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Gaming can be an expensive hobby. If you want to grab a brand new PlayStation 4 (PS4) at launch November 15th, it’s going to cost you – to the tune of $399. Although Sony’s PS4 is $100 cheaper than rival Microsoft’s Xbox One, don’t forget you’ll still need to budget for exciting launch games like Final Fantasy and Watch Dogs. Throw in must-have accessories like the PS4 Camera and an extra DualShock 4 controller and you could end up spending upwards of $600 – ouch! Although gaming can be pricey, it doesn’t have to be. Here are our best frugal tips to save on video games.

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1: Try Before You Buy

Thanks to gamer review websites, the Internet has made it much easier to find out if games live up the hype. Although reviews are helpful, though, there’s no guarantee you’ll enjoy a game until you take it home and try it. If you don’t have the chance to try a demo at the mall, renting is the next best option. Usually, for less than $10 you can rent a game for the weekend – a lot cheaper than spending $60 for a game that might end up being a dud. If you’re a serious gamer, you should consider gaming subscription services like – games are instantly shipped to your door via Canada Post. Convenient and cheap – what’s not to love?

2: Check Out Used Games

If you buy a lot of games, getting them second hand can save you a bundle. And Canadians do buy a lot; 15.4 games were purchased by the average gamer in 2013, according to Video Game Acquisition In Canada, a report conducted by the NDP Group. If you purchased 15 games brand new at $60, that would set you back $900. Still thinking gaming is a cheap hobby?

3: Wait It Out

It's tempting to be among the first to experience the latest releases - but you'll pay a premium for premier gaming. Within a matter of days after their release, you can usually find used copies of your favourite games at online retailers like eBay and Amazon, often at a sizable discount. Although you won’t have the joy of opening a factory-sealed game, you’ll have to the joy of knowing you’ll have more money put aside for the next exciting gaming splurge. Once you’ve finished with your favourite game, you can sell it online for even more money.

4: Sharing Is Caring

If your friends and family share your passion for gaming, sharing games is an excellent way to spread the love – and save money! By swapping games with fellow avid games, you can try out a slew of new games without spending a fortune. Once you’ve conquered a game, simply trade with your friend to start the fun experience all over again with a new game.

5: Enjoy the Classics

Who doesn’t like something brand new? Although buying the latest and greatest games can be rewarding, it can set you back some serious bucks. Rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses, why not enjoy some of the classics? Through the cloud-based streaming, you can enjoy your favourite classics on the PS4 at a fraction of the cost.

6: Wait Six Months and Save

A penny saved is a penny earned. If you’re patient and can hold off on buying games at their initial release, you can save a pretty penny. Six months seems to be the magic time when retailers slash their prices to clear out excess gaming inventory. You can often get a $60 game for only $40 to $50 – a great way to score a bargain!

7: Trade In and Save

Looking to rid yourself of your older games? Retailers will often knock a few dollars off your new game purchases by trading in your lesser played games. Just keep in mind that the trade-in value aren’t always that great – it might be worthwhile holding onto your older game if you’re only going to save $5 off your new game purchase.    

Sean Cooper

Sean Cooper is the author of the new book, Burn Your Mortgage. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. An in-demand Personal Financial Journalist, Speaker and Money Coach, his articles and blogs have been featured in publications such as The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Tangerine: Forward Thinking blog and TheDot. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanCooperWrite.

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