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Poor vs. Rich: the Benefits, Problems and the Ways to Overcome Them

by pheonix123

I have been both poor and rich in Neopia; at times struggling to reach 1,000 NP, and at times soaring over the 1,000,000 NP mark. Nowadays I am at a comfortable 200,000 NP or so.

I am sure you have heard that particular paragraph before, because almost every NeoPets Strategy Guide begins with it. I will tell you right off the bat that this strategy guide may begin like most, but be sure it will not continue like most. Many strategy guides will ramble on about how to do quests and how to play certain games, and perhaps even a bit of moneymakers. This one focuses almost entirely on ways to earn NP, or in other words, the moneymakers, but without being a bad Neopian citizen.

I got the idea to write this guide when I was talking to some friends online and I was answering some questions and giving them some help with NeoPets. They said that I did a very good job of explaining things to them, and then one of my friends suggested that I put together an article of some sort and submit it to the Neopian Times. I liked her idea, and decided to get to work.

Writing this strategy guide has taken me more time than I have expected it to. (I am writing this introduction after I have written most of the guide already). I learned a lot of things that I had not yet known, and realised how complex NeoPets really is. I already knew the basics, the whole “make money, spend money, train, etc.” routine, but not the idea of a real strategy, one you can live by, that exists.

I now know that every game and every thing that you do has a strategy to it. Whether it is to concentrate hard, to hurry, to take your time, whatever it might be- there is a strategy.

Since I myself know how boring introductions can be, and in fact usually I skip them, I will not bore you any longer. Instead I will begin with the most popular subject, that of Poor vs. Rich. I can tell you that being poor is not all that bad, and being rich is not all that it is cracked up to be. When you have been poor, you learn the value of a Neopoint and how important it can be to save up and not buy useless items. And when you are rich, if you use your money on expensive stuff, such as a Staff of Supernova, well, you’re back to being poor again. And what if that Staff broke? Then what do you do?

The fact is, neither poor nor rich is better. I personally prefer being a normal, middle class Neopian, but to each person their own choice. Now, since part of the content of this covers, as the title says, “What are the benefits,” than I will move on to that subject; what are the benefits?

The Neopian Bank/Discount Cards
Now, assuming you don’t act like I do and skip introductions, then I have already explained one for the poor side of the matter: the value of a Neopoint. However, I would like to go deeper into the matter. Those of you who say “Aww, you and your codes of ethics…who needs to know the value of a Neopoint?” are very, very wrong. I am not talking about ethics here; I am talking about reality.

So what is this “value” stuff about? Well, let me start here: The Neopian Bank. Now, first of all, you all must know about the interest system. The more money you have in the bank, the more interest you get. Now if you go off spending your Neopoints on rare Battledome items, paintbrushes, etc., then that interest isn’t going to amount to much. A good strategy is deciding that you always want to have at least, say, 50,000 or 100,000 NP in the bank. Of course you can choose what the amount is. Now when you travel around NeoPets, you cannot take out any more than what you would need to keep the “chosen amount” in the bank.

Let me clarify that. Say you have 75,000 NP and you choose to have 50,000 in the bank at all times. So when you are going out to buy things, you cannot take out any more than 25,000. Or spend any more than that.

A second choice that is good to make is to put a quota on how much you can spend in a day, or a minimum on how much you earn a day. For example, you can limit yourself to spending 20,000 NP a day. Or you can make sure that you earn at least 10,000 NP a day. I prefer the earning method to the spending method, because it helps you gain NP instead of losing it.

The best thing to do is write down somewhere how much money you have at the beginning of the day, and then at the end of the day, to compare. If you lost money, you know you need to change your quota or minimum system. If you gained a bit of money, you might want to consider changing it to make more. And if you earned a lot of money, your system is fine as it is.

The reason this system works is because, for the minimum system, it doesn’t let you go below a certain amount of money. Usually NeoPets won’t let you go below 0 NP. Now if you bring that minimum up, you always have some money that you can access no matter what.

The reason the quota system works is because not only does it limit how much you spend, it also forces you to earn some money as well. You can make a spending chart if you want to keep track of how much you earn or spend a day. Simply create a chart, and put in four columns: Day, NP at beginning, NP at end, and Total Spent or Total Earned. Then as the day continues, fill in the places accordingly. You can make the chart more complex if you want to.

Now for discount cards- you’ll notice that they are available if you go into your inventory, then click on “Discount Card”. Also at times while browsing the site, you may come upon a banner that says “Get your discount card today”. Discount cards can be used in all official shops in Neopia (that is, shops that aren’t owned by different accounts, and that restock automatically.) The higher the level of your discount card, the more discount you get. For example, a Basic Discount Card (everybody gets one of these) gives you a 1% discount on any item you buy in an Official Neopian Store. That means that if you buy a item priced at 100 NP, you can get it for 99 NP. But if you have a Universal Discount Card, you could get that same item for 75 NP. As you go into higher prices, an item bought for 100,000 NP would cost only 99,000 NP (a 1,000 NP difference) with a Basic Discount Card, but would cost 75,000 NP with a universal (saves you 25,000). As you can see, they can make major differences in prices.

