Earn $1 Million By Not Buying a Nintendo Wii!

by Ryan Guina

It’s true! You can earn $1,000,000 by not buying a Nintendo Wii!

What? You don’t believe me? All right. Let’s look at the numbers and see if I can show you how not buying a Nintendo Wii (and a few key accessories along the way) can earn you $1,000,000!

nintendo-wii.jpgFirst, let’s start with the cost of a Nintendo Wii. If you are lucky enough to find a console at the retail price of $250, you are extremely lucky! Otherwise it will cost you about $450 via Amazon, and possibly more via eBay! When you consider tax, shipping, or buying a Nintendo Wii package that comes with different items included, you will end up spending a lot more than the suggested retail price of $250. Let’s assume you are able to purchase a Nintendo Wii for $350 (that is a very fair assumption in the current environment). Running total $350.

Next, you have to buy a few key accessories! The Nintendo Wii is set up to play up to 4 players, so let’s assume you buy a package that comes with 2 controllers. You will still have to buy two more. Two Wii Controllers will cost you $80, let’s also assume you need 2 Wii Nunchuck Controllers to play a couple games. 2 of these will run you $40.

Two of the most popular games on the market are Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. Dance Dance Revolution requires with a dance floor that you dance on with the game, and Guitar Hero requires you to purchase a special guitar controller that plugs into the Nintendo Wii console. Buying the game and accessories for either Dance Dance Revolution ($100) or Guitar Hero ($150) will set you back a little bit. For this assumption, we will only buy one, and we will use the average price. Add $125.

There are also other accessories such as a steering wheel, sports packs, swords, boxing gloves, and more! Let’s take care of the common accessories and just buy the Total Action Kit, which is $99.

Assuming you buy only one of either Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, and a fair assortment of the other accessories, it is easy to estimate spending $350 for accessories. Running total $700. (yes, I rounded up $6).

Games, Games, Games! No gaming system is complete without adding a few games to the mix. It’s hard to make a fair assumption for how many games you “need” to go with your system. Obviously some people have dozens of games, while others have very few. For this exercise, let’s assume you buy 1 new Wii game every other month (average cost $45), and we will assume you download one legacy Nintendo game every other month (cost $5). The total cost for one year of games will run you $300. That is a lot more than most people would assume before they purchase the console. Remember, buying a Nintendo Wii is not a one-time fixed cost! Running total $1,000.

Opportunity cost. How much time will you spend playing video games? Let’s assume you play for an hour a day and two on Saturday and Sunday For a total of 9 hours. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you won’t play 10 hours straight on Sundays. If you work those hours instead, you could be earning some nice money on the side. The national minimum wage recently increased, but since you are so Wii-savvy, I will assume you can get a moonlighting gig hocking Nintendo Wii and Wii related accessories at Best Buy, which pays more than minimum wage (figure in the $8-10/hr. range). After taxes, I will assume an even $5 per hour, at 8 hours a week (I was generous and gave you a lunch break), for 50 weeks a year (again, I was generous and gave you a vacation break). Assuming you wouldn’t make more money elsewhere, your total opportunity cost is $2,000 per year. I bet you didn’t think about that did you? Running Total $3,000.

Other costs. Video games use electricity, and so does the entertainment system you run it through. You would probably use close to $10 per month, but we’ll assume $100 annually. How would you like a big screen TV to go with your Wii? How about miscellaneous cables, connectors, memory cards, replacement accessories, or patching the drywall after you throw your controller? OK, we won’t count the big screen TV, because you will want that for watching football and movies as well, and let’s face it, a big screen TV is an American right of passage. But the others… they are legitimate costs. Annual assumption $50. Running total $3,150.

Now let’s invest the total and add some time. Take your first year’s Nintendo Wii expenditures ($3,150), throw it into an index fund and let it ride. We’ll also assume you play the Wii for 5 years, so we can add annual amounts for opportunity cost ($2,000), electricity ($100), and video games ($150, assuming you buy half as many games after the first year) for a total annual addition of $2,250 for 4 more years.

Assuming we start with $3,150 and earn 10% compound interest, you will have $3,465 at the end of year one. Next, we will add the $2,250 at the beginning of each additional year, and add 10% to that new figure. At the end of 5 years you will have just over $16,600.

