How to Make Money in Skyrim without Cheating

Why would anyone want to get money in Skyrim the honest way? Does cheating makes you filthy rich too soon, and you crave for some challenge? Then this guide is for you.

How to Make Money in Skyrim without Cheating

Skyrim: Ways to Make Money without Cheating

  • Become a merchant and sell stuff (basically, it means collecting and selling things to those who needs them).
  • Alchemy works nice, but requires some leveling. At the end you will be able to make and sell potions and get some nice income from it.
  • The simple ways are: doing quests, mining ore, cutting wood or hunting animals.
  • There is iron ore to be found at the Halted steam camp, and you can loot anything and everything along the way. There is also the “transmute mineral ore” spell, which will make gold from iron ore. Once you get some gold, make rings and sell them. All this will not only bring some decent money, but will also level Smithing, Alteration and Speech (from selling to vendors).

How do I get more gold bars in Skyrim?

One Gold Ingot is obtained by melting two Gold Ores, and they can not be purchased. Gold Smithing allows you to create jewelry right away, without having to unlock any Smithing perks.

Can you duplicate gold in Skyrim?

Yes, you can, but this cannot be considered an honest way of making money, remember? To do so, you must drop the items one at a time. If you want to duplicate 30 gold ingots, you must drop each gold ingot individually. Once you have dropped all the gold ingots, you can tell your follower to pick up the items and exit the building. But there are more ‘proper’ ways to get some gold:

  • Gold and silver necklaces and rings with gems can be smithed, then enchanted with Waterbreathing (which is the cheapest because you only need a small soul gem) and then sold for over 1000 gold each. By doing this you will level your smithing, enchanting, and speech skills.
  • Making a steel dagger worth 100 gold and then enchanting it with Banish enchantment will turn it into something worth 2000 gold instantly. Having a lot of profits actually allows one to buy a whole new dagger, a new soul gem that has already been filled, and do the enchantment all over again. The only difficulty is finding filled soul gems.


Exploring dungeons is the number one thing you’ll do in Skyrim. The best treasures can be found in dwemer ruins and draugr crypts, which have chests, gems, and coins. Vampire lairs seem to always be filled with ingredients, jewelry, and gems. Forsworn camps sometimes have enchanted weapons and enchanted jewelry, and brairhearts often carry staffs.

To determine what items to take and what to leave behind, use the weight/value ratio formula: Value = Base Value / Weight.

The items with the highest value are light armor, jewelry, gems, ingredients, potions, and skill books. Weapons are usually less valuable and should be ignored unless they are enchanted.


Pickpocketing and breaking and entering are two types of thieving that can be lucrative even if you aren’t doing work for the guild.

In order to break and enter, you need to figure out who and where, how many people live in the house, and when they sleep or leave. You also need to plan how long they are going to be gone. You need stealth to break into their house as they sleep, while you need speed to do it while they are gone. Steal a key or bring some lockpicks to gain entry by breaking their lock.

The best way to steal gold and other valuables is to pickpocket the occupants of the house while they are sleeping, but wait until the very last minute so you do not wake them up before you collect everything they have. Search all containers and take anything that has value, even plates can be profitable in quantity, and do not forget their jewelry.

Pickpocketing can be done anywhere so long as you don’t get caught, wear fortify pickpocketing gear whenever you can, and avoid picking pockets with less than 75% success rate. Calm spells can be used to escape if you are caught.

Other things

People in Skyrim are always in need of work. Farms require harvesting help, smiths need ore, and lumber mills need firewood. These jobs are easy to find, but pay little, at lower levels.

You can easily become a bounty hunter by walking into a tavern, asking for work, completing your bounty, collecting loot along the way, and claiming your reward.

Some citizens will give you odd jobs to do, such as fetching an article from a dangerous ruin or delivering a package. Occasionally you will need to collect a stack of items. Complete the task and you will receive a reward.

Each faction has repeatable side-quests that can take you almost anywhere. These are randomly generated radiant quests. Choose the side-quest you like best, and collect your reward (often 100-1000 gold).

Making money with dragons is primarily done by selling the loot they drop. A dragon will yield a few hundred gold at minimum; most will give over a thousand. Dragons are scaled enemies so they’re always a fun challenge, but they can be tough at higher levels. Bones and scales drop at 100% and sell for a fair amount.

When you have a lot of loot to sell, you may have to go to multiple merchants at once. Every 48 hours, shops refresh their stock of items and gold. By investing in the Riverwood Trader, you can sell your item for 10,000+ gold every 48 hours.

You can only sell stolen goods to designated fences of the Thieves’ Guild if you don’t have the Fence perk. Each fence begins with 1000 gold and gains more as it is restored. At the end of the restoration, each fence will have 4000 gold.

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