Follow TV Tropes


Money for Nothing

Go To

"The only purpose for a lot of this [buying properties] is to increase your regular income, but it's also pretty much the only thing you can spend that income on, creating this nightmarish tidal wave of money that only grows the more you try to get rid of it."

And chicks for free.

Almost all games contain some form of currency, and most place a heavy focus on earning money through various tasks. Ideally, money is supposed to be a reward for a job well done, and you can exchange it for goods and services that advance your progress and/or add to the fun. In some genres, particularly An Entrepreneur Is You, money is the primary means of reaching your goal, or even the goal itself. But curiously, some games make it possible to earn lots of money without giving you useful ways to spend it, which can result from any of the following:

  1. Items sold by merchants can also be gotten by other (free) means such as Item Crafting or Inexplicable Treasure Chests, making it unnecessary to buy them.
  2. There are very easy and inexhaustible ways of gathering money, such as by smashing up pots and plants (which often respawn) or by killing easy, endlessly respawning enemies. Thus, you can soon end up with more money than you need without even trying.
  3. Merchants don't sell anything that's really worth your money. Any items and equipment you would pay for are only available by progressing through the game, exploring the environment, completing sidequests, or looting dead enemies.
  4. Any useful things on sale are so cheap that you'll never be spending money faster than you earn it. Alternatively, prices stay constant throughout the game while your income keeps on growing (Averting Adam Smith Hates Your Guts), so that prices which were significant at first become increasingly trivial.
  5. You don't have to pay recurring costs for real life needs that don't exist in-game: your character doesn't need to regularly eat or drink, and either doesn't require sleep or can sleep in a ditch without contracting pneumonia. Likewise, your equipment never needs maintenance or replacement parts, and never runs out of ammunition.
  6. Money is only used for one-time purchases (such as upgrades or cosmetic items) and becomes useless once you buy them all.
  7. The player reaches a point in the game (usually, but not always, the endgame) where there are no longer places to spend their money, yet they can still collect money from hiding places, dead enemies, etc. This is especially true of games that don't allow map backtracking or post-game exploration.

Any of these factors tend to lead to a situation where you end up with huge amounts of money, either with nothing worthwhile to spend it on, or no way to spend it at all—that is, having a lot of money for nothing.

In RPGs, this trope occurs very frequently in the form where money is highly valuable at the start of the game, when your characters lack basic healing spells and items, but then becomes increasingly less useful as you progress through the game and acquire more than enough money, ample supplies of basic items, and weapons and equipment that are superior to those sold in shops.

In an Allegedly Free Game, there will be often be two separate forms of currency, one of which is earned easily through gameplay and the other of which cannot be gained in any meaningful quantities unless you pay real money. Naturally, while the second currency will avert this trope and be used to obtain gameplay advantages at steep prices, the first type will play it completely straight, with the player either only able to use it on near-worthless items or quickly running out of things to buy. Obviously, this is to encourage the player to drop cash in order to keep the game moving and stop constantly losing to other players who have the premium advantage.

Another common variation is when money is useful with regards to Sidequests and 100% Completion-related things, but is of little interest to players only interested in completing the main game.

Inexperienced players of games with both a Command & Conquer Economy and a Research system often run into a temporary version of this: they focus on increasing their rate of resource collection while falling behind on the sequence of building construction and research that will be required to spend it, so that when they start trying to build up their army they can’t produce at the rate their income would otherwise allow them to.

Developers will often attempt to address this problem by creating a sudden obstacle late in the game that requires an enormous amount of money. This arbitrary workaround is hardly more desirable. They can also opt to create Money Sinks.

In order to avert the player having more money than they could ever use, game designers will sometimes add places which require a different kind of currency. Compare Scoring Points.

Compare Suspicious Spending where a character can not spend their illegally earned money without drawing suspicions. Also compare Bragging Rights Reward.

The song "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits is the Trope Namer, but not an example: it's about a boorish appliance store worker's envy towards the rock musicians on MTV, who he thinks are earning loads of money without doing any "real" work. This trope involves a double-meaning not present in the song, which is that the money you're earning for doing next to nothing is also good for nothing.


