Secrets of The Money Tree
The subject that is the topic for today’s article is one that I think lacks very much coverage; it’s also one I think people usually underestimate. I know it has sure helped me out a lot, though, and I think it can help many of you as well. The younger your account is the better, but there is fun to be had by all. So with no further ado, I give you...
The Money Tree
Basically, the Money Tree is just that, free money. It’s an absolutely guaranteed 100% profit, and shouldn’t take more than a good 30-60 minutes out of your Neopets day. I'm sure we are all pretty much familiar with the tree, but since I think this guide will mostly attract new players, I’ll start off with the basics. If you’re not a new player and you want to cut to the good stuff, you can skip down to where it says "Tips."
The Money Tree is located smack dab in the middle of Neopia Central, right next to the Rainbow Pool. Clicking the “shops” link on your navigation toolbar is the fastest way to get there. When you arrive at the tree, you see a number of things, chief of which are the donated items (or possibly a ghost telling you they’ve stolen all the goods), and a box for Neopoint donations. If you see the ghost, just refresh until some items return.
All you have to do to receive a free item from the tree is click on the item you want, but you have to be fast and you are limited to 10 items a day. If you don’t like what’s being offered when you first arrive, just keep refreshing till you find something you like. If you try to keep clicking freebies after your 10 item limit, the chance of the ghosts robbing you goes way up and your chance of grabbing an item goes way down, so don’t attempt this. Grabbing additional items is severely frowned upon and not worth the effort.
Donating Neopoints is extremely easy. You just enter the number of points you want to donate and select “donate.” Donating items is not much harder; you just click on the item in your inventory and select “donate item” as your action.
Now here is the good part. Say you want to get started doing anything in Neopia, and I mean really just about anything: reading books, collecting items, playing the battledome, or maybe just get a jump start on the SDB Packrat Avatar... it can all be done at the Money Tree for FREE.
On an average day of refreshing at the Money Tree, you will see endless amounts of food, and a wonderful assortment of starter stamps, books, weapons, plushies, Neohome items, etc. Any prize you could ever get from a daily freebie will be at the Money Tree, and most all of the Key Quest prizes end up in the Money Tree. Not to mention random donations from generous users and Neopian shopkeepers; all with the potential to get you started up doing whatever it is you want to do.
Making neopoints is mostly what I use the tree for, and in my opinion it’s the most valuable way to utilize it. Like I said, the tree offers an assortment of items in a range of values, but the one thing they all have in common is: they are free. So it doesn’t matter if you grab an item worth 5,000 points or 2, you are guaranteed a profit. Now what kind of items you want to grab gets a little more complex and user specific, but there are some key categories I tend to go for when trying to turn a profit, and some key ones to avoid. From here on out, the guide is broken down by the various categories of items, so you can read it all if you're interested in finding a new hobby, or skip to the part that applies to your current goals.
If you’re a Gourmet Club hopeful, there isn’t going to be much help for you here at the tree, but if you have a food based gallery, or just pets with empty tummies, the tree is a good place to check. Food is plentiful and always useful because your pets have to eat. It’s my go to grab if I’m having an unlucky day, and always useful when dailies didn’t quite slick my pets' appetites. It’s hard to make a profit off of food because it's mostly “gross food” that people won during their dailies, but like I said, it’s plentiful and that means it’s easy to grab. I mean, when there are 25 lemon jellies on a page, chances are you can grab at least one of them.
Also in the category of food, there are a vast number of food shops in Neopia that donate to the tree, like the health food shop. So, even in a sea of omelettes and mummified fruit, there is also some grub worth a mouth watering number of points. That said, I’ve never grabbed a food item that was worth more than 3000 NP. I’m not saying they aren’t out there, but food is just not the fastest way to Ultimate riches.
