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#1 Edited by NTM (11462 posts) -

Okay, so not every year is a winner when it comes to gaming (most are, but not every one), but there are always more than enough to possibly leave you with a lack of money. What are the ways that work for you when it comes to playing the games you want while also saving money for the necessities? For me, it's very hard because I like playing games when they come out, and now as digital is more prevalent and they're almost never under $59.99, I find it hard to say no, even though I probably should. Do a lot of you just resist and wait until there is a sale, or simply skip it altogether to make sure you're financially secure? And how about game sales? I almost never wait for any of that which is not a good thing for me obviously.

I'm feeling like I need to be a little more frugal with my money, although I admit that's very hard because it goes against what I'm passionate about, which is getting a game and discussing it afterward around the time of its release. Something I was thinking about doing was, instead of just going out and buying a new game, maybe I'd spend as much time as I can doing everything in one game before I move on. That said, that clashes with my enthusiasm level as I might just want to move onto something else, and sometimes games don't really have extra content really worth seeing to completion. It'd help me save money, I know that, but at that point, I'm not really enjoying myself which is defeating the purpose.

The realities are at odds with my passion and it sucks. I'd like to hear how you guys go about this.

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#2 Posted by nutter (1500 posts) -

I stay busy. Less time on my ass means less money spent on games.

Also, why buy fall games day one? They’re all $30-40 digital by Black Friday, maybe less physical.

Gamepass is really cool, too. I got it 50% off. IF you make that your primary source for games, that’s a cheap route.

The old Best Buy gamers club is kinda kaput, but just buying Xbox and PSN credit on the cheap helps quite a bit. It’s 80 cents on the dollar with some frequency, so why not stock up and save 20% on all your digital games?

Buying used and selling used is a tried and true method.

Steam sales: Buy shit you WANT to play, not everything that’s a good deal.

Learn to regulate hype. Not every game is a must-play-now. Often, the game of the year comes out in February and is forgotten when a better game hits in April and five games better still release in the fall. Wait. Hype is powerful marketing. The game’s probably good, not great.

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#3 Posted by IVDAMKE (1813 posts) -

Simple, I dont actually buy that many games. My tastes generally veer toward ones that have a lot of content and are built around the idea of mastery of the mechanics. So I tend to get a lot more out of the less amount of games I buy.

Usually around 8 or so games a year? So far this year I've bought 4.

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#4 Edited by Justin258 (15484 posts) -

I don't buy many full priced games these days either. I impulse-bought Dragon Quest XI after seeing the Quick Look at 3AM and that was a mistake. I mean, it's a good game, but I don't know if I'll get ten hours out of it, much less a hundred. I already own Divinity: Original Sin 2 and was kinda leaning towards playing the recently-released Definitive Edition of that anyway.

Other than that, the full-priced games I've purchased this year are Octopath Traveler and God of War. That's it, at least as far as I can remember right now. Everything else I have purchased has been less than $60. I don't even think I've spent $40 on anything else this year.

Video gaming can be really cheap if you're not out to buy the latest and greatest on day one. I understand wanting to be part of the "zeitgeist" or whatever, that initial wave of people that first get a game and try to figure out. But save that for a special one or two games per year, pick another one or two to buy when they drop price, and if you find yourself itching for something new at any other time of the year, look for something you missed from the last few years.

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#5 Posted by Redhotchilimist (2837 posts) -

I usually only buy one or two new games at full price each year. That helps. In the meantime, some older cool stuff has always come on sale, too.

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#7 Posted by cikame (2545 posts) -

I don't go on holidays, drink, smoke, have parties or eat expensive food.
Luckily i don't really want to do any of those things, so that's useful.
Also still living with my parents, because house prices in the UK are insane and the government is taking a very long time implementing benefits to first time buyers.

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#8 Edited by NTM (11462 posts) -

@cikame said:

I don't go on holidays, drink, smoke, have parties or eat expensive food.

Luckily i don't really want to do any of those things, so that's useful.

Also still living with my parents, because house prices in the UK are insane and the government is taking a very long time implementing benefits to first time buyers.