    open/close all folders 

  • Anachronox: Sender Station, which becomes the de facto Hub Level some ways in, has several Vendor Bots who buy and sell various Shop Fodder that have no use elsewhere. While they always sell at a modest markup, the prices between vendors are wildly inconsistent, and there's always someone who sells a given thing for cheaper than another will buy for. And they have functionally infinite supplies. Assuming you don't mind doing a lot of clicking and some walking, it's easy to "buy low, sell high" until you break the bank. And should you actually lose all your money, the Vendor Bots will give you delivery quests that will earn you enough to get you going again.
  • The Legend of Zelda zig-zags this from game to game. In some cases it's played straight as there is little to buy, and/or because the money you would need is acquired so late that it won't be of much use by the time you're rewarded with it. In other games, however, there are different factors or mechanics that implement major Money Sinks, thus making money an important necessity. The listed aversions pertain to cases when Money Sink is not strictly enforced:
    • The original game averts this: not only are there a wide variety of useful items for sale (with rupees fairly difficult to find and only coming in 1 and 5 rupee denominations), but once you have everything, they continue to serve a very important use as arrows.
    • You only need a minimum of 710 Rupees to complete The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: 500 for the Flippers, 110 to pay off Kiki the Monkey (incrementing by 10 every time you screw up), and 100 for every Giant Bomb you buy, of which you only need one. You'll probably also want the optional Bottle in Kakariko Village, but that's only 100 more. Aside from potions (the best Blue Potion being reasonably priced compared to the Red and Green ones compared to other games), the only real money sink is increasing your bomb and arrow stock. If you're a smart and careful player, you can keep enough chests filled with Rupees to buy off all the upgrades the very moment they come available.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, the Bow is THE most expensive item in the game at 980 Rupees (money cap is 999). Once you purchase it, you never need to collect money again. There are also tricks for saving while your money is being drained so that it doesn't continue the drain when you re-load, or just outright stealing it (which the shopkeeper will not be pleased with). You do need to buy the Shovel before that, which costs a more modest 200 Rupees, but this doesn't extend the challenge by all that much. The Switch remake downplays this to an extent with the introduction of the Dungeon Maker. This particular sidequest involves Link being able to build his own dungeons using chambers that he can collect throughout the game. These chambers can sometimes be bought at the shop where they are very pricey (each chamber costs around 1,280 Rupees).
    • The "having nothing to spend it on" part of this trope happens in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, when you've finally gone to all the effort to kill all the Golden Skultulas, only to be rewarded with a respawning 200 rupees, which at this point in the game is likely beyond worthless. Oddly, the lower rewards in the House of Skultula are the better ones. As a matter of fact, the trope is even lampshaded: one Kokiri points out that most of the items in the shop can be found in the forest for free. You have to buy your first shield, and there are certain upgrades you can win by playing the mini-games that are often ten rupees per play; outside that, you'll seldom find yourself using rupees at all and your wallet will probably remain full for the entire game. You keep being given rupees (which you won't be able to carry, and would have no use for if you could) for some very difficult tasks as if they're the greatest reward ever!
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Due to the game's "Groundhog Day" Loop mechanic, chests containing money respawn on every cycle, so you effectively have an unlimited source of money. Collect all the chests in Clock Town, put the money in the bank, reset time, repeat. If that's not enough, there's an enemy in Termina Field that, while very hard to kill, always drops 200 Rupees. It's worth it to save up Rupees, since getting one Piece of Heart requires you to put 5000 Rupees in the Clock Town Bank. While there are things you can use your money on (Powder Kegs, Chateau Romani and the All-Night Mask, worth 500 Rupees), it's not going to take you that much to gather the money for them.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess zig-zags this. Collecting all the Golden Bugs and giving them to Agitha will give you a steady stream of money and there are some sidequests that require you to use your cash: One Piece of Heart requires giving a man in Castle Town 1000 rupees while helping to complete the bridge, and opening the Castle Town Malo Mart requires 3000 rupees (it can be reduced to 1200 rupees by helping a fatigued Goron who repairs the Western bridge in Hyrule Field). Malo Mart, in turn, also sells many items that while usually optional are very useful. One of them, costing most of your second wallet's capacity to buy, is the Magic Armor. It causes damage to be taken from your rupee count instead of your health (as well as slowly draining 'em while you're wearing it). This means you'll be grinding for rupees the first time you try to tackle the Cave of Ordeals. And bombs must almost always be bought (there are a few in chests, but they're never dropped by enemies or found when breaking pots or cutting grass). However, this game's version of the 100 Skultulas quest (finding Poes) also gives you an unlimited supply of 200 rupees; some Poes can not be found until late game and three are found in the Cave of Ordeals (so, forget about completing this quest just to fuel the Magic Armor to make the Cave easier... even though that's pretty much your only use for Rupees by this point in the game.)
    • Averted in the Oracle of Ages/Seasons games, where the Magic Potion costs 300 rupees, and you always want to be carrying one around; Ages even requires that you get one in order to progress the story at one point. Although these can also sometimes be dropped by a semi-random encounter. Gasha seeds (which are needed to get most rings, as well as a piece of heart) also cost 300, but the amount required is staggering, due to the luck involved. Although in Ages you can get some on the top of the Maku Tree.
    • In The Wind Waker, a late-game quest requires you use special maps to hunt down eight Triforce fragments. The catch is that each map has to be "deciphered" by Tingle before they can be used, and he charges you 398 rupees per map to do so. In the original Game Cube version, this required getting a wallet upgrade before you could even carry enough money to pay him. In the HD re-release, the default wallet size was increased to 500 rupees, and all but three of the charts were removed entirely, making Rupee-grinding not much of a thing in this version (though they don't become quite as useless as they are in OOT.)
    • Averted (mostly) in Tri Force Heroes, where you're unlikely to get more than 300 to 500 rupees per level, whereas Item Crafting materials in the shop range from 250 to 3,000 rupees per item, and the actual crafting costs an additional 100 to 3,000 rupees depending on the outfit. Played Straight once you've finally managed to make all the outfits, as there's literally nothing to spend money on besides more materials.
    • A Link Between Worlds has money take some precedence as you can rent items instead of just finding them in dungeons, meaning you may have to pay for an item rental multiple times (if you die your item goes back to Ravio) as well as eventually outright buy the item to keep it upon death. That said there's a lot of money to be found and you can carry more than ever right from the outset (nearly 10,000 Rupees).
    • Breath of the Wild is relatively non-linear for a Zelda game, and doesn't require you to spend any money to beat it. All items of any practical use (mainly arrows and food/potion ingredients) can also be collected for free out in the overworld; the convenience of buying them, and the amount of money you can spend doing this, is limited by the extremely small quantity of items each store carries. The weapons and shields you must constantly replace cannot be bought anywhere. Very few enemies drop money, but gems can be collected from ore deposits found all over the place and from a few types of monsters; selling these will earn you tons of money. The main money-sinks are optional, although some of these are very useful—most infamously the Great Fairies, who you must bribe with rapidly-increasing amounts of cash (100 Rupees for the first, ten thousand for the last) to max out their armor-upgrading abilities. Ancient weapons and armor cost thousands of Rupees in addition to Guardian parts; the armor is ridiculously effective when fully upgraded, although the best offensive outfit—Barbarian armor—cannot be purchased.
  • The so-called Castleroids (or Metroidvanias) of the modern Castlevania series often do this when it comes to equipment, as there are normally better ones in the environment, with the traditional exception of one really expensive item you'll have to farm cash to get; other Castlevania games manage to avert or downplay this. The original Castleroids (until Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow) wouldn't let you sell your items, leaving you with a bloated wallet and inventory. In comparison, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair has some nice armour in the shops, and lets you buy gamebreaking amounts of consumables. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow has some good weapons in its shop, but it stops mattering halfway through. The next two games made the shops useless. Then Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia inverted the trope; money is scarce, and all of the best armor has to be bought. In Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, there is a gameplay motivation to hoard money: the Miser Ring, which increases the damage you do as your wealth increases.
  • Crusader of Centy. The only items available that aren't plot-critical are certain one-use partners and an additional hit point.
  • In Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters, when you give the Chmmr the Utwig Bomb and the Location of the Sa-Matra, they give you an item of Infinite Worth, at the cost of more than half of your module slots. Good Luck spending it all.
  • The sequel to Little Big Adventure, Twinsen's Odyssey takes on the name of this trope fullblast when you're nearing the end of the game. When you're in the undergas portion of Zeelich, there is a company vault you can rob from which will give you 150 Zelitos which, in this game's case, is like hitting the jackpot. The cash in the vault even resets after leaving the building, so you can continuously take out 150 Zelitos. Problem is, at this point in the game, you don't need Zelitos anymore. The most you'll ever need from here to the end of the game is 5 to 10 Zelitos for a couple needed boat rides between the uppergas islands (or waste time in the Zeelich casino). It's almost like a cruel joke put in by the developers because there are quests beforehand where you gotta pay someone 120 Kashes or 100 Zelitos to continue on, but when this insane amount of money is dropped in your lap, it ends up being completely useless.
  • By the time Fox acquires the largest Scarab wallet in Star Fox Adventures, only one item exceeding the 100-Scarab limit is available: The Gold Fruit stolen from a mammoth character in SnowHorn Wastes. No other item will be expensive enough to justify having to get the largest Scarab wallet, and by the late point it's gotten any other item (maps, gadgets, etc.) will likely have been bought already.
  • A variation on this occurs in Beyond Good & Evil with pearls. Unlike the normal currency of the game, there are only a finite number of pearls hidden in the game, and they can only be exchanged for hovercraft and eventually spaceship upgrades at one location. Though you do need these upgrades to continue on with the plot, you can get every single one and still have at least a dozen or two more to collect, with getting every pearl in the game doing nothing more than unlocking a simple minigame.
  • You'll never want for money in Brave Fencer Musashi, because not only does the game eagerly throw money at you but there's really nothing in the game you need to buy save for the occasional curative item which are all quite cheap. There is an inn that allows you to sleep to recover health or pass time, but you can also sleep at the castle for free or sleep anywhere to pass time, you find all your weaponry, gear, and techniques for free, and the pawn shop doesn't charge you to appraise items and instead pays you if they are Shop Fodder. Even curative items are rarely necessary as, between your ability to sleep anywhere to recover HP and finding HP and BP pickups from enemies and in dungeons, you'll really only need them for boss battles. The only thing worth buying in the game are the action figures that fill the role of the game's Bestiary, but you'll have plenty of money to buy them as they become available and, with nothing else to spend it on, absolutely no qualms about buying the entire set.

