The Steam Holiday Sale has begun! Here are some survival tips for your wallet

Phil Savage at

It's happening! It's alive! It's Steeeeeeeeeeeeeam Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaale! Valve have launched their annual assault on financial sense, ensuring we'll be showered in cheap games between now and the euphoric come-down on January 3rd. Are you ready? THEN GO!

This year's weird gimmick: snow globes. We'll be collecting and crafting them, apparently. They can be grabbed by buying games, voting on community choices, crafting badges, trading, and can also be purchased through the marketplace. Rather than the usual profile page gubbins, they'll give you in-game items for free-to-play games, including Dota 2. Grab all the details here.

Planning to roll around those store pages, adding games to your cart all hither and thither? Stop, and heed my quick guide on how to Steam sale:

  1. If it's not in a Daily Deal or Flash Sale, don't buy it until the final day of the sale. Anything not listed as a front page special offer has the potential of getting a further price drop in the future. Keep a list of the games you want, and if by the final day they haven't had that extra reduction, that's when it's safe to grab them.
  2. If you miss a Daily Deal or Flash Sale, don't panic. Flash Sales can be re-run, Daily Deals can show up as Flash Sales, and Steam tends to do a couple of Encore Sales throughout the full event. Good deals get repeated.
  3. If, like me, you've been looking at a big list of 75% reduced Crusader Kings 2 DLC, unsure of which you already own, know that Enhanced Steam is your friend. It has other features, too, like a price history for each game.
  4. Consider buying games as gifts, then storing them in your inventory. If, in three months, you realise you're never going to play ShootyMans XI, you can gift or trade it instead. If, after a couple of hours, you're desperate to try RaceyCars III, you can just add it to your library from the inventory page.
  5. Like, seriously, there's a big Steam sale a few times every year. If you're not sure if you particularly want a game - either because it's too pricey, or too mediocre - don't let that countdown timer pressure you into buying it. Chillax, there'll be other chances.

If you've got any more essential pointers, pop 'em in the comments.

Happy Salemas Everybody!