One of the biggest problems in the modern age is the Pay to Win game formula. This goes hand in hand with also spending money on cosmetics for characters. Having wasted over £4,000.00 in the last two years playing pay to win games, and for pointless character cosmetics, I have some experience of being sucked into the miasma of quick, easy and seemingly harmless microtransactions. It’s easy to spend a few quid here and a few quid there. I burned £900.00 in Dragonball – Dokkan Battle and recently I spent over £200.00 on Pixel Starships and probably around £120.00 on Pokemon GO! In my entire life, I dread to think of how much I wasted on the computer games I’ve played or even worse, the cosmetic skins, characters, boosts and name changes on League of Legends.
One thing I noticed was that when playing was that life became a lot harder, and I found that I was working more and more shifts to cover the cost of my microtransactions. I realised that even with the extra pay from overtime, I was still being sucked into a daily struggle.
I have come up with four ways to save money on Pay to Win games. With these four methods, I have managed to save around £1000.00 in the last three months, which is absolutely insane. They have helped me break my bad habits and are in themselves a four step program to overcome the addiction to spending. I hope these help you as much as they have helped me.
1: Ask Yourself, “Do I Need It?” The first step is simple. It’s to ask yourself if you absolutely 100% need an item, boost, upgrade or skin in a computer game. Most games that offer microtransactions will offer you options to get limited edition characters, items and abilities that can give you the edge. A new character with an overpowered ability can compliment your lineup in a game like Dokkan Battle, allowing you to utterly obliterate enemies as never before, an item like the coal reactor can sort out your energy needs in Pixel Starships, and who doesn’t want the latest Twisted Fate skin? I have most of them and I can’t even play him well and never play him because of it. I even bought Giant Enemy Crabgot, because the splash art used to look cool.
So when looking at an item, character, skin or anything that will cost you money, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Despite what you may believe, the chances you will actually need it are relatively low. Yes, it will possibly help you but will it benefit your life to the point where buying it is absolutely necessary? That is the question.
If it is a must have, buy it, and write down the amount of money it cost. Pin that to the wall next to your computer, or on the door of your room, somewhere you can see it and add to it every single time you make a microtransaction. You will start to see how much money you burn. It is the first step to overcoming the problem and the hardest.
2: Sleep On It: At first, it’s an absolute nightmare tearing yourself from a great deal. Games will coax you in with limited edition items, special offers, and once in a lifetime opportunity to earn something that will never be available again. The urge to spend is high and trust me, as an addict myself, I understand. I nearly spent £60.00 today buying the in game equivalent of Elon Musk on Pixel Starships, because it would come with another character I could use who could make a room immune to attack and I could also buy myself that energy booster which would be invaluable in pvp. This is an opportunity I will never have again if I sleep on it. This is no good and it’s toxic because I really want all three items. £60.00 is almost an entire shift’s pay. I have two options. Buy it and waste money on a game I am playing less and less, or two, abstain. This is almost impossible as a choice due to the time limitations, and I have chosen to abstain, despite how much I am tempted.
When it comes to a choice like this, you have only one chance to get something, and it’s hard. Tomorrow you will get another similar choice. This will happen often and strip players of their hard earned money. This is how the games take control and hurt you, and you mustn’t let these games control and damage your life. You earned your money and you shouldn’t be a slave to a game that will not benefit you, even if you do enjoy it. I recommend abstaining from any choice like this completely, writing down what you would have spent, and looking back to it and thinking if it changed your in game experience negatively – not having the thing you were going to buy.
If the choice is not immediate, sleep on it. If the thing that you want is going to be there tomorrow then consider buying it then, if you still feel you need it. The key here is not to impulse buy. If you have several days or weeks to make the decision, then take your time with it, there’s no rush. The amount of times I have bought skins in League of Legends only to have the cruel hand of fate give me the option for that very skin in a chest is beyond me. It’s happened at least 10 times. Each time I went to the skin and looked up the cost, and I realised I spent over £80.00 on skins that ultimately ended up free. That’s enough to host this site for a year. I also don’t even play half the characters… The madness…
3: Tax Yourself: If you are having trouble and you still find yourself making daily microtransactions, then there’s only one way to handle it. Every time you make a
microtransaction, you tax yourself that exact amount of money and build a discipline around it. Open an ISA with your bank and every time you make a microtransaction, send the exact amount or double that into the ISA. You are not allowed to touch this money but it will save you in the long run.
What’s happening here is that the microtransactions become more expensive, so you put yourself into a situation where you will have to be better with your money to survive. You will find that you question transactions more and are more wary about spending. You will consider the things you buy more carefully and it will save you a lot in the long run. You will find that at the end of a few months when you look at your ISA balance, you have probably saved a lot of money if you follow this step. Now think about the games you have been playing. Are you still playing them? Did these things matter to you that much? How much would you have spent if you’d kept playing them?