    Action Games 
  • A frequent problem in the LEGO Adaptation Games, thanks to the Stud Multiplier cheatsnote  (studs being the game's currency). They're often required to purchase the really good/popular characters, but as there's only so many things to buy, and since the Stud Multipliers multiply each other to a total of x3,840, the player will often have a vast excess of cash. This gets truly ridiculous with the Stud Magnetnote , Character Studsnote  and Always Multiplynote  cheats. Especially notable examples include:
    • The LEGO Star Wars games, particularly in 2, where one can build a fountain from every Gold Lego Brick that spews studs, which at that point, the player likely has little to nothing to spend them on. The Xbox 360 version of the game even gives you an achievement for maxing out the stud counter.
    • LEGO Batman and LEGO Indiana Jones are also bad "offenders", particularly since they are the first entries to include the combo system for combat. How this works is that killing enemies will trigger a stud multiplier that will time out and drop down a level if you don't kill an enemy within two seconds. The combo multiplier is different from the Stud Multiplier cheat, and both stack with each other.
    • In LEGO Indiana Jones, studs fall from the sky at 100% Completion. Of course, there's nothing left to do...
    • In LEGO Harry Potter, you can find and buy a cheat early on that affects the "Ghost Studs" dropped behind ghosts to lead the player. They turn into BLUE studs, worth 1,000 studs each. Ghosts that lead you across the hub to the next level always drop these, and can leave particularly long trails if two levels are quite far apart. Needless to say, any other cash is useless after that point.
    • Averted with LEGO Dimensions, which only has a x2 Multiplier. If you're intent on 100%ing with the all the characters you're buying with real-world cash, you'll quickly find that you can't collect enough studs to fully upgrade all of your vehicles and items (which is fortunately largely optional).
  • Money quickly becomes the most plentiful resource at your disposal in Monster Hunter. While early-game upgrades might stretch your budget a little, after the first time the desire sensor decides to make you hunt the same beast 25 times to get that last lousy Rare Random Drop to complete your armor, you'll have more cash than you'll know what to do with, and that cycle will only repeat.

