, such as Gamestop (where you can also find used games for less than new).
You may even get an older system for free. They are often given away on Freecycle, along with the games to go with them.
Borrow Games from the Library
Most libraries now offer video games that are compatible with most systems or computers. These range from completely free for three weeks to a dollar for a week of borrowing. If there is a game your kids have been wanting to play and the library doesn’t have it, make a request. Chances are that you can still get the game through interlibrary loan, or if there is enough request, the library may purchase it for their permanent collection.
Free Redbox Rentals
Redbox machines now offer video game rentals. While the rentals are low-cost and affordable, the fact is that you don’t even have to pay those fees. There are many Redbox codes available each month that will allow you to rent the games for free or at least for half price.
Search online withe the words, “Free Redbox Codes” to find the freebies.
Swap with Friends and Neighbors
If you have the same system as your friends or neighbors, your kids can swap the games back and forth. If you have different systems, the kids can go back and forth between houses to play. This gives them a more varied gaming experience without you having to spend a lot of money for the privilege.
Check the Discount Stores
If you have a Five Below or other discount store in your area, you may be able to pick up new video games for current systems, priced at $5 or less. These are less popular games or games for which the manufacturer anticipated more demand. Games for both full systems and handheld video game systems are available.
Get Free Versions
If you have a smartphone or a tablet device, you can download plenty of free app games to play. You may have to put up with ads or only a few levels of a game, but with so much variety out there, this may not be a problem for your kids. Should you decide to purchase a regular full version, expect to pay anywhere from $.99 to $4.99. That is still a bargain compared to system games, which can cost on average somewhere between $25 and $50 a piece.