How to Budget for Your Video Game Habit

Cost of Video Game Rentals by Mail

If you're itching to try the new game everyone's talking about but you've got a hunch it'll end up being a door stop two weeks from now, consider renting it for a night instead of buying. Redbox kiosks offer rentals by the day, although the selection is limited. Blockbuster rents video games for five days at a time [source: Newman]. You can even rent certain games served by an Internet cloud from OnLive.

More avid gamers who want a wider selection and longer rental time can choose from several rent-by-mail services like GameFly, Gamerang or While there are some differences between these companies, all three offer thousands of titles for a monthly fee, and they don't penalize you for late returns [source: Top Ten Reviews]. When you finish playing with a game, you simply put it in the pre-paid envelope and drop it in the mail.

A monthly subscription typically runs $8 and higher, depending on how many games you want at a time. Take note of your gaming habits. If you play "buffet style," sampling one game for an hour and then another for a few minutes and so on, you'll want a subscription plan that allows you to check out multiple titles at a time. If you tend to focus on one game until you've mastered it, a cheaper subscription model will serve you best. The good news is that rent-by-mail companies don't usually ask for long-term commitments and they'll allow you to change your specific plan with a few clicks [source: Top Ten Reviews].

Before selecting a rental service, make sure it offers games for your console. Few companies offer games for every available gaming system. Be aware that some rent-by-mail game services also rent DVDs. If you're a frequent movie-watcher, this added offering could provide more value for your money [source: Top Ten Reviews].