    Adventure Games 
  • The point-and-click adventure game based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail let you collect absurd amounts of money but gave you only one place to spend it: to buy shrubberies for the Knights Who Say Ni. Since you don't actually get anything out of buying shrubberies, there's no point in that either. Until the end of the game, that is, when you have to throw away all your items in order to be light enough to cross the Bridge of Death. Then it becomes a puzzle to collect precisely enough money to be spent on several shrubberies and be left with nothing.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, you get a large sum of pieces of eight early in the game, and have only a few things (a sword and swordfighting lessons, a shovel, a treasure map, and a roll of breath mints) to buy; once that's done, you still have over a hundred pieces of eight left and literally the only thing to spend it on is futilely trying to buy root beer from a non-functional vending machine.
  • In a complete inversion, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge starts you off with more money than you could possibly ever use. Almost immediately, it's all stolen from you. You get more later on, and can spend some or all of it on random knickknacks at a certain shop, only a few of which are actually useful. In The Curse of Monkey Island the problem is yet further averted: You fleece an insurance salesman for a quantity ambiguously defined as "a lot of money", but the only thing to spend the money on is a hand of poker. The buy-in (and minimum bet) is "not a lot of money". No matter how many hands you play and inevitably lose, you'll still have "a lot of money". You can also try to purchase the item the pirates have which you need, only to find out you can't afford it since it costs "An awful lot of money".
  • The Quest for Glory series is pretty bad about this:
    • In the first game, the class that gets the most money, the Thief, gets the least to spend it on, and can easily end the game with a few hundred gold pieces (even thrown daggers don't need replenishing if you know that you can pick them up before the combat screen opens). Mages get enough money to buy their spells by the end of the first major story quest, and will likely have most, if not all of them well before that. Fighters need to buy the chain mail (canonically), which costs 50 gold, but get 50 gold at the end of the first major story quest. The major money sink is potions, which are still relatively cheap, and not really necessary.
    • In the second game, even if you don't import a character, you start with between 80 and 120 dinars (depending on whether or not you figure out the moneychanger's exchange rate scam). You will need about 200 dinars to finish the game for most characters, though thieves need far less, and you get 50 dinars for completing plot required missions every week (or so). To add insult to injury, your massive pile of cash is stolen from you in the endgame sequence. At least the VGA remake lets you buy expensive souvenirs to decorate your room.
    • In the third game, you start with a whopping 200 Royals, and can buy literally everything you need for the game in the first few minutes. Money then ceases to be a problem. Unless you run out of potions, then money becomes a fair bit of a problem due to how expensive potions are and how few enemies actually drop money (and only in piddling amounts.)
    • In the fourth game, you start with no money at all (finally!), but before leaving the first area, you accumulate about 15 gold coins, which is about 10 gold coins more than you will need to complete the game. Paladins have it a bit rougher, but still end up with a surplus of a few gold coins. The game practically throws money at you, and provides very little to spend it on: the only recurring expense is rations, which are hardly needed anyway if you eat a meal at the inn every morning and evening. Potions, mana restoratives, and so on are provided to you, though you need to know where to look.
    • The fifth game gives an awful lot to spend your money on, including new weapons and armor that can be extremely useful. Still you will quickly get more than you'll ever need by putting a few well-placed bets on Arena fights, or by taking a trek around the island and killing monsters for a day or so. Weirdings often drop magical chainmail armor - that's 1000 Drachmas right there.
  • Deadly Premonition is the king of this trope. You are monetarily rewarded for every little thing. Shaving, changing your suit regularly, driving well, checking the weather on TV, and killing enemies.
  • In Yume Nikki, NPCs randomly drop yen when killed with the knife, but it can only be used to buy health drinks at vending machines to increase your equally-pointless health. This is probably all just an artifact of the game being made in RPG Maker.

    Beat'em Ups 
  • Initially, most Devil May Cry games required you to spend your Red Orbs on both items and move upgrades. So you'd have to choose wisely between saving up for new moves or cashing in for items (particularly with Blue and Purple Orbs, since they have the persistent effect of raising your Vitality and Devil Trigger gauges respectively). However, when Devil May Cry 4 rolled around, Capcom split up the shop system so Red Orbs would only be used for items, while a new kind of currency, "Proud Souls", would be used to purchase moves. This had the effect of making Red Orbs fairly unimportant (since a good player wouldn't need to purchase things like Vital Stars to stay alive). DmC: Devil May Cry operates on a similar principle, once again using different currencies to purchase items or skill enhancements.
  • Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons: Once you unlock everything the game has to offer and collect 100 tokens for an achievement, there is not much use for them, aside using the tokens as continues.
  • Pops up quite often in Like a Dragon:
    • Yakuza 0 is perhaps the most glaring example, albeit for justified reasons since the game takes place in 1988, during the peak of Japan's Bubble Economy. With that in mind, even in the early game, you'll have more than enough money to get you top-tier healing items as well as weapons or equipment since enemies in this game drop money like they're pinatas at a kid's birthday party. And when you take each protagonist's unique activity into accountnote , the fact that necessary combat skills (i.e., the Brawler style's ever-useful Body Counter) cost money to buy, as well as Mr. Shakedown, you'll have upwards of trillions of yen on hand, more than enough to practically beat the game and then some.
    • Next to 0, the series' Gaiden Games, Judgment and Lost Judgment, while not without some Early Game Hell (especially the former), end up on the lighter end of this thanks in part to the VR Salon, which is one of the most reliable sources of income in both games. In the first title, there's still plenty to spend your money on (i.e., Med Kits, Extracts), but it's in full force in the second since there exists a certain shop that sells items that were Too Awesome to Use in older entries through Experience Points (which are much, much easier to come by than in the first game, especially towards the end), effectively letting you stock up on Royal Joker Cards and millions of yen in profits from selling all of the valuable Shop Fodder that can be redeemed in the game's Casino.

