Need to increase productivity? Get your timer out!

2014-02-05 18.56.05


Yesterday, I was working on a writing project. I spent about two hours sitting at the computer attempting to write. I say attempting because I only got a few pages written. I kept getting distracted by email, Facebook, Twitter, laundry, cats, thinking of other projects, checking on dinner and just about anything else I could think of so I didn’t write. Today, I decided to try something different.

Are video games frugal?

When people find out that my husband and I play video games, most of them say “Well, that’s not very frugal!” Actually, it’s more frugal than you think or at least it can be.

This week, Bethesda released Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This is a role-playing game, which because it is a new release we paid $59.99 for. Yes, I know 60 bucks is a week’s worth of groceries in our house. Yes, I know $60 is the price of three pairs of jeans. There are a lot of things $60 could buy. Sixty dollars is also the price of a decent dinner out. Sixty dollars is two trips to the movies. Sixty dollars is a night out playing pool and having a few drinks.

A $60 video game like Skyrim is hundreds of hours of play time over the next six months to a year in our house. The last game my husband purchased was Fallout 3: New Vegas (another RPG) which he played for approximately four months. We purchased the game used for about $20. Now when I think about all the things my husband could be out doing on a Friday night (things I will not mention because I try to keep things clean) and the money he could be spending, I’m pretty cool with video games.

To make things more frugal, we generally purchase games used and trade in old games toward the purchase of new ones. Skyrim is the first game in a long time that we have purchased new when it first came out. Most games we purchase are $20 or less and we only purchase 3 or 4 games a year. After trade-in credits, we probably spend about $100 a year on games. That’s about the price of a monthly Netflix streaming subscription. It’s much less than cable or going to the movies once a month.

Most of the games we play together, switching back and forth. We laugh together and make silly comments while we play. Many of the games we play have great stories and require you to make decisions and figure out puzzles. They require strategy and thought. Sometimes you even have to do math! Oh the horror!

The best thing about video games? They get my husband to do laundry! What is better than that?

P.S. If you are trying to decide if you should get Skyrim, you should. It’s awesome. We are having so much fun playing it.