Well... Actually, everything you said is the same for me (unless you consider going on family camping trips for a day or two [albeit, on my days off] 'going on holidays'). I don't have a girlfriend either (I don't get out enough to really meet people, and my work most likely isn't going to help with that), and not that I'd want to be with anyone because of money reasons, but obviously being with someone in a serious relationship can help financially I believe. I also don't really hang out with friends too much after I moved in 2009. I make $17.50 an hour, but I don't work enough there to make a living on my own here in WA. While I do feel embarrassed to say I still live with my parents as it just seems to be a negative thing in peoples minds, it doesn't really bother me all too much outside of the fact that it just kind of sucks money wise. To be honest, I don't even like spilling the beans here about myself, but whatever.

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#9 Edited by Mike (17959 posts) -

Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. Start planning for the future, and I don’t mean next week.

Moderator Online
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#10 Edited by NTM (11462 posts) -

@ivdamke: I think four is more than I've bought this year in terms of new games, but overall? Probably not. Actually, perhaps the only new game I bought this year was God of War. I've played others like Far Cry 5 because I have brothers that play games as well and since I live and share my system with one of my brothers, I don't have to buy every game. For most of this year, I've been playing older games, and even buying older games I already had which is arguably even more of a waste of money, but since I got an X and 4K screen I've been wanting to play old games on a more powerful console. I often buy cheaper, older titles that I didn't play, like Destiny 2 this year. There are a bunch of games from this year that I've been on the fence about, like smaller titles such as Celeste, Iconoclasts, and etc. Eh, I do have an issue sometimes with buying new games around the time they release if I have the money available, but I need to resist buying other things that aren't necessary (Starbucks mochas).

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#11 Posted by BoOzak (2437 posts) -

@cikame said:

I don't go on holidays, drink, smoke, have parties or eat expensive food.

Luckily i don't really want to do any of those things, so that's useful.

Also still living with my parents, because house prices in the UK are insane and the government is taking a very long time implementing benefits to first time buyers.

Same, friend of mine is married with a kid on the way and still lives with his parents ;p

I only work part time but it's enough to get whatever I want without worrying too much about it.

That being said I like getting games on sale since getting decent deals feels good, so I wont always buy games I think will go down in price fast. (basically any ubisoft game)

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#12 Edited by nicksmi56 (805 posts) -

Taking a couple of years to get a current-gen console really taught me that there's nothing wrong with waiting to play a game. Good games are good no matter when you play them. I just played Super Mario 64 for the first time last year and had a blast despite that game being more than 20 years old! And since I have such a big pile of games to play, that means that I'm less tempted to rush out and buy the newest releases. Sure, I could buy Octopath, but I already have so many JRPGs in that style to go through so it can wait. Captain Toad and Crash look like a lot of fun, but I just started Odyssey and that's gonna take forever! Gotta get DOOM at some point, but it's not like I'm hurting for shooters just yet. Maybe if it's on sale during Black Friday. Most of the time, games aren't going anywhere, so I've found it easier to wait until I have the time and drive to play them rather than buying them just because they're new and shiny.

Also, 9 times out of 10, hype is a big fat lie. You'll always be closer to the truth if you assume that the latest critical/fan-beloved darling falls short of the hype. This gen more than any other is the perfect example. Isn't that right, Destiny/Sea of Thieves/No Man's Sky?

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#13 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8628 posts) -

@mike said:

Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. Start planning for the future, and I don’t mean next week.

This. I'll add that creating a spreadsheet with my bills and living expenses helped me realize how much per month I was wasting on games and how much I needed to save.

Also, there is absolutely no harm in waiting for games to drop to a reasonable price.

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#14 Posted by Slag (8121 posts) -

@ntm: What I do wouldn't work for you since I don't care about the Zeitgeist that much.

I think it's a great personal observation that you enjoy being part of the Zeitgeist most and that's an important consideration.

So here's a couple suggestions

  1. Buy Physical games and then sell them when finished. If you really want to keep a copy of the game, consider buying it back later when it's cheaper.
  2. Consider splitting game purchases with a friend or sharing discs.
  3. Game rental services like gamefly.com and red box still exist, consider those for short campaign games or ones you are iffy on.
  4. As others have said, if you have XBox, get a Game Pass sub. If you like EA games a lot, consider their EA access pass.
  5. When deciding what to play that's new and paying full price, pick the choice that has the longest campaign or amount of content you'd want to play naturally.