    Driving Games 
  • Need for Speed
    • Carbon sort of played this one: not only you win enough money from racing alone to tune 4 cars to the limit, but you also have enough money to buy an Aston Martin DB9, a Nissan Skyline, a Chevrolet Corvette, a Dodge Viper, and a Koenigsegg CCX.
    • The first Underground title suffers from this problem. You will earn money faster than new parts unlock, causing you to be rolling in money with nothing to use it on (even arbitrarily changing your car's visual elements while waiting for the next tier of performance parts to open up will not burn enough money to offset how much you earn by racing). Underground 2 tends to avoid this as you can maintain more than one car (changing your car in Underground will cause the parts and visual elements to transfer to the car you swap to, meaning you can't hold onto more than one car at a time) and there's considerably more in the world to spend money on.
  • Downplayed in the Gran Turismo series. There are a lot of cars to buy, each upgradeable, so even if you get a lot of money there'll be something to spend it on.
  • Most Choro Q games end with this, with player's banks reaching $999999 and all the shops empty since they have bought everything there is to buy in the game.
  • If you have VIP status in the Forza games, you can be in such a position since they frequently reward you with double cash for winning races or getting credits on the wheelspins. In addition the wheelspin prizes are often better when you're a VIP, meaning you'll also be getting enough free cars to tune and drive without having to dip into your bank account. Averted with Forza Horizon 4 as credits won in wheelspins no longer double when you're a VIP, the wheelspins are peppered with more than just cars and credits (adding in clothes and emotes for your Player Character), and buying houses and businesses gives you multiple high-value things to save for and buy.

