Tips and Tricks: Three Tips To Make Money in Early-Game Skyrim Without Mods or Glitches

There are so many ways to get rich in Skyrim if you utilize mods or in-game glitches. Some people however don’t want to use those “cheats” and may find it a little difficult to get gold flowing in the beginning of the game. Herein lies three solid tips to make sure you can pad your pockets early enough in vanilla Skyrim to at least buy your first house.

Tip #1 – Get A Job

Why not be a simple farmhand in an RPG that let’s you slay dragons and ancient robots?

No seriously, there are actually many ways to have a job in Skyrim. You can bounce around farm to farm collecting veggies to sell back to their owners. There are bounty missions available at every single one of Skyrim’s holds. Plenty of side missions to find items for civilians in exchange for rewards are available. You can even spend your days toiling away at a lumber mill, or swinging away with your pickaxe in the many mines of Skyrim. No matter which you choose, its always guaranteed money, and if you dedicate yourself to one or more of these options, you can bring in a bunch of gold relatively quickly.

Chopping wood for a living isn’t a high paying job, but it’ll do early on.

Notes for Tip #1:

  • Always have a pickaxe and woodcutter’s axe handy. They might take up a small chunk of inventory room, but having them will always grant access to quick gold via mining and smithing or chopping some logs for the local mill
  • Utilize the wagon fast-travel at Whiterun Stables for instant access to all the holds. This will help you collect bounties and side missions much faster. It will also give you access to a lot of farms and merchants right away.
  • Cutting wood and harvesting crops at local farms may take a while, but if you really spend a decent amount of time on each, it can be a solid income for the begin parts of Skyrim, specifically if you want to buy your first house without delving too far into the story or your skill tree yet. Hint: Any food items you find anywhere in the world (like potatoes, cabbage, etc.) can be sold to all farmers at anytime.
  • There are other “jobs” around Skyrim as well. If you have the Anniversary Edition you can become a fisherman. You can even become a chef and sell off the items you cook to local taverns. You can hunt and sell pelts or meat for gold. The options are there you just have to put in the work. Pun intended.

Tip #2 – Explore, Sell, Rinse, Repeat

Collect treasure maps to find secret loot chests.

Between Helgen and Whiterun, the two main areas of the first part of the story, there are plenty of bandit camps, caves, mines, ingredients, treasures, and animals available for you to exploit for gold. Depending on what type of character you want to build you could focus on ingredient gathering and Alchemy to boost your levels and generate some income selling off really good potions. Or if you want to hack and slash your way to supremacy then hitting up the local bandit camp and mine on your way to Riverwood can bring in the early-game dosh you need. There are literally dozens of options right off the bat.

The three locations listed below are pictured to the left of Riverwood.

Notes for Tip #2

  • After leaving Helgen immediately head down the path to the West. Once you come to a turn in the road, continue west off road and you walk straight down to a cliff that overlooks a bandit camp off to the northwest slightly. This camp is a good spot to get some early loot and a treasure map that leads to a chest just outside of Riverwood.
  • Specific locations to hit up before getting to Riverwood are – Embershard Mine, Anise’s Cabin, and Bleak Falls Barrow. All these locations (pictured above) have different types of loot, and can be accessed right outside of Riverwood. Bleak Falls Barrow is also important to the main quest and another side quest to provide some extra incentive to delve into the ancient dungeon. Riverwood is your first access to merchants which makes it the best early-game place to sell off loot.
  • If you’re into Alchemy there are loads of ingredients available over the landscape from Helgen to Whiterun, and if you collect the majority of them along the way you can crank out a few Alchemy levels and sell off some decent valued potions to further expand your coin purse.
  • Exploring all areas from Helgen to Whiterun and selling as much as you can before starting up the main story is recommended. It provides you with the funds to purchase a cheap house in Whiterun for an easy to make 5000 gold. Starting off with a place to store all your extra gear is a perfect way to eliminate ever having to make the decision of which items to keep when out exploring caves and ruins.

Tip #3 – Get Some Friends

What better friend than a shopkeeper?

In Riverwood alone you have access to multiple people who can help you get some cash by simply becoming their friend. This will grant you access to items in their homes that you can sell off for some quick gold. There are also similar spots in Whiterun. All you have to do is finish some very minor tasks for the citizens of the Hold.

Faendal has some really good stuff in his house.

Notes for Tip #3:

  • Complete a minor task for Faendal of Riverwood to receive access to the loot in his home, as well as a way to increase for Archery to level 50 for free over time. You could also choose to help Sven over Faendal but Sven doesn’t come with any added perks.
  • Simply following Hadvar in Helgen to his unlce’s house in Riverwood will grant you access to a bunch of free items courtesy of Alvar the blacksmith. You can grab items he gives you personally, as well as a bunch of stuff from around his house and smitty outside. Its not worth a massive amount of gold but it definitely helps towards that first 5k.
  • Last but not least, delving into Bleak Falls Barrow gives you access to the Golden Claw that was stolen from the local mercantile. Return this claw to the shopkeeper Lucan Valerius at the Riverwood Trader for a chunk of change and access to loot around his shop and home.
  • There are other characters in Whiterun and around the area that you can do missions for or help out to gain access to their houses and even more loot as well. Just talk to everyone along the way and get that extra gold. Also a lot of items in NPC’s possession or property respawn after a few in-game days so check back often.
Treasure are everywhere in Skyrim. You just have to explore!

It’s easy to get rich if you use questionable methods, but for those who want to earn their gold the old fashioned way, these few tips can help jumpstart your journey. Some of these methods can be used over and over again, and some are only useable one time, but all will help pad your packets and help you get those items you need or even that first home in Whiterun.

Did you find these tips useful? Do you know any other quick was to earn legitimate gold in early-game Skyrim? Let us know in the comments below and happy gaming!