At the time of this post the 2013 Summer Steam Sale is already in full swing, and if the "heavy load" errors are any indication, a lot of wallets are already feeling the sting.
"...as if millions of wallets suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
All those shiny discounts ranging anywhere from 10% - 90% off... They lure gamers in like a Siren's song of savings, but after the dust settles and the purchases are tallied, bank accounts the world over are singing a different song of lament and regret. Wallets find themselves battered and broken, and gamers are resorting to three square meals of ramen a day for a month afterwards. While crying into their top ramen they take solace in knowing they have enough of a backlog to hold them over until the next Steam sale, when the cycle begins anew. However the aftermath doesn't need to be so bleak. While I may still be a relative n00b to Steam, thrifty gaming is nothing new to this gal, so I want to help.
One of the worst things a gamer can do is dive in blindly. You need to approach Steam sales with a plan of attack, and the tactics I'll outline are rather simple and painless. Well, mostly.
- Don't blow your full load on day one.
- Patience is a virtue.
Honestly though, if you wait until the end of the sale to pick up the standard sale titles, what are you really missing out on?
- Adhere to a budget.
There are a few ways to go about it;
- Keep a list/spreadsheet of all the games you've purchased and what you paid for each. This will give you a visual representation that you can refer back to.
- Buy Steam gift cards in the amount of your budget. If your budget is $50, buy a $50 gift card, and then apply it to your account. I'll also elaborate on this a bit more later.
- Remove any saved card info from your account. Doing this in conjunction with the above is a pretty foolproof way to keep within your budget. You can't spend money that isn't there, and it's all too easy to go "well... just this once..." and checkout using your saved card.
- Utilize your wishlist.
- Split multi-packs with friends
- Don't add every purchase to your library right away.
- Shop around
Amazon.com and GOG.com are two of my other go-to sites for digital content. Hell, Amazon is my go-to for just about anything, but that's a post for another time.
- "A penny saved is a penny earned."
Though the Summer Sale has already started, it doesn't mean you can't start planning ahead for the holiday sale. The easiest and least painful way to prepare yourself for the next Steam sale is to merely put aside a little bit of money at a time. Let's say you get paid every other week, and you put aside a paltry $5 a paycheck, by the time December and the Holiday Sale rolls around five months from now, you could have about $50 put aside. If you put aside $10, you could have about $100. If you're like me and don't shop on Steam much outside of major sales (remember, I'm a mainly a console gamer), you can just add the funds directly to your Steam wallet. If you're mostly a PC gamer and the majority of your games come from Steam, then you might want to invest in some physical cards instead and keep them in a place where you won't lose them, then just add them to your account all at once when the sale hits.
Also, in the name of all things fluffy, work on your backlog a bit. What good is buying a bunch of new games if you're not even going to play them?
When all is said and done, how you handle a Steam sale is entirely up to you. I can't tell you what to do, and you don't even have to take my advice to heart, but I hope that I could at least help ease a bit of the burden on your wallet. Now a lot of these suggestions may seem like total no-brainers, and they are, but sometimes people just happen to overlook the most obvious of solutions, and I can guarantee there are other ideas and solutions that I missed as well.
If any of these suggestions helped, or you even have some of your own, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.
P.S. As I forgot to mention it when I initially wrote out this post. If you seem to be having problems completing your purchase on one platform, try another. For example if you're having issues checking out via the desktop client, try the mobile app instead. I have heard of others, as well as personally experiencing success myself, when using a different platforms.