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Tips on How to Save Money During a Steam Sale

Updated on August 4, 2022
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David is an avid gamer across multiple platforms such as consoles, handhelds, mobile phones, and PC.

The infamous Steam logo.
The infamous Steam logo. | Source

What are Steam Sales?

Steam has sales every week on games, but multiple times a year they have huge sales that place thousands of games on sale. The internet buzz grows when a new Steam sale is rounding the corner.

Types of Steam Sales

The midweek madness sale offers huge discounts on some very popular games.
The midweek madness sale offers huge discounts on some very popular games. | Source
There are various daily deals that provide discounts on various games.
There are various daily deals that provide discounts on various games. | Source
A tab is even provided showing what specials are going on and the discount on each game.
A tab is even provided showing what specials are going on and the discount on each game. | Source

5 Tips Regarding Regular Steam Sales

Steam offers sales throughout the day and week on a handful of games. While they aren't the big sales, they are good for a variety of reasons:

  1. If you are bored and looking for a game. If you have played through your entire library of games, it's a good way to find a new game to play without paying too much. There is more than enough ways to find out about the game online, so you can figure out if it's a risk or not when picking it up. I have found great games that way.
  2. Even newer games can go on sale. Games that have been out just a few months can go on sale. Steam allows for a "wishlist" to be made, so you can see when a game you want goes on sale and you can pick it up.
  3. There will always be games on sale. No matter what time of the day it is, in any part of the world, there will be games on sale. Steam is designed that way to keep players coming back.
  4. Great for gifting games. Steam is also designed to give games to others. If a birthday or other occasion is coming up, then it can be easy to buy a game and gift it to someone else. It is another way for Valve to make money, but if you were planning to buy the person a gift anyway, it's nice if you can save some money while doing it.
  5. Gives more incentive to try a game. A lot of gamers are on the fence about certain games when they are released, but hesitant to try them. A sale means you can try a game without having to spend too much money. If you don't like the game, then at least you know you didn't spend too much on it. You can even return the game if you don't like it.

Ever Bought Games in the Summer/Winter Steam Sales?

Have you ever purchased a game during the summer or winter Steam sales?

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Using the Steam mobile app can let you check on sales on the go.
Using the Steam mobile app can let you check on sales on the go. | Source

5 Tips on Preparing for a Big Steam Sale

Each year there are at least two huge Steam sales, and usually more. One is in the summer and one is in the winter. Plus they mix in other sales around other holidays or just because they want to. Valve never states when the sales will be. But when the time comes around for another one, rumors start to fly as to when it will be, what games will be on sale, and how big will the discounts be. Here are some tips when preparing for one of these huge sales:

  1. The sales usually start on a Thursday. No idea why that day is picked, but the sales usually start on a Thursday. So if a Steam sale is due to come up, check Thursdays often to see if one has started yet.
  2. The summer sale is in June/July, the winter sale is in December. This takes advantage when people will be off of work, from school, etc. and will be spending a lot of time gaming. There may be other sales around other holidays as well to take advantage of that.
  3. Prepare a wishlist. If you pick what games you want ahead of time, you know you can go to your wishlist to see which of the games you want are on sale, and see if they are worth buying. Plus it could prevent you from spending too much money.
  4. Get the mobile Steam app. if you are at work or otherwise away from your computer, you can view and buy games on the Steam app. It's designed to handle these sales as well, making it easy to buy games you want.
  5. Clear your hard drive. This is one thing I see people miss the most. If you plan on buying a lot of games, you have to have somewhere to install them. So clear your hard drive as much as possible, even if it means uninstalling other games.

Steam Mega Sales

Daily deals which offer nice discounts on a variety of games.
Daily deals which offer nice discounts on a variety of games. | Source
Flash sales that offer an even bigger discount on games.
Flash sales that offer an even bigger discount on games. | Source
Community sales which lets users decide what game they want to go on sale next.
Community sales which lets users decide what game they want to go on sale next. | Source

How Much Have you Spent on a Steam Sale?

How much money have you spent during one of the Steam Summer or Winter sales?

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10 Tips on Big Steam Sales

So when the summer and winter sales start, there is a flurry of action and people try to buy as many games as possible. Keep these tips in mind when buying your games:

  1. Be patient! The servers are overloaded with people buying games, checking out the sales, and downloading their new games. There will be lag no matter what. So be patient. Don't expect to buy and download a game right away. Buy your games, and download them overnight or a long period of time where you won't be around the PC.
  2. Set a spending limit. The biggest mistake I see people make is spending way too much money on these sales. Load up your wallet with a set amount to prevent your spending, or keep a running tab of how much you will spend. It's very easy to spend up to a grand on games in the first day alone!
  3. Figure out how much you can play. Don't buy 100 games that require 50 hours to complete. Unless you don't have to work, there is no way to play that many games before newer and better games are released. So keep in mind how much time you have to play games before overspending.
  4. Buy a huge pack of games if they have multiple games you want. Publisher packs tend to go on sale on the first day. They offer a lot of games at a cheap price, sometimes cheaper than buying them individually. If you see a few games you want on there, it may be worth picking up. But if you don't want that many games from a publisher, it may be best to wait until they go on sale.
  5. Don't buy a game just because it's on sale. Review the ratings for that game, how good it is, when it was released, etc. You may find you hate the game and only bought it for the discount. Not all of the games on Steam are winners!
  6. Wait until the last day. Almost all of the games will have a discount in the beginning. But there are various sales that happen throughout the mega sale that can offer even more of a discount. You typically want to wait until the game comes up as a daily deal or flash sale. If that doesn't happen, then buy the games you want on the last day.
  7. Check Steam multiple times a day. Not only are there flat discounts on games, but throughout the day they will slash prices on a few games in particle for a few hours. So it's worth checking Steam often. Users can even choose what games go on sale.
  8. Watch out for the DLC. A lot of games now have downloadable content to enhance the game. It may be cheaper to buy a game with all of the DLC than the game by itself! So review your options before buying something.
  9. Take advantage of sales with other companies. Publishers and others that offer digital delivery hate the Steam sale and are very much against it. Some of those companies will offer sales on their own products to undercut and take attention away from the Steam sales. So it can be worth checking out those companies to see if they may be offering a better deal.
  10. Refund games you don't like. With Steam's refund policy, you can refund a game if you don't like it. You may not get the money back by the time the sale ends, but it's a great way to save money on a game you don't like. Just don't do it too often!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 David Livermore


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