Doing any of those, or some combination thereof should reduce your costs a lot while still allowing you to play the most recent releases.

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#15 Edited by cliffordbanes (117 posts) -

Read about and watch games coverage and complain about games online instead of playing them.

  1. Acquire a backlog of games.
  2. Suffer from choice overload and play none of the games.
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#16 Posted by cikame (2545 posts) -

@ntm: There's still a bit of a stigma, but as long as the parents are ok with it it seems normal for people to still be living at home well into their 30's, i can't speak for American housing situations but here in the UK it's brutal. I'd feel worse about it if it wasn't for the fact that non of my friends have moved out either, i do know a few people who tried it, but it ends up not working out which is why i'm waiting till the time is right.
My parents have friends who are still housing their 40+ year old kids, it's getting to be pretty normal.

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#17 Edited by shivermetimbers (1633 posts) -

I rarely see movies.

I don't travel.

I don't live a life of luxury.

Gaming is basically my main hobby, I don't spend money on hardly anything else.

I eat as cheaply and healthy as I can.

I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs (besides ones prescribed).

I don't spend a lot of money on other things.

...I can go on, but yeah. If you're struggling financially, I can understand and would recommend buying one game a month and reading reviews and such. I also don't spend money on subscriptions like Giant Bomb premium and have leaned away from competitive online games, so no more PSplus or XBlive.

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#18 Posted by NTM (11462 posts) -

@shivermetimbers: I don't do any of that either. I do spend money from time to time eating out, be it a restaurant or going to some coffee shop; I also sometimes help with necessities though like groceries, gas, or dog food/treats/toys. The reason I am struggling financially just comes down to how much I work really, which is another discussion (as opposed to how much I make or what I spend my money on). That said, being more frugal is a good idea which is why I wanted to see what others do to save money. I think I'm going to have to wean off of the junk food, ha ha. Gaming is my main hobby as well. I know some that can't think of anywhere else to spend their money other than going to a casino and that's crazy to me.

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#19 Edited by millionthlayla (192 posts) -

I basically forgo buying games when they're first released unless it's a small, modestly-priced indie game. I can wait on most anything. I have the patience for it. Or rather, my cheapskate nature overpowers any desire I might have to play things right away. I just can't justify the cost. I buy things during Steam sales and in bundles.

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#20 Posted by gtb08 (618 posts) -

@ntm: this is my hobby, i stay away from the bars and just have people over my house, bought cars with good gas mileage, dont care what I wear if im not at work, and every game is mine haha. otherwise id probably just wait for sales.

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#21 Posted by BrunoTheThird (774 posts) -

I wouldn't be able to play many new games if it wasn't for sites that let you pay off items monthly. I usually buy £200 of newer games at once, and pay 16 something a month for a year. Otherwise, it's one big game a month in slower months with fewer releases, or wait for a sale.

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#22 Posted by kopcik (93 posts) -

And when would you play all those games?

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#23 Edited by ATastySlurpee (599 posts) -

Mine is more time rather than money. I can own whatever games I want, I just don't have the time to play every game. So I buy the games I really want and put the rest on Gamefly/ pick them up later when they drop in price and then play them later down the road or skip some completely

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#24 Posted by NowSayPillow (196 posts) -

Don't get games at launch, wait six months and get the games you really want half off. If it's not something you need to play wait nine or so months and get it for like 15 bucks. Honestly though, do this for a while and you'll notice that once the hype dies down for a game you'll be less likely to need to play that game. Waiting a few months after launch will save you a small fortune in the long run. It's kind of like the marshmallow test, you can have 1 marshmallow now, or you can wait and have 2 later. Patience pays off.

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#25 Edited by soulcake (2429 posts) -

Budget yourself sell a kidney ( who needs two anyway) and work harder.

Or be a total idiot like i am and buy every big game at release. And play them for 3 hours each. I still gotta finish yakuza kiwami 2 and that destiny 2 expansion and dragon quest, and that new Tomb Raider comes out and i already bought it! Fuck i could save a lot off money by just finishing the games i buy. FOMO sucks

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#26 Posted by jamesyfx (127 posts) -

I rented a room out of my house to make the pain a little easier.. My mortgage is basically paid for by the tenant. :D

Plus I'll usually wait a while for prices to drop unless I'm super excited about a release.