In order to get a Universal Discount Card, you need to upgrade your Basic Card exactly 9 times. There aren’t always 9 different upgrades available at one time; sometimes there are only one or two. Also, sometimes after signing up with a sponsor, you don’t get your upgrade. If this happens, wait a day or two. If you still don’t have your upgrade, then Neomail the NeoPets Staff and ask them what happened. They may not reply, but if they do they will try and fix the problem.

Bankruptcy at an Extreme
Most likely, you have all been bankrupt at least once or twice during your “life” in Neopia. But again, most likely, you have been able to overcome this minor problem, usually by selling lots of cheap things in your shop or auctioning them off. But what happens when you have no items, no money, no nothing? Well I can tell you, because I have been in that position, it is absolutely no fun. Were you planning on buying a new PetPet for your NeoPet? Sorry, but now you can’t. Planning on upgrading your shop? No can do. Now you are in the position that thousands have been in- and thousands have gotten stuck in.

Now how do you get into this mess in the first place? Well, first of all, by buying more than you can afford. The quota or minimum systems described above are designed to avoid Bankruptcy. However, it isn’t necessary even if you don’t want to go bankrupt. There are other ways to escape.

So how do you get out of this mess once you get into it? Think of it as a sort of quicksand. Once you become poor and run short of items, it just gets worse. Soon you have no food left and your pets begin to starve (thank goodness for the Soup Kitchen!) and then the day comes when you are down to zero. Zip. None. Empty Pockets. Now in quicksand, the more you get worried, the further you sink in. It’s the same thing with bankruptcy. The more you panic and spend money on items to sell, the worse it gets for you.

Now also in quicksand, there is a way to pull people out. Perhaps it’s a nearby branch of a tree to grab a hold of, or a rope that you can throw at somebody. Once again, in NeoPets, the same sort of thing exists: a way out.

And this “branch” is in fact very simple, however many people fail to acknowledge it. The word is Games. Yes, games. Not games such as Scorchy Slots or Dice-A-Roo, that require money to play, but games such as Kiko Match, Techo Says, and the all-time popular, Kacheek Seek. Yes, these games can win you thousands. And one you have a few thousands, you can start playing more expensive games such as Cheat, Gormball, or Poogle Solitaire. And before you know it, you’re back on your feet, and have another 100,000 Neopoints.

To avoid bankruptcy, make sure you go back to that first strategy; always having a bit of money in the bank. This way, in case you have some horrible problem like your pet gets changed into a blue Usul (this just recently happened to my striped Kacheek) and need to spend a bit of money on changing him or her back, then you can afford it.

Shops, Trading Post, and the Auction House
Moving on, we have the topic of shops, trading, and auctions. Once again, the value of a Neopoint pops up. What does it have to do with shops, trading, and auctions? In fact, what are shops, trading, and auctions good for? Well, other than using them to display how rich you are or how many rare items you have, they are very, very good ways to make money.

When I browse the Shop Wizard for random items sometimes, I can get them for very, very cheap. For example once I bought Wellington Boots for 35 NP (They are worth at least 90,000) and another time, very recently, I bought a Rainbow Paint Brush for 90 NP.

Unless the cheap item you bought is one you want to use, I always suggest either selling it or auctioning it off. Rarer items should be auctioned, and cheaper items, such as food and books, should be sold. Always set the auction’s time for the maximum in order to get the highest price you can, and when you sell it, make it a little lower than the cheapest in the Shop Wizard but higher than you bought it for, so that you gain money.

Now for the auctions- amazingly, you can get extremely good deals off of them. Extremely valuable items are sold for only tens of thousands of NP, instead of 200,000 NP in the shops. What am I saying? I am saying that if you need a rare item, the auction house is the way to go.

However, like all things, the auctions have a bad side to them. The fact that you must have a fast connection, or you will not get the item. People who bid a fraction of a second after you might just get the item that you were trying to get.

Again, we move on. This time, to the subject of the Trading Post. It is one of the newer things in Neopia, however it’s “strategy” is very advanced. Yes, believe it or not, there is a strategy in the trading post.

What is it? Hold on; let me explain first how the trading post works…on the inside that is. I don’t mean the part about “you make a lot, a few people bid, you accept one, and they complete the trade”. I mean what is really going on…the part that most people don’t pay attention to or aren’t even aware of.

So first of all, you have an item. An item you would like to get rid of, but you don’t want any Neopoints. You want another item in return…so you put it into the trading post.

Now let's say your items are a complete set of the original treasure map. You don’t need it, but somebody else might want it and they would then trade for it. OK, that part is simple. So you set up a trade. But you don’t want just anything for it. You specifically want Battledome items and paintbrushes.

