Video games and gaming gear aren't necessarily among the cheapest gadgets you can own, but there are ways to get the most bang for your buck.
The cheapest consoles
A Nintendo Wii is only $250 and comes with the ever-popular Wii Sports game bundled inside. For that flat price, you'll be set to play straight out of the box. However, extra Wii remotes and nunchuks are going to cost you extra.
Even cheaper, the Xbox 360 Arcade is only $200 but doesn't come with a hard drive. You'll need the HDD for downloading larger games and using the console to watch movies. We can only recommend the Arcade for those who don't plan on doing anything else with their system besides play store-bought disc games and very few mini Arcade titles. For those who want to access the full potential of the system, you're much better off spending the extra $50 for the 60GB Xbox 360.
The cheapest handhelds
While the PSP Go will be available in October for $250, the current PSP-3000 is still the much more affordable option. Also, the less expensive DS Lite is still available for around $130 next to its more expensive camera- and download-enhanced DSi ($170).
Rechargeable batteries for controllers
Both the Wii and Xbox 360 controllers require user-replaceable batteries. Unfortunately, this can wind up becoming quite the expensive chore. We'd definitely recommend you picking up a recharging solution for either console. PlayStation 3 controllers have batteries built in, so there's no need to buy any extra accessories.
There are plenty of options for the Wii, so be sure to check out our Wii charger roundup. Things are a bit simpler for the Xbox 360. While Microsoft sells a charging solution for $30, it only includes one battery. Instead, you may want to check out the Nyko Charge Base 360 which can simultaneously charge two controllers at once. It also comes with two batteries and is available for the same price.
When it comes to video games themselves, there are usually inexpensive gems to be found out there. Check out our constantly updated lists for the cheapest titles for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, and DS.
Also, don't be afraid about purchasing used games. Whether it's online or in-store, there are deals to be had. That said, don't expect prices on newer used games to be that drastic.