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#27 Posted by totsboy (469 posts) -

I have an excel sheet where I write all games that I bought and finished on a monthly basis. Every month I have to finish more than I buy.

I think even if you don't do this rule, just writing down how many you buy and finish might make you think twice before buying a new one. What also helped was a few times during steam sales I thought "Hey this game in discounted, I'll get it" only to find out I bought it 1 year before on a sale and never played it. Sales happen all the time, if you are not gonna play the game right now, you can probably wait for the next time it's gonna be on sale.

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#28 Posted by MerxWorx01 (738 posts) -

@cliffordbanes: Nice! I play that game a couple times a week. After staring at my steam library I usually end up watching a cooking show and sleeping early.

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#29 Posted by darkjohnny47 (274 posts) -

Play betas when you can. It made me realize I don't need to buy BF:V. and i pre-ordered Black Ops 4 to try the beta and will cancel the pre-order if i don't like Blackout. Same with Fallout 76, pre-ordered for beta, will cancel if i don't like.

Moral of the story: try before you buy if possible. It helps me cut down on stuff to buy.

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#30 Edited by Mamba219 (263 posts) -

Never buy games when they first release. Wait for sales, or time to pass, or both. I try never to buy games that cost more than $20.

As far as feeling like you'll miss the discussion window of games, that shouldn't be a problem unless you have a group of very close friends who also play exactly the same games as you right when the game comes out. Now that the Internet is a thing, games are discussed forever, be they good or bad.

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#31 Posted by ghost_cat (2198 posts) -

Go to a friend's house to play video games. Save that money for traveling and fancy pizza instead (way better).

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#32 Posted by FacelessVixen (2427 posts) -

By rarely buying games at full price thanks to Steam, Humble Bundle and Green Man Gales sales along with one reliable grey market.

Online
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#35 Posted by TheMaxDaddy (35 posts) -

Don't watch game trailers. That helped me.

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#36 Posted by Dryker (944 posts) -

I don't have any! Please help!!! I can't stop buying games I never get to. I started buying games mostly on sale, but even some I pay full price for I never get around to playing. I've been telling myself to stop for a couple years now, but so many games look so good. It makes me happy just to see them there if I ever need them, but I really need to stop. Please help.

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#37 Posted by Dryker (944 posts) -

@nicksmi56: Nooooooooooo! Those three games are horrible examples. I've got tons of games I haven't gotten to yet, but those three I've played more than any others. Destiny probably has about 400 hours. No Man's Sky has about 100 hours. And Sea of Thieves is around 70 hours. I love Destiny. That game is so underrated (and yet not, depending on who you ask, or the amount of people playing it). Constantly playing it. The other two I love to visit from time to time. They'll feel like nothing else out there.

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#38 Edited by avantegardener (2344 posts) -

The best advice, is probably to try and not get distracted by the 'new shiny' without rationalising 1st.

Can I afford this now? Do I really need to play this now (can be tricky when some games have a place in time, whether it be zeitgeist or a requirement for an active community)?

What do I own that I could be playing instead? When a new game comes out, I sometimes think, huh well I own this similar thing, and never really played it.

Patience, waiting for sales is a key part to this hobby, and reductions get more ludicrous as time passes.

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#39 Posted by lobster_johnson (65 posts) -

I almost never buy games at release now. I think the last game I bought day one was Zero Time Dilemma, over two years ago.

I'm convinced, however, that impulse buying games on day one when you'll never play them for months, if ever, is actually keeping the games industry afloat, if that makes you feel any better about it?

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#40 Posted by glots (4074 posts) -

Games go on sale fast these days, even on official platform stores, like the PSN Store. At best you only have to wait a month to get a decent discount already.

...but I still rarely do that and buy just about every big game at lauch. I’m also one of those people who considers gaming as their main hobby and doesn’t really spend money on a lot of other things, so it’s not really a problem for me, even less so when I have a job that pays more than well for my lifestyle.