    Fighting Games 
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Brawl falls under this. Coins are mainly used for continuing if you fail in Classic or All-Star mode and used for the Coin Launcher to get stickers and trophies. The fact that you literally gain coins for every single mode you play in and gambling coins for spectator mode online, you'll quickly reach the 9999 coin limit with nothing worthwhile to spend it on. Note that if you're into 100% Completion, it's quite likely that you will blow through all 9999 coins you collect in the process of trying to get many trophies in the Coin Launcher, or continuing repeatedly in some of the higher difficulties of Classic and All-Star modes. But it's not like it takes long to build your cash back up, and you'll only need to do all that once.
    • Averted in the fourth game. Money is required to play many solo modes, and to adjust Classic's difficulty.
    • Averted in the fifth game, while no longer needed to play Classic Mode, coins are earned somewhat sparingly (even a perfect, 9.9 run in Classic with a Ticket will barely get you 1000), allow you to purchase items for the Spirit Board without limit, and allows access the easiest way to get Legendary spirits (which cost 15000 coins) in the Shop. There are also two currencies in Ultimate; coins and a second type specific to Spirit mode, which have a wider range of usesnote , but are also easier to get hold to compensatenote . In short, you always have something to spend money on.
  • One of the versions of Link made for M.U.G.E.N averts this by means of an arcade mode-exclusive shop. Throughout the rounds, Link can collect rupees, which are used at the beginning of the following matches to buy equipment. This is especially handy if one tries to go without any items, building Link up ala the original games with very valuable attacks. But unlike most of the canon games, all of his items are bought through this shop feature. And since money is awarded based on how well you can combo, affording more equipment is much more dependant on how well you play. Finally, even if a player buys everything, has a satisfying "random objects" selection, or chooses "all objects," Rupees still play an important role in bottles and their contents, which is helpful if the roster is full of Nintendo Hard characters.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • In Deus Ex, weapons, ammo, and supplies (such as medkits and biocells) are so abundant that it's useless to buy them off NPCs. Weapon mods might be worth buying, but you can find just enough of these weapon mod items to max out a couple of your preferred weapons. Some of these mods (such as the recoil and accuracy ones) are also helped by upgrading your weapon skills. So it's not like you'd be spending a lot of money buying from NPCs. On top of that, some of the things that require money in the game can be gained through alternate means anyway (usually picking locks or sneaking around). The only item left that might be useful if purchased are the nano-augmentation upgrades, but they're not sold anywhere. This makes sense if you consider that there are about four nano-augmented people in the world to sell the rare (and presumably VERY expensive) upgrades to. As a result, many players don't even buy anything in the course of the game, other than the beer you give to your pilot at the beginning (which is optional anyway). Late in the game, the player can buy some LAMs to help sink a ship, which costs at minimum 2,400 credits and at most 3,500 credits. However, plenty of LAMs and TNT crates can be found lying around in the naval base for the player to use for free. Then again, no one after the gas station has anything to sell, even though there are still opportunities to pick up credits.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution runs into the same issue. Weapons and ammo are never a problem, as there are more than enough out in the field. Weapon mods are a more reasonable purchase, but even those are common enough that if you focus on a particular weapon, you'll find plenty for free. The only thing left to buy after that are Hypostims, Cyberboost Jars, and Praxis Kits, all in limited supply. Plus, once you leave Hengsha for the second time, you'll never see another shop (besides a LIMB Clinic on Panchaea) to spend the tens of thousands you're likely to have left over by the end of the game.
  • Gremlins 2 for the NES. Most enemies drop black orbs which you can use to buy powerups from the old man from the movies. However, you can only use each shop once, and the game is completely linear. As a result, other than the very first shop or two, you nearly always get the most expensive item because you always have enough orbs to buy everything in the store several times over if the game would let you. Interestingly, the game would have been easy if you could have sunk all that "money" into powerups and extra lives, but with this limitation, it makes the game Nintendo Hard.
  • You wouldn't expect this trope in an FPS, but Command & Conquer: Renegade multiplayer can leave you with more money than you know what to do with, especially if you play as an Engineer. The character upgrade is fairly cheap and vehicles are limited in number. Plus you'll easily make more money repairing buildings and vehicles. Some servers try to alleviate this by allowing you to gamble for random prizes.
  • Metro 2033 plays with this trope. After leaving the Metro for the last time, there are no shops to buy from, though you still find currency lying around. This would be absurd if the "money" in this game wasn't high-quality assault rifle rounds.
  • Borderlands:
    • In the first game, you can find dollars everywhere, and selling the guns you find but won't use is an extremely quick way to earn thousands upon thousands of $$$. However, the only ways to spend that money on are on ammo packs, of which the most expensive doesn't reach 80 bucks, and the occasional good firearm, class/grenade mod, or shield. It gets so bad that money overflowwhat?  is dangerously common, and a box that literally serves no other purpose than to remove eight millions off your funds (giving a non-achievement in the process during the first time) becomes an important asset in later playthroughs to avoid it.
    • Borderlands 2 is slightly better since dying strips 7% of your total funds, and ammo packs and health packs are more expensive the higher the area's level. Vending Machines, while no longer selling Legendaries (not until The Pre-Sequel, anyway), also have a chance to stock better equipment, with the odd Blue or even Purple gun being an Item of the Day.
    • Borderlands 3 finally averts this trope for the series; not only are guns and ammo worth slightly more, but upgrades to ammo, capacity and Bank storage are now bought from Marcus for cold hard cash instead of a rarer gemstone currencynote . Marcus being...well, Marcus, the upgrades get pretty expensive, with the final upgrade of each tier being in the millions. With prices so high, and with so many of them, you'll always have something to work towards, and again that doesn't count the odd good-looking Item of the Day in vending machines. Eridium does return, but it's now used to buy cosmetic items and special "Annointed" gear that has special propreties on certain characters.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has similar issues: with every single human enemy dropping firearms and ammunition, as well as most dropping food, medicine, and bandages, there aren't many reasons to visit shops other than to repair your gear, which doesn't cost all that much, or upgrade it. The Shop Fodder and high mission rewards don't help things, nor did the grand total of three traders with the slightest potential for anything useful.
    • One of the negative Multiple Endings overrides all the others if you reach the end with enough money; a lot of people didn't even realize there were other bad endings you could get.
    • With mods installed, many of the traders charge you much more and pay you much less, as well as having to pay money for maintenance of your equipment and making items like extra ammo and med supplies not only much more valuable, but also a hell of a lot rarer. Play Oblivion Lost or similar mods on hard mode and you may find yourself struggling not to go broke.
    • In Call of Pripyat specifically, merchants will only purchase equipment with durability above a certain level (while most gear you find is below the threshold), meaning that just going through fights won't get you huge loads of money. Repairing them doesn't help, because equipment that damaged almost always costs more to repair than it sells for at – in fact, that's probably why the merchants don't want them.

    Hack and Slashes 
  • Diablo II is notorious for this, as the only major costs in the normal game are gambling items (never necessary) and reviving your mercenary. This is especially noticeable in its online play, where barter between players is exclusively item-for-item; a somewhat-useful magic ring called the Stone of Jordan became the meta-currency, as the sale price of items being advertised in chat would often be expressed as "X SoJ" Many mods of the game make new items available from shops, or increase prices on basic items.
  • Diablo III is even worse about this. You'll only have to spend your money on repairing your equipment, which costs a piddling amount of gold to do, even at higher levels. You also no longer need to spend money to revive your mercenaries; they automatically revive after a certain amount of time. Another feature was added after "Version 2.0" came out called "The Vault". Killing a Treasure Goblin randomly transports a player to the Vault, where breaking the pots open and defeating Optional Boss Greed will net over ten million gold. Greed is also guaranteed to drop a socketable gem to make monsters randomly explode in a shower of gold coins, so that just one trip to the Vault will mean never having to worry about money again.

