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How to survive the Steam winter sale

Steam winter sale

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Chr… Jesus Christ the Christmas Steam Sale has started. Quick! Drop everything and buy games. Or not… Steam Sales are always high pressure events. There are thousands of games on sale and too little time to look through them all. 

Will you be looking to buy one of the best PC games of 2017 in the sale?

Steam sales used to be worse, with daily deals and flash sales adding pressure to the whole business of buying games. But, while the pressure is now gone, those timed-discounts did at least focus your attention. So, in a bid to save your wallet, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to make sure you only buy what you want, and don’t get too stressed out by the whole thing.

1) Make a list. Check it twice.

Before buying anything in the Steam Sale or diving in to root out the best offers, you should make a list of the games you would definitely like to buy. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the literal thousands of deals, all tempting you into filling your shopping basket with far more than you actually wanted when you first went in. If you have a list, be that a Steam wishlist or a scrawled note on a Mince Pie-stained napkin, it can be easier to take things out of the basket that you added on impulse.

2) Prepare a budget

This is a big one. The best tool against emptying your bank account during a Steam Sale is setting a budget and sticking to it. If you agree with yourself that you have a hard limit of £30/$40/insert local currency here, then that can keep you from overspending. With a strict spending cap you are forced into deciding which games you really would like, as opposed to picking up stuff just because they’re cheap.

And, if you are like me, then the challenge of trying to buy as many games as you can within your budget is a game of its own.

3) Use the Steam Wallet

The Steam Wallet is a handy tool for budgeting because you can load it up with funds and then restrict yourself to only buying games with that money. It is also something you can top up by selling Steam Trading Cards on the Steam Marketplace.

4) Sleep on it

Modern Steam Sales are not like the sales of old. There are no limited time flash sales or daily deals; every discount remains the same throughout the sale. This means there is no harm in filling up your shopping basket and coming back to it later that day or the next before you actually hit the purchase button.

It is genuinely worth considering sleeping on it. If I only I had, then the number of times I’ve regretted an impulse purchase would be significantly lower.

5) Ignore the upsell

As well as games there will be a tonne of DLC on sale, too. It can be tempting to pick up a game and every add-on it has ever received, but I recommend that you just buy the base game, at least at first. If you buy the game early then you can get the DLC later in the sale, or even wait until the next sale. But if, for instance, you buy a game like Crusader Kings 2 and all its DLC only to find the game isn’t your thing, then you will have spent a lot more money than you needed to.

6) Think gifts

Steam Sales are a great opportunity to set aside giftable games for upcoming holidays and birthdays. I’ve bought my dad Christmas presents in the Steam sale for the past few years. Gifts can be kept in your Steam inventory, and you can then log into Steam on Christmas morning and add them to your family/friend’s account.

7) Have fun

If a game you have been wanting is not on sale or is still out of your price range even with a discount then try not to let it get you down. There will always be more sales and the chance of a deeper discount only increases with time. Plus, there may be a game on sale and in your price range that may cheer you up.