Money’s tight in No Man’s Sky. You’ve got ships to buy, new Exosuit expansions to pay for – not to mention a hungry pet that needs feeding. Okay, well you can feed your pet with some random plantlife you find nearby, but the point remains: if you want to do well in No Man’s Sky, you’re going to need to earn some cash.
Fortunately, there are a pretty wide range of methods for doing so. Money – referred to in-game as Units – can be earned through mining, trading, piracy, and even botany in No Man’s Sky, and as such there’s a fair bit of confusing or contradictory advice over how best to go about earning it, particularly when you want to do so as quickly or efficiently as possible.
On this page, we’ll hope to clear some of that up, through an explanation of what we believe to be the fastest method for earning large sums of money quickly, as well as a summary of all of the other methods and pieces of advice for bringing home the space-bacon.
The fastest way to make money in No Man’s Sky
Although there’s quite the range of options for making money in No Man’s Sky, we found one which really stood out: trade.
Despite being made out to be something of a complex beast, the economy in No Man’s Sky, we found, was rather simple to crack. Of all the methods we tested, simply buying low and selling high was by far the fastest route to some frankly enormous monetary success. To get straight into it, here’s the process:
- Head to your system’s space station and interact with the Galactic Trade Network terminal in the upper right room (as you enter the hangar).
- Take a look at what items they’re willing to buy (even if they’re currently greyed out), and find which item has the golden star next to it. Importantly, take note of the specific price they’ll buy one unit of the item for.
- Head back to to the hangar, and start interacting with the NPC’s ships which frequently fly in and out of the room.
- If they’re willing to sell the same item which the Galactic Trade terminal has starred for below the average price (meaning it will have a green, minus number next to it when you try to buy some), and that price is lower than the price the Galactic Network will buy for, then buy it all up.
- Rinse and repeat as many times as you can, until your inventory is full, then sell that item back at the terminal in the nearby room.
With the process above, we swiftly made more than a million Units in around fifteen minutes. There are, however, a few more points to bear in mind for getting the very most out of the process:
- The gold star means that item is in demand – The terminal in question will sell it for double the average selling price, and buy it for roughly double the average buying price. That means you should not buy this item from the terminal in question unless it is, for some reason, an absolute emergency.
- The buying and selling averages are different numbers – A terminal will almost always buy items for a lower price than they sell it. That’s why you should not only check to see if they buy it from you at above the average price, but also check that the price at which you can buy the item is not just below the average, but also below the actual raw number the terminal will buy it from you for.
- Some items are better for this than others – From our experience, Dynamic Resonators gave the best profit, with us able to buy them at around 30,000 Units, and sell at around 55,000, offering us a near 100% return on investment (meaning we almost doubled our money each time) – it’s worth the time hopping between a few system to find a space station which has Dynamic Resonators in demand, because that RoI is pretty much unrivalled.
Other ways to make money in No Man’s Sky
As we’ve noted above, there are plenty of alternatives to making money in No Man’s Sky, which we explain below.
- Mining and farming – The most obvious means of making money is simply mining rare resources – Gold, Heridium, and Emeril are generally easy to spot on planets, and come in decent amounts at each deposit – before taking them back up to a space station or planetside terminal to be sold. If you’re lucky enough to find a star system, planet, and/or terminal combo which has abundant gold, and a high demand for it at a terminal nearby – plus you have a large amount of inventory space – then you’re in luck. Mining the life out of a planet and reselling it that way will likely be even faster than our Dynamic Resonator method above. That situation is, however, quite time-consuming to find and verify, which is why we don’t recommend it as the number one option. Farming works as well as mining – you’ll occasionally find a planet which has huge numbers of Vortex Cubes scattered through its caves, for instance – however there’s often significant sentinel attention when you grab these, so save often and be prepared to run. You can also find some semi-valuable items from the random containers dotted around save Beacons and outposts, so keep an eye out.
- Piracy – Another means of earning large sums is piracy or, in other words, shooting open freighters for all the sweet sweet bounty inside. There are two problems with this however: a freighter’s loot is fairly random, so you could get stuck with less-than-valuable resources, and face a lottery with whether or not the Galactic Network (or parked-up NPCs) buys them at a good price; plus, there’s the matter of the huge amount of sentinel attention you’ll draw for attacking them. If you’re going to do it, make sure you give the freighter a scout first, take out it’s turrets, and focus on just grabbing the loot and booking it back to the space station, where you’ll lose the sentinel aggro. We found that our upgraded mining beam blew freighter storage apart very quickly, as opposed to the standard plasma weapon attacks.
- Scrapping – An interesting method pointed out on the No Man’s Sky subreddit is the process of scrapping old ships. The process is explained in full in the above post, but in brief you can utilise old ships which you’ve purchased or moved on from to make money by dismantling the various upgrades and selling the awarded resources for a decent amount of money. Again though, the actual amount you’ll get from these depends on the pot luck of which Galactic Terminal you’re near, and it’s not really worth the time investment of shopping around systems for the right one.
Want to get the most out of No Man’s Sky? Check out our main No Man’s Sky guide, tips and tricks page, plus our advice on the best, fastest way to earn money, how to fix your ship, what to do first, and how to increase inventory space. We also show how to use a massive No Man’s Sky exploit for infinite rare resources, along with explaining how to save, how to get the elusive Atlas Passes, the Antimatter recipe, Zinc, and how to get the Hyperdrive and its required Warp Cells in No Man’s Sky. Finally, for the completionists, we also have walkthroughs for the Atlas Path, reaching the centre of the galaxy, and achieving all of No Man’s Sky’s Journey Milestones.
Other tips for making money in No Man’s Sky
Finally, there are a couple of other minor points worth bearing in mind in your quest for eternal fortune:
- The items sold at a space station’s Galactic Trade Network terminal indicate the items which are available in that system to buy – so if, upon arriving in a new system, you check what items are available to buy at the terminal, you’ll know exactly what’s available to mine or find on the planets within that system. This is another great tip from the subreddit post above.
- Each system’s space station always buys and sells things for the same price – in other words, you can rename systems according to the resources they buy or sell for good value, because regardless of how many times you leave or return to that system, the prices won’t change.
- It’s worth investing your money into a large ship and some Exosuit inventory expansions before you do your real farm for money – regardless of the method you use out of those listed above, a large set of inventories will always make a huge difference to the speed at which you can earn cash. Check out our guide to expanding your ship, Exosuit and multi-tool inventories for more on how to do just that.
With all that in mind, you should be well on the way to mogul status in no time. Just don’t spend it all at once.