  • This has become increasingly more common across newer generations of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. The tendency to want to tightly control progression and prevent twinking, as well as a way to stop inevitable inflation (in universes with Money Spiders) from ruining the gameplay, has led most MMO developers into introducing "badges" or other alternate, non-standard, merit currencies that are bound to a single character and can only be used to purchase items for the dungeon or event they are associated with.
  • Averted with Influence (or "Inf") in City of Heroes. There was very little that could be directly purchased with it (just single origin enhancements that were vastly inferior to crafted enhancements). However, the inclusion of Money Sinks (mostly crafting costs and a 10% auction fee) kept inflation enough under control that Inf was stable enough to be useful as a medium of trade between players. This was also helped by the fact that there were very few untradeable items (and most untradeable items were just currency for tradeable items anyway).
  • Past a certain point (mostly after the Campaign has been concluded), The Division suffers from this big-time. Dark Zone Currency, Phoenix Credits and simply playing harder and harder levels in the Underground/Expansions are the only things that can see you purchase Gear and Weapons that increase your ranks and gear score. Players frequently amass millions of "regular" Credits from selling excess inventory, only to find out they can't buy anything particularly useful with them.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online has this problem in spades. The game was not designed to scale past a level cap of 10, with the current level cap of 30 average vendor trash is worth thousands of platinum. The most expensive things to buy in-game are only a few dozen plat. The inflation has been so rampant for years that plat is completely useless as a medium of exchange for players.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, there's little practical use for gil at the endgame. Vendor gear are invariably inferior to crafted gear, dungeon drops, and raid gear. The only major money sinks in the game are player housing and the absurdly expensive Bragging Rights Reward golden mounts. Aside from that, gil is only useful for covering teleportation fees (which can easily be waived by aetheryte tickets earned from hunts and the Masked Carnivale) and buying things from other players via the market board. The relatively low 5% tax keeps inflation from rising too quickly, but longtime players will inevitably accrue millions of gil just by doing their daily roulettes on a consistent basis.
  • Largely averted in Guild Wars 2. Nearly any item you could want can be bought with gold on the Trading Post, including legendary weapons. The things that can't are usually crafted...and the base items for those are almost all buyable. Finally, using waypoints costs a small amount of money, so a full wallet helps you get around fast. The developers have an economist on staff, who oversees the in-game economy to avoid this trope.
  • Marvel Heroes goes back and forth on this. The game has at least a dozen different types of actual currency (to the point that there's a specific tab on your hero's Character menu that lets you track how much you have of each) and there are various items to spend them on. However, as many of the currencies can only be acquired under particular circumstances (i.e. you can typically only get Omega Access Files during Omega Training events or other big cosmic multi-currency-reward events) it takes a long time to acquire enough of each currency to actually buy the items you'll likely want. After the money is spent on the items you'd likely want, there won't be much use in having leftover currency, so a player will likely just end up accumulating more of it until an update occurs that gives new items to buy.
  • Star Wars: Galaxies avoided this for the first few years thanks to a robust player crafting system and a well-developed in-game economy. Once the players figured out how to abuse the crafting system, however, problems started to crop up in the form of inflation (players could complete missions far faster than they should have been able to), but things eventually stabilized. However, with the much-maligned New Game Enhancements, many forms of "credit sinks" that took money out of the in-game world were removed; as a result, inflation exploded and costs went up by, in some cases, a factor of 1000 or more. The game slowly slid into more of a barter-style economy, ultimately seeing the trope played straight.
  • World of Warcraft. Coupled with the way that Crafting can considerably increase the value of your Shop Fodder, you can end up with hundreds of thousands in gold and barely notice. Training, recipes and mounts cost money, but it doesn't actually eat into your bank balance that much.
    • The right pairing of Professions (for example, Skinning paired with Leatherworking) can save you a lot of money at the Auction House.
    • Cooking and First Aid are professions that largely replace the need to buy healing potions. However, healing potions heal instantly, Cooking is only for non-combats, and First Aid can be interrupted.
    • Most of the important items you acquire in the game nowadays are either found in drops (and are Soulbound and so cannot be traded for gold) or are purchased with alternate "currencies" such as "Justice Points," earned from participating in dungeons and the like.

    Platform Games 
  • The Shantae games tend to fall victim to this. While it varies from game to game, it really doesn't take much effort in any of them to earn enough gems to buy everything in the item shop. The more platform game-oriented Half Genie Hero and the Metroidvania-styled Seven Sirens are the biggest offenders, as the process of replaying levels or exploring the world for hidden collectibles as you unlock new powers will net you enough money to buy every upgrade before you hit the last two chapters of either, making you an absolute powerhouse. In addition, the former has an optional dance you can buy that outright creates gems, while the latter lets you cash in excess cards for gems once you reach Armor Town.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): In Silver's story, you have to buy all of his upgrades to progress, and in Shadow's story, you have to buy all but two. If you even did decently on the levels and missions (which admitedly is the only way to get shopping-specific rings at all), you'll have more than enough rings to buy the extra two and leave you with tons of rings saved up with literally nothing to spend them on. Sonic is a bit of an exception; only his first three upgrades are required, but the other 7 are only available right before the final level.
  • Sonic Generations has points that you earn for completing levels, based on your score (10,000 score = 100 points). You use these points to purchase beneficial skills for both Sonics. If you're a completionist — going after S ranks and Red Rings in the stages, doing many of the challenge acts — you'll have more than enough points to buy all the skills and the Sega Genesis controller (the most expensive item at 7,777 points), and still have plenty left over. All that's left to buy after that are extra lives, which then makes them meaningless.
  • This is the entire premise of Conker's Bad Fur Day. All the piles of cash you collect in game can't actually be spent on anything (whenever you make an investment, money literally returns to you, so it works more like the requirement of collecting Plot Coupons in other platform games in the sense that you just have to keep them at hand to progress), and it's never explained why you're getting them other than "money is good".
  • In New Super Mario Bros. 2, you find money everywhere, you have nothing to actually spend it on, and the whole premise is collecting money for the hell of it (and a new title screen). It gets pretty literal in some levels, where money literally flies out of the ground or appears from thin air when Mario simply stands in the right place, or with the Gold Flower, which actually turns anything it hits into cash. You will never, ever run out of money in the game.
  • In Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, gems serve no purpose other than showing you where to go.
  • Common in the Ratchet & Clank games, where the player will often be left with money left over once they've bought all the weapons. Challenge Mode alleviates this by introducing Mega versions of existing weapons required to take down the beefed up enemies; however since there's only about 15 weapons per game, players will often have bank balances numbering in the billions by the time they've done everything.