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#41 Posted by Nodima (2498 posts) -

I just don't actually have the desire to play many games. Before I came across Giant Bomb, around the midpoint of the PS3's lifespan (E3 2012), I was at a point where I was basically only buying the NBA 2K series and a PS1 nostalgia title here and there. It was only thanks to late 2011 - early 2013's super hot PS+ streak and GB's refreshing coverage of the medium that I got back into traditional gaming as heavily as I did at that time, and while I definitely play games about as much as I did as a kid these days, I can be pretty patient about it. This year I've bought God of War and MLB The Show day one. I bought Spider-Man a week after it came out, but otherwise this was a year based on sales.

I almost exclusively played The Show during the summer thanks to baseball being one of the most podcast-and-GB friendly sport - let alone video game - there is and this year's Diamond Dynasty being the most epic vision of stat grinding as ideal gameplay I've ever seen, so the only other games I played were Titanfall 2's campaign in January, finally played Bioshock through to the end via Bioshock Collection, finally clicked with Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, also finally clicked with Bloodborne (though I only got to the third act before The Show came out), finally played and loved Pyre and have gotten about 2/3 of the way through God of War III. All of those games were bought via sale, and while all big releases games I just didn't have interest in or affinity for to play immediately.

Honestly, about the only games I buy day one without question are Rockstar and Sony first party titles. I dropped the 2K series this year as its increasing focus on VC and MyCareer makes the game something I just don't need in my life at a yearly rate anymore, and I think this year left such a bland taste in my mouth I'll be skipping The Show next year as well. Which means I'll have time to dig into my backlog of sale purchase: Watch_Dogs 2, Mass Effect Andromeda, Banner Saga 2, Batman: Return to Arkham and Shadow of the Colossus. Obviously I'm getting Red Dead on launch (and requesting that weekend off for it) but there's nothing else immediately on my radar games wise this year that I'm aware of; I really, really enjoy the new Tomb Raiders but I've heard just enough about this one that I think I'm fine waiting for even a $10 or $15 sale this holiday season.

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#42 Posted by MrGreenMan (126 posts) -

I just don't have the time to play all these games. I tend to stick to smaller indie shorter games myself, and often those are cheaper overall. My recommendation is just buy games when you have little to nothing to play and not to just buy them just to have them. Especially if you play games on PC, wait long enough and you will get a better deal with all the extra content that everyone else had to pay for like 2/3rds the price.

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#43 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7318 posts) -

I don't buy most of the games and try to play teh ones I do buy...that save a TON of money.

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#44 Posted by Sombre (217 posts) -

Buy physical, beat them in a month, then sell them back for 75% of the price.

I just got Octopath for £42, spent my time with it, and sold it for £34. Same with DQ11. Bought it for £35, sold it for £28 last night. The money for both of them buys Spiderman next week

A benefit of playing on consoles

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#45 Posted by SarcasticMudcrab (373 posts) -

Stalker mods.

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#46 Posted by zublits (20 posts) -

This will probably be unpopular, but I tend to pirate a lot of new games so that I can keep up with people talking about them. Most of the time I play 10 hours or so and never touch it again. If I wind up liking the game I'll want all the updates and DLC, so I generally buy it then.

90% of the games I download I never want to go back to after 10 hours, so I don't really feel bad for pirating them.

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#47 Posted by BoboBones (209 posts) -

@sombre said:

Buy physical, beat them in a month, then sell them back for 75% of the price.

This is exactly what I used to do. I never trade in Nintendo games, though. Now that I mainly play on PC, I try and wait for a sale.

I've also gotten more picky about what I enjoy. I used to feel the pressure to play everything new and hot, but I'm over it. I had no problem skipping God of War, while I knew Forza Horizon 4, and Spider-Man were day 1 purchases. If I couldn't afford both, then I would go for Forza Horizon 4, due to it's online functionality

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#48 Posted by LikeaSsur (1611 posts) -

The secret is to not buy games. I'm not saying pirate them, either. Just don't buy every new game that Giant Bomb or other places rave about. Watch a Let's Play or a Twitch stream and you'll get an almost 1-to-1 experience watching as you would playing. Money saved.

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#49 Posted by Arcsurvivor (10 posts) -

Wait for a bundle sale, steam sale, read reviews & watch gameplay videos for any game before buying it. If I see bugs mentioned in recent reviews, I usually do not look further.

Also, play some older games that you did not finish yet.