Controlling spending on video games can be a challenge.
Video games are filled with enticing offers and constant new releases.
Whether it’s the excitement of a new game or new in-game content, spending can quickly become a problem.
As a modern-day gamer, you’re going to be faced with a lot of opportunities to spend money. It’s up to you to use strategies and perspective to avoid falling into the trap of spending too much.
Video games are supposed to be an enjoyable hobby that makes you feel good. It shouldn’t take over your life and affect your financial situation.
As a gamer, you’re never going to stop spending money on games but you can limit it.
With that said let’s explore some methods to manage and minimize spending on video games.
The Seriousness of Spending
Before we get into the tips, we need to decide how serious a problem this is.
If you buy the occasional game or occasionally buy in-game content, it’s probably not a huge deal. (Unless you can’t afford it).
Regular spending, as long as you budget for it, can afford it, and enjoy what you’re buying isn’t a huge problem either.
The issues begin when you’re constantly spending money on new games or microtransactions. Especially if you don’t have the disposable income to be able to afford each purchase.
Try to be objective and decide just how big of a problem this is. If it’s making you feel bad, or you feel like you’re wasting money, it’s more serious than you think.
I would say since you’ve searched the internet for tips on how to stop spending money on video games, it may be getting out of control.
Addicted to spending money on games
Addiction is when you want something or feel like you need it all the time. Even though it may be causing problems for you, you continue to want, need, and/or spend money on it.
Most games are designed to keep you “addicted”. Find me a modern game that doesn’t offer a progression system that keeps you coming back for more.
Most of these now let you pay to “progress”. Whether it’s buying XP, levels, or spending money on loot/lottery systems, the player is encouraged to spend.
The one I’m most familiar with is Ultimate Team in the EA Sports Titles. Not only do they offer a gambling loot box system, they’ve also started selling XP, “Quests” and cosmetic items.
Every single piece of content has a price whether it’s in-game currency or real-life money.
I’d say this is by far the most common mode where people end up overspending and potentially end up addicted.
The almost daily content and fear of missing out can lead to unwanted spending habits and even addiction.
Addiction is a serious problem. If you feel as if it’s a more serious issue and potentially addiction it’s best you seek professional help.
How To Stop Spending Money On Video Games
Do you want it? Need it or is it a short team craving?
The first way we’re going to try and decrease our spending on video games is by deciding if it’s a need, want, or craving.
Taking a minute to decide whether you need, want, or are in a phase of craving can prevent you from making bad decisions.
Let’s face it, no video game or in-game purchase will ever be needed. It will never come ahead of food, water or shelter.
Most of the purchases are going to be wants. However, are they actual wants? Or are they just a short-term craving?
A good example is seeing a game trailer 6 months before release. At the time, you want the game and then still want it when it’s released 6 months later.
It’s pretty clear that despite waiting, you still want this game. Providing you have the money, it’s probably a good idea to buy it.
On the flip side, if you’ve not been interested in a game, but the release day/week is here. In the release hype, you’ve decided that you want the game.
Call Of Duty is the worst offender for me. Every year I say no, release week arrives, I start seeing hype and end up wanting to buy the game, only to rarely play it.
If you’re in this situation, it’s best to wait a couple of days, watch some streams, and see if you still want it after a week or so.
A lot of the time, delaying the purchase will normally be enough to stop you actually buying the game or item.
Normally if it’s a new release, or new in-game promo, if you wait it out. You’ll either not spend money on it, or spend less money on it.
Without becoming too involved in financial talk, the general rule people follow is 50/30/20.
50% on needs/survival, 30% on wants/hobbies and 20% on saving.
Now if you wanted, you could spend 30% of your income on video games and in-game purchases.
Again this probably isn’t ideal but if you setup your finances right, it’s not a problem right?
I’d recommend that you set yourself a monthly or yearly budget for your hobbies and/or gaming.
I like yearly because gaming is pretty seasonal. A lot of the games are released towards the end of the year, meaning a majority of your money will be spent then.
Normally, I can go from January to September without spending money. As soon as the releases start hitting in the 3rd and 4th quarter thats when the spending begins.
It’s also when games with micro-transactions tend to release bigger promotional events.
I can’t recommend tracking your spending and budgeting enough. That way you know what you can spend and when you’re spending too much.
It’ll also give you a bigger picture of your finances and let you make purchases without feeling guilty about your spending.
Become Obsessed With A handful of Games
If you’re someone that’s buying regularly games. Try and focus on just one or two games. Get really immersed in the game and play it as much as possible.
I’m someone that gets addicted or obsessed quite easily so i’ve managed to rack up thousands of hours on games.
At least this way i’m not spending $80 on new games every week. Instead the main issue I face is turning down microtransactions or extra content for the game.
If you have a couple of games in rotation that you can jump between, you’re never really going to be tempted by new games.
I can go throughout the year only playing a total of 4 games this way. Counter-strike, Dota, Fortnite & warzone for example.
Finish A Game Before You Buy Another
I appreciate not everyone is a fan of online games, and instead opt for single player.
If you’re someone that enjoys playing campaign or single player finish the game before buying another.
Rockstar games are a fine example of this. There’s so much single player content available in the game. if you were to play to 100% completion it’d take a minimum of 83 hours.
My favourite site for seeing the campaign length of each game is HowLongToBeat. This will give you a rough idea of how long to complete the game, and how long to 100% it.
Admittedly, it can be quite tough and tedious to play a game to completion. Sometimes it can put you off the game completely.
However it is the best way to get the most value out of a game, before buying the next.
My Final Thoughts
In summary, spending on a hobby is fine. Especially if it gives you great pleasure. The main issue is when it gets out of control.
Using the tips listed in this article should help you to decrease your spending or at least control it better.
You need to set your financial goals first and then decide your budget for games and technology.
If you’re addicted to spending on video games, seek the help you require. Sometimes all it takes to curb your spending is a little bit of discipline. other times there are deeper problems.