Ten Money Making Tips

The pugging guide I borrowed from my guild’s website proved popular, so I thought it was worth following it up with another guide taken (in part) from another discussion on our guild forum. This time the subject is making (and keeping) money. 

The discussion started after a run of guildies complaining they didn’t have enough money to buy epic mounts. The more affluent members of the guild put together a few tips on earning and keeping in-game money. (Thanks to Pauladin for initiating the original thread with his ideas).

(These suggestions are for people leveling their characters. It’s not about end-game money making techniques).

1.Roll a banker alt

A banker alt is an alt that spends all its time running between the mailbox, bank and Auction House (AH).

This is the most important thing you can do to start making money. When you’re clearing your bags on your non-banker alt, send things you think will sell well on the AH (and stuff you want to keep for another alt) to your banker. Login to your banker at the beginning/end of each WoW session to post new auctions and collect cash from successful ones.

And use an addin (like Auctioneer) to help you manage your AH activities.

2. Get big bags

Before you start splashing out on fancy gear, fill your character’s bag slots with the biggest bags you can afford from the AH. This will give you more time between visits to the mailbox, and prevent you having to throw stuff away to make space. As I mentioned in an earlier post, 16-slot bags are the sweet spot. But if you don’t have a rich alt to hand you cash, start with 10- or 12- slotters.

(If you’re new to WoW, then don’t spend all your money on bags. You’ll need some for training and repairs. But buy bags before you start buying armor and weapons – see item 5. It should only take a few stacks of copper bars before you can get your first 16-slot bag – see item 3).

3. Take up gathering professions

All my alts level with skinning and (mining or herbalism). You can sell the mats you gather at a good price on the AH, and use your proceeds to buy the things you might have made for yourself if you’d taken a different profession. My favorite combination is skinning and mining. The ore you mine fetches a very good price in the AH – even copper ore. Leather pays slightly less, but skinners have the advantage that ‘Skinning Nodes’ magically appear whenever they kill a beast.

Its fine if you want to level a manufacturing profession, but don’t pretend you’re doing it for money. You may make some cash at endgame (selling bullets and arrows to hunters, for example), but you’re using the mats you could have sold as you level. And even if you decide to level a manufacturing profession, its still a good idea to make sure this alt is going to be one you enjoy playing before investing in skilling up. (Tin and I have probably halfway leveled 10 engineering alts between us – we always seem to get bored with all our engineers and delete them).

4. Always loot your kills

Sounds funny to say that your should pack gray items into your bags, but the cumulative effect of vendoring grays adds up to a lot of money over 80 levels. Tin uses GarbageFu, which tells her she’s made over 300g from vendoring grays. And she’s not had it installed all the time. You can always throw away grays if your bags gets full.

(GarbageFu seems to be a bit broken right now, which is why I’m not linking it).

5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need

Being decked out in blues or purples as you level makes you feel good, but the leveling speed these days will make them quickly obsolete. Save your money and kit yourself in drops, quest rewards and careful purchases from the AH. Running instances is a good way to get the blues you want.

6. Sell non-BoP world event prizes

If you’re not bothered about achievements, then things like Preserved Holly, Red Helper Boxes, and Jingling Bells fetch a lot on the AH a few months after the event has ended. For example, I grabbed all the Winter Veil gifts with my alts, and I’m now selling off my Bind-on-Use pets for around 100g each.

Similarly, make sure you understand what special quest items will be needed for world events. For example, demand for Darkmoon Faire hand-ins rockets when the Faire is in town. The same applies for demand for  mats for new recipes that appear when a patch drops.

(I still remember our first WoW Valentines Day. Tin and I made a fortune (or so it seemed then) by collecting cards from the alliance guards and selling them on the trade channel).

7. Be patient

Don’t be in a hurry to sell if AH prices have taken a temporary dip. Over time, you’ll learn how much you can get for things. If you see someone selling really low, then buy it up and relist it when prices rise again. Scan the AH with Auctioneer regularly to keep your price database up to date. And don’t saturate the market with your gathering profession stuff – sell it a little at a time to give the buyer the impression these items are scarce.

