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The Steam Summer Sale Is In Full Swing: Here's How To Avoid Destroying Your Wallet

It's that time of year again, folks. Brace yourselves - the discounts are coming. We're well into the third day of the Steam Summer Sale, and already we've seen more awesome titles go on sale than it's even remotely possible to keep track of.  I'm sure many of you are already feeling the strain on your wallet - and there's a good chance that at least a few of you are going to end up spending more than you can.

Truth be told, it's kind of understandable. If there's one thing Valve is good at, it's making people spend money. Theirs is a company that understands its customers perfectly -a formidable thing in any industry, but particularly formidable when you're operating the largest digital distribution platform in gaming. They've a whole gaggle of tricks up their sleeve to goad players into a purchase.

Last year, Valve had trading cards associated with its summer sale. For every ten dollars you spent, you got one of ten random cards. Collecting all ten allowed you to craft a badge, which in turn "leveled up" your account, giving you access to a few nifty new perks. This year, they've taken it a step further: they've added four teams, and pit them against one another. Now, crafting badges nets you a bunch of sweet cosmetic rewards, as well as gaining 'points' for whatever team you've been assigned to. If your team wins, you get a trading card, and a (small) change to win the top three items on your Steam Wishlist.

So...basically, they're convincing people to buy by promising the chance to win free stuff.

Now, this is a fairly simplified version of Steam's underlying psychology, but the point is that these sales are designed to make you spend.

The worst part is, a lot of us probably aren't even going to play most of the games we've bought. They're just going to sit in our library collecting digital dust while we repeatedly say stuff like "oh, I should probably get around to trying that out." I myself have nearly three hundred games. Yes, I'm serious.  

So...how can you avoid being goaded into doing so? How can you save your finances, and buy only what you're actually going to play? 

Read The Reviews

First and foremost, never buy a game without first taking a good, long look at the reviews. I'm not talking about the Metacritic reviews, either - I'm talking about Steam's user reviews, which are generally always displayed on a title's store page. There's actually been a few purchases I ended up bowing out of because the reviews weren't exactly favorable. If you want to be particularly stringent, even one negative review could be a deal-breaker. 

Think About How Much Time You Actually Have

Are you currently playing through a game or two on Steam? How much more free time can you spare for new ones? It might be a little difficult, but it might be a good policy to avoid buying any new games unless you've finished the ones you've already got.  

Set Aside A Maximum Spending Amount -And DON'T Go Over 

Probaby the best piece of advice I'll give you is to set a total spending limit before a sale. Make sure you only spend what you planned, and not a dime more. Keeping to this will ensure that you'll be a little more sparing with how you spend; only purchasing titles you desperately want. 

Remember That Everything Will Eventually Be On Sale Again

One last thing - you know everything that's on sale this year? You'd be rather foolish to assume that it won't be on sale next year (or even later on). The thing about Steam sales is that they sort of create the illusion of scarcity where there exists none. As a general rule, no matter how great the deal, it'll be on again eventually - you can count on it. 

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Nicholas Greene
Nick's Games Haven
InventorSpot.com
Follow me on Twitter @OmniscientSpork

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