Books are a personal favorite of mine because my pets are readers. First off, even the lamest and most common books usually sell for more than 1 or 2 points, and most sell for at least 50+ points. The other thing that is nice about books is they change a lot. Knowing that once a book is read it’s read, TNT is pretty good about coming up with new books all the time. The toy chest in Petpet Park, for example, gets new books in pretty frequently, which means the Money Tree also gets new donated books pretty frequently. Another benefit to books is that the players that are really into books are usually pretty wealthy. Books aren’t cheap, so if you even want at shot at the Neopian book award, you're going to have to have an impressive bankroll. That means when a well read player finds a book they’ve already read that’s worth, say... 1000 neopoints... it’s not worth much to them. If they are your common reader, they have already amassed huge wealth for supporting their book addiction, and the 1000 points isn’t going to buy them any book they haven’t already read, so what do they do with? Donate it to the Money Tree, of course! Which means 1000 free points for you.
Weapons and Armor
This is where your real money can be made. Don’t ask my why, I have no idea, but for some reason weapons rain into the Money Tree like gleaming dollar signs just waiting to be scooped up. I’m not referring to the 1 point wooden, stone, or Altador practice gear items either. Don’t waste your time on those junk items, because there are legitimate ones to be had. On any given day, I can guarantee myself a weapon pick up worth at least 1000 points, and usually more. There’s not a lot of competition for weapons because BDers are busy fighting and training, and they just don’t have time to sit by the tree and hope a Rod of Supernova falls from the sky. So if you're looking for the free money, weapons are the items for you. Also, if you're trying to become a BDer, this is a good place to get a start. For example, you can easily grab a scarab ring, which comes highly recommended as nice protective starter item. Not to mention swords and shields, which are plentiful at the tree.
Neohome and Neohome 2.0
These aren’t very common at the Money Tree, and the ones you find generally aren’t worth very much, so I tend to stay away from this category. If you’re strictly at the tree looking for points, this category isn’t going to be worth much to you, but you can sometimes get lucky with stained glass or maybe old version Neohome items that newbies don’t recognize. If you are new to Neohomes, original or 2.0, you can find a lot of great starter items here. There is more than enough Grundo furniture to fill several bedrooms, and plenty of rugs and lamps. More valuable to the veteran homemaker are the chalkboards and band posters, which also are plentiful and make great room dividers.
Collectables: Stamps, Plushies, and Usuki
Now you aren’t going to find your striped Eyrie plushie, Valentines Usuki, or Coltzan stamp at the Money Tree, but like books, they are in high demand, so there’s a good number of them that sell for at least 100 NP. These are probably some of the harder items to grab because they are so popular, but they are easy to spot, so you learn real quick what is too common to be of value and what is unique. The other thing about these items is they are newbie magnets. This means they are the king of ETS and you are never going to be stuck with them for too long. When you become faster, and more experienced, these are good items to go for when looking for a quick profit. Plushies are the best; they are common and usually worth more money. Usukis are worth good money, but they don’t drop that often. Stamps are plentiful, but usually not worth as much. If you’re just starting up a collection of any of these items its nice place to check, you’ll mostly find basics, but you’ll find them with a lot of variety.
Bonus Items and Cooking Pot Finds
Now there are a few things that drop at the tree a lot and are worth some points, but don’t fit in any particular category. One such item is the bag of broken neopoints. You can repair the bag for a random profit; it may or may not be worth more than what you paid to repair it, or you can just straight up sell the bag for a pretty consistent sum of around 2000 NP.
Another set of items to look for is the bottles of sand. Some of them are worth a nice amount of points all by themselves, and others can be taken to the cooking pot, on Mystery Island, and combined to make new bottles of sand worth even more. This same concept can be applied to a lot of items, especially neggs and toys. Get familiar with what all can go into the cooking pot and look for good combinations. It takes an advanced amount of effort and knowledge, but the cooking pot is a good way to turn trash in to treasure.
There are also, on occasion, genuinely and universally awesome drops, like paint brushes and rare/retired goodies. For example, in the sample day shown below, I didn’t manage to grab, but did see two plushie paint brushes donated to the Money Tree. So keep a weather eye out, but don’t make waiting around for these rare occurrences your main goal.