4: Punish Yourself: If things are still impossible, there is only one way to handle this. That is by setting up a strict rule. Every time you consider making a transaction, you should fine yourself and add the cost of the microtransaction you considered, even if it was just for a moment. I tried this with a fine of £10.00 and before I knew it, I’d got £100.00 in the bank on top of over £400.00 that would have gone on micro transactions for pointless in game things. This sounds like a lot because it is. I struggled like hell that month to survive and worked over 24 hours a week more overtime to cover my expenses. I did not touch a penny that I put in my ISA. With this step, you never, ever buy anything. It is the best step and it will save your life.
Over the past few months, I have saved several thousand pounds from following these rules. Despite not spending that much normally on microtransactions, I punish myself whenever I think about it and I’ve stopped focusing on games as much. It’s helped me break out of a few of the major issues games like this can have.
One of the biggest problems is that once you spend money in this way, it is really, really easy to spend money again. It might just be a pound or two here or there but before you know it, you’ll spend hundreds on something you may not even end up playing in a few months.
I’ll give a few examples from my life: I started playing Pokemon Go to get fit. Whilst I could get plentiful Balls from the local area, walking for eggs was always heavily depressing and the inability to hatch more than one at once was enough to drive me absolutely crazy. One day I saw a fantastic deal and decided that it would be an excellent idea, considering how this game had become my Gym to buy the £99.00 worth of Pokecoins, so I could have all the incubators I’d ever need. I even got some handy duds to look like Team Rocket.
I was out, every night, running around, collecting Pokemon like never before and hatching everything I came across, and all the eggs sent by my growing list of friends. Eventually the incubators ran out. In all those eggs I hadn’t got one good Pokemon. There are no good Pokemon that come from eggs. I had burned £99.00 on a game and it had brought me no benefits. Yeah I was fitter, but I’d have been fit anyway as I’d have played it anyway. I ended up spending a bit more on the game, but stopped playing it eventually, as I got bored. I enjoyed it whilst it was good, but I could have used the money for other things and the spend was entirely unnecessary.
Let’s talk League of Legends as it’s the biggest cash sink of my life apart from Just Eat. I bought boosts to level up to 30 faster, IP boosts when they were a thing. I bought over 20 name changes, and I still have a terrible name. I bought most of the champions, and there are over 100 now probably. I bought hundreds of skins on champions I don’t even play. I look back and think how much of an idiot I have been. I have probably spent over £10,000.00 on the game. That’s almost a year’s pay. Across all my games, and all this time I know for a fact that I have burned enough money to get a mortgage on a small house.
Now, I am very careful with my money and my microtransactions. I still spend money on games but I punish myself for it and I work a lot harder because of it. I am now used to pulling long hours at work and even built my own company so I could handle the outflux of cash.
I am now able to save up easily to get the things I need in this world and to have the life I want. Being a game addict, I have learned to work hard and earn a lot of money to support my addiction and I am finally overcoming it and escaping from it. I hope that these four steps help you overcome spending money on computer games, and help you in your life.
You can always find ways to earn more money, and that’s what I want to do with this website. Help people and teach them how to make money. I do many things outside of this site, a care assistant, which is my full time job. I run a marketing firm and I also help people as a counsellor, though I have had no official training. I write music for films and make my own silly Sci fi series under the name Chan Walrus, look me up, I’m a real person!
If you are struggling with game addiction or spending a lot of money on games, then try and take some time out of the games you play regularly. I will leave you with one final piece of advice if you got this far: Every hour you spend playing computer games and relaxing is an hour you could spend working to build additional income for yourself. My most read blog is one I did on Just Eat and it has earned my company thousands of pounds and quite a few customers to the point I am investing in building an engine to help restaurants and takeaways and I have invested thousands of my company funds in that.
I started working at 25 and had no job or experience other than a few months teaching, which I was exploited into and wasn’t paid for, washing up and cooking at a restaurant in Colchester and delivering goods as a greengrocers assistant. I am now in my early 30s, running a company and taking back my life. I have a new fire and ambition. If you are reading this, you can do anything. Just practise a few hours a day, and you’ll be surprised. I still have time to play computer games and I still feed regularly In league of legends. I’m Crazed Cultist on EUW, hit me up and feed with me in bot lane and you can see some of the cosmetics I’ve wasted money on. I’ve gotta use them for something, right?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it helps!
I am the CEO of Fantasoft an up and coming digital marketing firm based in the UK. I work as a blogger, SEO specialist and Web Designer, and my hobbies include making small films and writing music.