From the time you stop adding money to the pot, it will take you a mere 43 years to turn that amount into $1,000,000! I told you one could earn $1,000,000 by not buying a Nintendo Wii!!!

Wait a minute! You don’t expect me to believe any of this do you? No. Well, I think the math is correct, but that’s about it. This article is filed under “fun money.” It’s the holiday season – go have fun! πŸ˜‰

Note: This article was originally inspired as a farcical response to the article How to Earn $1 Million by Not Watching TV (note this article is no longer available), by Jeffrey Strain from Saving Advice. For a similar view, read my article, Save $10 Million By Not Building Model Trains! πŸ™‚

Published or updated February 27, 2011.
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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 My Dollar Plan

I love it! Now I have the perfect article to send to my family members who put a Wii on their wishlist!


2 Free From Broke

Ha! I’m not buying two Wii’s!! That’s $2 million dollars!! All kidding aside, great example of what we could do with our money and time instead.


3 Traciatim

How much will the divorce cost because you have no Wii and don’t have anything to do with your spouse since your working all the time instead of playing Wii with them?


4 Lynnae @ beingfrugal.net

I’m never going to buy a Wii! I’d rather be a millionaire! And my husband would never divorce me, because I’d be a millionaire! πŸ™‚


5 Mrs. Micah

Lol. I’m not buying a Wii…I’ll be rich! Oh. wait. πŸ™


6 Ryan

LOL… Traciatim, I don’t have an answer for that one. But surely there are other things to do besides play a Wii? Read a book? Take a walk. Have a long talk about your dreams, desires, and future? OK, maybe that last tip will lead to more divorces as well?

This article is 100% tongue in cheek. Be merry. Have fun. πŸ™‚


7 Early Retirement Extreme

Just imagine how many iPhones one can get with a million bucks ;P


8 Ryan

Lynnae, according to my math it will only take 50 years to get there! πŸ˜‰


9 Traciatim

Well, reading a book is hardly a dual person activity. You can’t take a walk when you have kids, having long talks you can only do once in a while. Eventually you just get tired of talking to each other about the same things.

We don’t have cable/sat, just an OTA antenna so in our area that means three TV channels. We only have one PC so there are very few dual player games there, and very few board games that a 3 year old and 6 year old can both play equally. Guess what… my 6 year old kicks the crap out of me at Wii Bowling. My 3 year old can play most of the carnival games in ‘carnival games’ (and wins some of them once in a while), and it’s hard to defend against the relentless barrage of fists of a 3 year old playing Wii boxing.

In a few years time we can break out Risk and Monopoly, but until everyone can do the math and formulate strategy there aren’t as many family activities that you can both stay warm, enjoy together, and not have one person win all the time (usually me since I’m a video game addict).

Sure, we’ve built a snowman, I’m flattening an area in the snow in the back yard to make an ice rink for learning to skate, and we watch movies together too, but the Wii is one thing that really brings us all together that we can all enjoy equally. I don’t really care that it will cost over a million for my lifetime, if the kids grow up knowing we tried our best to do things together as a family then it’s a million well spent.


10 Traciatim

Plus, you’re all just jealous you didn’t buy one when they were available. πŸ˜‰


11 Ryan


“I don’t really care that it will cost over a million for my lifetime, if the kids grow up knowing we tried our best to do things together as a family then it’s a million well spent.”

That’s all that matters. πŸ˜‰


12 Dividends4Life

I enjoyed post! I bought my son a used xBox for Christmas. Since the release of the xBox 360 they are practically giving the xBox’s away at Game Stop. While I was there I picked up a couple of used games (NCAA Football 2007 and some Delta Force air combat game) – All for less than $100.

I plan to include your article in my weekly carnival review this Friday.

Best Wishes,


13 Ryan

Great deal! I saw the PS2 and X-Box advertised for $60 at Game Stop. Not a bad deal, especially when you consider they also make decent DVD players!

I’m glad you liked the article! πŸ™‚


14 David Carter

lol nice, I havn’t bought a new system since nintendo 64 and I am only 20 years old. I know a lot of people who waste all their time at college just playing video games. I stopped buying since the systems were so expensive and I felt like I was just wasting too much of my time(opportunity costs).


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