There are some items that drop at the tree, and man are they tempting. Things like petpets and straight neopoints are at the tree, and our instincts tell us to grab them up. Points are the absolute hardest thing to grab at the tree, though, and it’s rare to see someone donate enough points to make it worth the effort. Petpets aren’t very common, and are also very hard to grab. Mostly you get petpets that people won while playing Key Quest, or at a daily, and those breeds generally are worth very little. If you just want any old petpet to attach to your pets, then by all means scoop one up; otherwise it’s usually a lot of refreshing for very little profit. Another sample of a danger item is sparkling or other wise eye-catching items. Don’t mistake pretty stuff for valuable stuff, and remember that people like pretty stuff, so if it was pretty and valuable they probably wouldn’t have thrown it at the tree.
Now let’s put some of these tips into action and see what kind of haul I can come up with. On a real day of tree hunting, I would be more picky/discriminating with my grabs, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll just do a quick run through and grab whatever catches my eye... After less than ten minutes of looking, I have 10 items and am ready to head over to the Shop Wizard. Here’s what I got and what I intend to sell them for. Notice: Like I predicted, the weapons and armor are worth the most points.
Mystery Island Usuki Play Set = 25 NP
Flaming Dagger Of Fire = 1500 NP
Blue Oyster = 1 NP
Hissi Stained Glass Window = 100 NP
Babaa Care = 1 NP
Snow Usul Plushie = 100 NP
Orange Scorchio Cookie = 100 NP
Sir Cheekalot Battle Shield = 500 NP
Wind Up Dr. Sloth Toy = 50 NP
Mashed Potatoes and Mud = 10 NP
Grand Total = 2387 NP
Now some of you may say, “2,000 NP? That’s no NP sum to brag about," but if you’re just getting started, or you lack the skill for games, 2000 is a nice profit. Not to mention that the Money Tree is a great place to get in some practice if you’re an aspiring restocker. There’s no financial risk because it’s all free, and you learn to be speedy. Not to mention gaining some perspective on what is and isn’t of value. If you see it at the Money Tree a lot, you’ll know not to grab it when it restocks at the chocolate shop. On a good day I can make much closer to 10,000 NP, meaning 70,000 NP a week, and I sell a good 100-1000 NP below the shop wizard's lowest. I prefer a fast good profit over a slow great one, so if you have a bit of patience and are willing to wait it out, you can probably make a good deal more than I average.
There are a lot of item categories in Neopia that weren’t covered here, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t found at the tree; it just means they are either rare, low profit margin, or I just don’t have any experience with them. A good rule of thumb is: If you haven’t seen it there before, grab it. Even if it turns out to be junk, it’s not like you lost points. If you’re just getting started at the tree, you might want to watch for a few days, maybe two or three, and only grab food or items you know are worth a bit of points. Once you’ve gotten used to the tree, you’ll have a better feel for what’s common and what’s a rare find. Finally, and most importantly, just because an item disappeared from the screen doesn’t mean someone picked it up. So if you see something really awesome, remember it, and keep an eye out for it, because it may come back around while you're there.
If you’re in it for the points, the Money Tree is a good place to add to your dailies list, and if you’re not in it for the points, the possibilities are pretty much endless. If you want to start up a gallery, the tree is a great place to go for ideas. Refresh for a while and see what items grab your eye; chances are those are items you really like and will enjoy collecting. Or perhaps you conquered a long term goal recently and don’t know what to do with all your newfound free time. Scanning the tree and seeing what items go fast might spur your imagination for a new hobby.
Finally a request from me, GIVE BACK. If you found this article helpful and the tree ever pays off for you, don’t forget to pay it back. I try to donate an absolute minimum of 15% of what I make at the Money Tree back to the Money Tree in straight points, and once in a while, when a valuable item that I don’t need pops up, I toss it the tree’s way. A favorite item of mine to do this with is petpet paintbrushes; they don’t sell for so much that I cry about the loss, but enough to help out someone who’s struggling. You just never know when your gift might be the missing link in someone’s Neodreams.
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