How I Practically Stole a Wii

I know, I know. I said I’d never buy a Wii. Funny how never comes around sooner than you think. A few weeks ago I stayed with some family members who have a Wii and I realized just how much fun one could be. I was used to the passive gaming experience where you sit on the sofa and punch buttons and I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed that kind of gaming less and less over the years. I just assumed the Wii wouldn’t be much different and that it would sit around gathering dust. I was wrong and I’m willing to eat crow over it. After a week with my family, I knew that a Wii would get a ton of use in my house and be worth every penny. Of course, that didn’t mean that I was willing to throw sense out the window and just plunk down money willy-nilly. I wanted the best deal I could get.

I knew, generally, what I could expect to pay for the system. It’s hard to walk through Best Buy or Target and not come away with a general idea of prices. But I took the time to do some research and determine exactly which components we needed to start with and to design my dream bundle. I looked at bundles in the store, but most had components I didn’t want and didn’t represent much of a savings. I looked at all of the components I wanted and committed the prices to memory so I’d know when I saw a deal. The research and thought process took about a month and gave me plenty of time to make sure this wasn’t an impulse buy, but a well considered choice.

In the end, I pulled the trigger the day had the Wii console for $219 and free shipping. But I didn’t just automatically buy the other things I needed from Dell for convenience sake. I bought from several vendors and got good deals on all my components. Here’s how I did it:

  • Console: $219 at Dell, free shipping
  • Wii Play with extra remote: $39.99, on sale at, free shipping
  • Wii Sports with Wii Motion Plus: $39.99 on sale at, free shipping
  • Extra Nunchuk, Grand Slam Tennis, Mario and Sonic Go to the Olympics, Mario Kart and extra wheel, and Dance Dance Revolution (with 2 dance pads): Free from because I used gift certificates that I’d earned from various rewards programs and snagged some titles on Gold Box deals or price reductions. Used free shipping and paid no sales tax.
  • Extra Wii Motion Plus controller: $14.99 at Best Buy after I used a $5 gift card.
  • Toy Story Mania Game: $40 at Target after I used $10 in gift cards, plus I got an additional $5 gift card back because I pre-ordered it.

The total for all of this (console, extra controllers, and six games): $353.97. But it gets a little lower. I made the purchases from Dell and Best Buy using cash back shopping sites and earned about $17.00 in cash back. I also used my cash back credit card for all of this (and, as always, paid it off in full at the end of the month) and earned another $18-ish back in cash. And I got the $5 gift card from Target to use on a future purchase. The total when you subtract the cash back is now $313.97.

Compared to retail prices, I came away from this deal feeling like I stole the Wii. The “bundle” I created means that I have all the controllers I’ll need and a good selection of games to start out with. Yes, it was expensive but if I’d bought all of it at retail and not used any gift cards, cash back, or promotions the total would have been $609, plus tax. I cut that almost in half by taking my time, pooling rewards, and looking for the best deals. Had I bought even a year ago at the height of the Wii frenzy, very little of this would have been possible. I’d have paid retail. Ouch. There’s something to be said for being behind the curve and a late adopter.

Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve had this kind of shopping success. I treat most of my purchases in this manner and it has saved me tons of money over the years. There’s nothing better than the thrill of saving a ton of money on something, particularly when that something is a want, not a necessity. There are times when I have to pay full price for something and if it’s an emergency I’ll do it. But when it comes to my wants, I try to cut the price as much as possible. I wait for deals, shop carefully, and take advantage of any extras like cash back, rebates, and credit card rewards. In the case of the Wii, I think I was successful and it will make play time all the sweeter to know that I got it for a steal.

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12 Responses to How I Practically Stole a Wii

  1. Laurence says:

    I’m failing to see how $313.97 is *stealing*… Especially when you could get one from eBay (albeit used) for less than $200 (still too much for me though!)

  2. Cristi Smith says:

    Actually that was a very good cost considering everything that was bought. I bought mine new because I wanted to be sure that the warranty would be good if something did happen. When you buy something expensive like that you are risking a lot! I did buy the board off ebay but figured for less than a 100 dollars I could take the risk. My games that I have bought since are all off ebay. But for me a console that cost almost 300 I wanted new. I wish I had gotten the same deal as you. But then again I don’t have the cash back card and the gift cards for amazon. I rarely shop there. I think you did an amazing job. I love my wii and I think you and your family will too.

  3. MommyMel says:

    One last purchase to make: the remote charger because the remote will eat through the batteries.

  4. I think it’s a good deal. You could have gotten better deal on Ebay or Craigslist but then there is a risk that you may get a bad unit.

  5. Monkey Mama says:

    Agreed with first poster. My spouse buys and sells video games and gaming systems. For that, our system was free. Though money was spent on the Wii (used), most the accessories will come with, as well as some games, and will be much cheaper than any new console.

    We’ve never come across a bad used unit (knock on wood) and we have seen tens of them. But I admit we always keep the best pickings for ourselves.

    This is a way to get video games and systems, and accessories, at very little cost. People often sell a pile of games to my spouse for $10 – games that can be sold on ebay for $100+.

    There is not a lot of risk buying this stuff used, in my opinion. You don’t risk that much at used prices.

  6. Aaron Margeson says:

    FYI, the Wii is being reduced to $200 in a matter of weeks. In fact, was already selling it for that just a few days ago.

    Highly recommend and when looking for good deals especially on electronics and computer stuff!

  7. raghubilhana says:

    I thought this website was about teaching people how to save money(advice about saving). Here is an article explaining how someone saved by spending over $300.00

    Should I even be spending my time here?

  8. You proved what a smart shopper you really are!

    Good work.

  9. Our wii truly was FREE. My husband worked Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas, New Years Eve and NY due to a layoff and others being sick. (Orginally he was to be on vacation from mid Nov thru the end of the year). His company wanted to show their appreciation and gave him 3 $100 prepaid VISA cards. (In addition to his getting triple pay for the holidays and getting to reschedule them into this current year)

    He got it at one of those crazy after the holiday sales at Circuit City as they were being liquidated for under $200 including the charger and several games and controlers. I think he ended up with about $35 left on one of the prepaid cards. He wisely bought games that other family members do not have and we swap them around to kind of have a family game library.

  10. maxia says:

    I agree with the posters, buying a wi in today’s economy is silly and expensive at any price. That money could have went for something really necessary for the home.

  11. Fe2O3ez says:

    I really don’t see an issue with Jennifer purchasing\stealing a Wii if that’s what she enjoys and chooses to be the best outlet for her entertainment. To each his\her own…

    However, as with some of the fellow savers here, I like to put into Savings the amount that I save from various frugalities – just saved $77 on a $200 grocery bill – so the question is, did you move the ~$300 saved to your Emergency or other account so that it is more like $300 earned??

  12. Gail says:

    What in the world is a Wii? Okay I have my head in the sand apparently. I have no clue what this item is or why anyone would want to spend that much money for one, but if you think you got a good deal, you are happy with your purchase, and could afford it why not. What your article showed is that you could get something for less than half price with wise shopping (whether we think it is important or not). My purchase of a second sewing machine would probably have been frowned on also as a frivolous purchase, but it wasn’t to me–and it is paid for! That is the important thing.

    Saving money has an end and that is being able to enjoy thoroughly what you saved. Sounds like you did and continue to enjoy it.

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