I remember seeing friends with a plethora of games filling their shelves thinking “HOW on earth can you afford so many board games? They’s SO expensive!” And in reality, they are; however, they don’t have to be. While nobody gave me a guide for how to buy board games inexpensively, over the years, I have been desperate enough to come up with strategies to build our game collection without breaking the bank.
In fact, we have well over 200 games. But I very, very rarely pay more than $5 per box. When I do pay substantially more, I am always getting either a free game worth over $40 or some other amazing deal I cannot pass up.
How to build a game collection
This is my number one resource for building a game collection. In Boston, we have Savers and most of their games are priced at $2.99 or $3.99. The cards and smaller ones are hung in bags on a peg board and many times have MORE THAN ONE in them and are still only $2.99.
Most thrift and consignment stores also have rewards and loyalty programs, or at the very least Senior Citizen days. And you can stack the savings! Here’s how we personally save even more at our local thrift shops:
- Donate clothing and items on the day we go to complete a donation loyalty punch card that gets and extra 30% off. So our games typically are around $2.10
- Take grandma on senior discount day to get 20% off
- Sign up for their newsletter to get things like $10 off $30, or something of that nature.
Buy Games without all the pieces
Say what?! Yes, you read it right.
There are three reasons to do this:
- There are certain companies that will replace pieces at no cost.
- Others will charge, but the cost is less than buying new.
- You can get replacement packages on eBay OR you can sell what you find as replacement pieces there to then fund a different game.
Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist
One time I was desperate to get the game Dixit. I couldn’t find it anywhere. But I did find a listing that was 4 weeks old on the marketplace for a copy that was only $5. It was poorly listed; I don’t remember if it was misspelled or bad picture, but I remember thinking that’s why it was still there. And I got it along with Carcassonne for $10 total. And they were in the shrink wrap.
No one knows why people sell the stuff they do for the prices they do, but you can always find treasures, especially if you happen to be on at the right time.
Maybe they were unwanted gifts or they’re just an uber driver who can’t track down the owner of who left it int heir car? I don’t know…
Online B/S/T Groups
My favorite part of BST is trading. Maybe someone has just had enough of a certain game like a child being obsessed with it or they’re looking to entice someone with a great title in exchange for something they really want to try. It’s a great option!
Amazon Warehouse deals & Amazon Price Alerts
We use CamelCamelCamel to watch for rarer or even more-loved games on Amazon when the price goes down. That’s because it’s a lot harder to find them in the wild for resell. CCC will send an email alert within 24 hours of a price drop and you can even see the price history to know if it’s a good time to splurge or not.
Amazon also has something they call warehouse deals. Maybe a box got opened or a corner crushed, but the actual product is still useable. Look for these!
Owners don’t typically care if you sift through and count pieces. And they typically just want to get things out of their house. So if they have a stack, then it’s also easier to offer a bundled amount of money to take them all home. Even ones you may already have so you can either regift or sell pieces.
This was mentioned at the beginning as a way to find replacement pieces, however, it’s also just a great place to score harder to find and even out of print game titles without spending your whole paycheck. Because of the seller rating system, there’s also typically some security in buying without fear of a false description. And if there is, always pay through PayPal so you get buyer protection.
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