So along comes another person. They see your trade and they bid exactly what you asked for; a few snowballs and two Christmas Paint Brushes. This, of course, is not what you had in mind, so you reject the offer. The person, angry, moves on to the next lot that he can find of original map pieces.

Now what really happened here? To make it simple, either you weren’t specific enough, or the bidder wasn’t rich enough and though he or she might give it a shot and bid their items. The strategy of the trading post can be told in one sentence: If you don’t want this scene happening, then you need to be very specific in your requests for what you want at the post, and never bid something you know that they will reject.

The last part of the strategy for the trading post is Neomail Yes, Neomail You can sometimes figure out what kinds of things people want by using Neomail Just talk to them and, in a sort of offhand manner, ask them what kinds of items they are interested in for the thing that you want to trade for. If you’re lucky, you will have those items and be able to trade with them. This has worked 9/10 times for me.

Rise and fall of Power: the Price Range
Still on the topic of the shops and auctions is the price range. It is constantly changing. At the time that I am writing this, it appears to be on a decline. Prices for "unbuyables" are becoming more and more commonly seen in the 60,000s and 70,000s, sometimes even dipping to 40,000. If you do not make sure you keep your shop up-to-date with these new prices, then when people search the Shop Wizard, they will find many other shops that have cheaper items than yours, and they won’t buy from you. On the other extreme, if your shop prices are unusually low, they may sell out quickly, but you will have lost money, because you could have made more.

A second reason to watch the prices carefully is that if a month ago you saw how expensive the Golden Paint Brushes were, and you make a trade of, say, Moldy Cheese for one of the paintbrushes, well, perhaps you shouldn’t have done that. Say the Paintbrushes hadn’t been worth as much recently. Well, had you been watching the prices, you might have seen the major dip in value that these paintbrushes took. No doubt you then would have realised it was a bad trade. But not so, now you would be stuck with something you could make about 35,000 off of. A loss of hundreds of thousands of Neopoints.

Before you trade, ALWAYS check the Shop Wizard to make sure you are getting a profitable deal. I had to learn this from experience, and let me tell you, how I wish somebody had told me this before it happened. This also goes for auctions, and even for shops.

The Price Range is a very fickle thing. It will zoom from highs to lows in just days. It is very important to watch it because of the money thing, but also to make sure you are making good deals.

If you have a rare item, and at the time that you got it, it cost very little, then wait a while and see if it’s price goes up before selling it. I have made over a hundred thousand by doing this. Overall, I would have to say that the Price Range can be a real moneymaker…that is, if you know how to handle it and what to do with it.

Using the Shop Wizard
When I was talking (or rather, writing) about shops, and also about the Price Range, I mentioned using the Shop Wizard to decide what price to sell your item at, or if a trade is worth it or not. However, this isn’t always as simple as it may seem. Yes, OK, you go to the Shop Wizard and type in the objects name, and VOILA! You have the price. Well, since the Shop Wizard searches a different area of the market each time, then every time you refresh, you will get a different set of prices. The best thing to do is to refresh a few times until you cannot find a lower price, and go with that.

This trick for refreshing is not only helpful with shops, however. Much earlier, once again in the shop section, I mentioned buying Wellington Boots for 35 NP and a Rainbow Paint Brush for 90 NP. The way that I found them was refreshing on the Shop Wizard page. After about 9 or 10 refreshes, there they were!

Beware, however. There is not always an ultra-low price such as the ones that I found. I was merely lucky to have been browsing the wizard at that particular moment. A few seconds later, and I am sure it would have already been bought. So if you can’t find a ultra-low price on the first try, don’t be disappointed. However if you do find one, congratulations!

The Shop Wizard can also be used to make sure you are getting good deals. Again, the refreshing comes up. You don’t want to go with the prices you see right away, but rather after a few refreshes, choose the lowest one. Say you are making a trade and somebody wants an item priced at 100 NP and 10,000 NP. In the Shop Wizard you see the item being sold for 9,999 NP.

The thing to do in this case is to go for the 9,999 NP. But say you saw it in the Shop Wizard for 25,000 NP. Then the thing to do is to make the trade as quickly as you can, before the person you are trading with realises their mistake.

Once again we come to the auctions. If you are bidding for a Crystal Boomerang, say, and the last bid was 25,000, and you are about to bid 30,000, then go to the Shop Wizard and make sure that there are no other Crystal Boomerangs being sold for below 30,000. Since this particular item is so very expensive, you can almost be certain you won’t find it for that low. However, if the item was a Almost Gummy Rat (Strawberry), then you can be positive you don’t want to make that bid.

Confusion
Although there are thousands of other strategies that can be used in NeoPets, I find the ones listed above to be the most useful. They help you maintain a balanced amount of money, gain power and respect, and all the while helping out other players on NeoPets Don't forget to refer your friends to NeoPets as well!

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