Conversely, you’ll make very little money (and lose a lot of deposits) if you hold out for the absolute highest prices on the AH. Take a tip from your local used car dealership – it can be more profitable to sell a lot of stuff quickly at a small profit than to sell a small amount at a high profit.

Many people focus on particular areas of the AH economy – enchanting mats, cloth, mats from gathering professions, or whatever. Understand what the things you sell regularly are used for, so you can predict how changes in one profession might effect another. For a while, I made a lot of money spotting blue items listed below market price and relisting them for a profit.

If you do take up a production profession, find items that are in high demand from other professions or as quest hand-ins.

8. Know something your buyer doesn’t

Its amazing how much people will pay for stuff that’s cheap to buy from vendors (if you choose the right vend0r). Find recipes from out of the way vendors and sell for a big profit on the AH. 

Similarly, if you have a friend with a character of the opposite faction, then use the neutral AHs to swap stuff so you can auction it to the faction where the price is higher. As an example, Tin and I regularly exchange pets – you can buy them for ~40s and sell for 10-20G. I wrote about how to do this in an earlier post. (This was a huge earner when the pet achievements were first launched. It easily paid for Tin’s Epic Flying Mount before demand started to slacken off).

9. Always set a buyout price on the AH

The people with the most money want something now – they don’t want to wait for the auction to finish. 

10. Plan ahead

Don’t start thinking about the money you need for your level 60 Epic Mount when you’re level 59. You should start saving for it as soon as you’ve saved enough for your level 30 mount.


And that’s the ten tips. There are plenty more ways to earn and keep gold, but ten is a good number to start with. Feel free to add any other suggestions as comments? And what is the best (or worst) AH trade you’ve ever made?


5 responses to “Ten Money Making Tips

  1. A little extra tip I find helpful:

    Have a second alt who acts as a savings bank. I find that my main bank/AH character tends to spend money as soon as he gets it. It is always in the name of turning a profit, but profit is worthless if you constantly reinvest it (or spend it on shiny things).

    So cream a little off each sale and send it to your savings alt who you rarely log on with; that way you will accumulate gold without risking spending it again. Very handy when you are saving up for something in particular.

  2. Interesting post. Has a lot of common sense to be able to have enough money to keep repaired, enchanted and gemmed.

  3. Great post.
    Anelf and I disagree on the 16-slot bag being the sweet spot. If you frequently fill up bags (as I do), a couple extra slots will pay for themselves quickly at higher levels. I think about it this way — 1-3 gold per gray, or stack of gray items, times 2 extra slots per questing circuit, call it an average of about 4g every time you visit a vendor to empty bags. I forget the exact difference in AH bag prices, but I’m pretty sure you pay for the difference in 4-5 trips, if you are like me and frequently end up with full bags. Over the course of your game play, an extra two gray item sales at ever vendor could really pay big dividends. Because I’m a pack-rat, I go for 20 slots as soon as I can afford them. I also acknowledge these aren’t absolutely necessary and take much longer to pay off, but I’m pretty sure they have paid for themselves and then some on my skinner and my herbalist toons.
    I agree with the tree, however, that this depends upon your starting bankroll. If you have somewhat limited funds, by all means, start with the bags you can afford, and the 16-slots are a good investment on the price per slot basis.

  4. I use minimalist for vendoring grays. It also does much more. I have actually 2 alts dealing in money. Neokiabank is still banking away, but my new alt started with 100g and is in charge of turning profits in the AH. I haven’t started much work with him (darn semester finals 🙂 ), but I do hope to start making the big profits with him.

  5. @Pauladin – All of my alts are still using Imbued Netherweave bags :-). The only one I was running out of space on was the hunter because I have to carry around ammo and food. Anelf has a couple of larger bags she got as quests and rep rewards.

    I just can’t bring myself to spend so much more gold on the bigger ones 🙂 .