    Puzzle Games 
  • DROD RPG tends to have this problem in user-made "holds" (level sets). All the enemies in the game have stats (including amount of money carried) copied over from the game it's based on, Tower Of The Sorcerer; but that game also had Money Sinks in the form of "altars" (which let you exchange money for stats, with the cost of each use increasing quadratically). Many user-made holds lack altars, and the player just ends up accumulating so much money that there is never any difficulty in buying everything buyable as soon as it's offered. One level set, "Nobard's Hold", has dealt with this problem quite effectively by doubling all costs.
  • The currency in Scribblenauts is "Ollars". You get Ollars for completing any level (be they Action or Puzzle). You get more Ollars for using certain items (tools, animals, weapons, etc) or completing a level in a particularly clever or awesome way. The thing is...the only thing to spend these Ollars on are extra characters to replace Maxwell. They cost an average of 2,000–3,000 Ollars each. By the end of the game, you'll have well over 300,000 Ollars.note 

    Real-Time Strategies 
  • In their RTS games such as Warcraft and Starcraft, Blizzard often gives the enemy you're fighting in the campaign huge amounts of cash at the start to give them an edge against you. Resource reserves that would take the enemy HOURS to actually use up. Makes you wonder why Blizzard even bothers to give the enemy bases minerals and gas to collect from; most logical reason being to clear out the enemy for a second base.
  • One particular Warcraft mission, Blizzard does do this for you instead of the computer. The first undead mission of Frozen Throne you're given 40,000 gold and lumber, because you're not base building in this mission. Then, there are your two allies you also control in the mission; both of which ALSO have 40,000 gold and lumber. You'd have to REALLY waste your soldiers to go through 120,000 resources in this mission.
  • Pikmin 2: The objective of the game is to amass 10,000 Pokos to pay off your company's debt. Once you reach this goal, however, you can return to the Pikmin planet to gather up the treasure you didn't find. The treasure still has monetary value, though, and boosts your Pokos count, but there's literally nothing to spend it on (and your post-game progress is tracked by individual treasures found, not their worth). What's gratuitous is that many of the treasures found only in the postgame are incredibly expensive (one treasure is worth 3,000 by itself, and the final boss drops over 4,000 in separate treasures), meaning their high values are completely pointless. Retrieving enemy bodies also becomes pointless after paying off the debt, since that serves no purpose but to provide a few extra Pokos.

  • Interestingly, in ADOM, your money is more useful the less you spend it. A blessed girdle of greed increases your maximum carrying capacity according to how much gold you have. Classes that can't cast Strength of Atlas to lift their gear will end up hauling around massive amounts of gold. The exception is for chaotic mages, who can cast Atlas and rob shops and won't need their gold for anything.
  • It is possible for certain countries to end up in a position like this in Avalon Hill's Third Reich, both the computer version and the table-top version. If a country is fully mobilized but not engaged in heavy fighting, it will quickly find that it is building up BRP's with nothing to spend them on. Usually, however, this is not an issue.
  • In The Binding of Isaac:
    • This tends to happen beyond the sixth floor since shops stop appearing after you defeat Mom. After that, your only use of money is going to be on the occasional beggar, arcade, or slot machine. And while there are items you can acquire that use money in some fashion, in a game with over 700, you'll likely hit the cap before that.
    • One of the trinkets introduced in the Afterbirth+ DLC for Rebirth is the Silver Dollar, which lets shops appear in The Womb. Repentance adds the Holy Crown and Wicked Crown, which adds shops to (respectively) the Cathedral and Sheol. However, the trope is back in full swing afterwards as these trinkets' effects don't apply to further areas. Of course, this is assuming you even get to have one of those trinkets in the first place, at that stage in the game, given the size of the trinket pool as of Repentance.
  • When you start Castle of the Winds, you have three thousand copper to your name, and that's before buying your starting equipment. By the end of the game you're getting double-digits of platinum, and each platinum piece is worth 1000 cp.
  • In Cult of the Lamb, once you've achieved all possible Divine Inspirations, you begin to earn gold coins instead of faith from your followers. While gold coins can be turned into gold bars for construction, it's possible to earn far more gold coins than you could use. There are a few money sinks available, like Midas' Cave.
  • This was done unusually in Dead Cells, where Cells, the currency you need to unlock items, that were acquired at the highest difficulty level was unable to be used in any way. You're not only unable to spend it between levels, but also, unless for some reason you end your run right before the Very Definite Final Dungeon, don't get them back at start of your next run. The reason for this is because the Collector is gone, so no one is there to take your Cells, and he steals them from you right before his boss fight for his elixir. So if you wanted to unlock more stuff, you had to play the game on the lower difficulties. A patch addressed this issue by adding a way to spend your Cells the usual way.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor: Depending on your build and how lucky you've been with random finds, you'll eventually have more money than you know what to do with somewhere around floor 10 or so.
  • Fatal Labyrinth has gold, but no stores and no way to spend it. The only function gold has in the game is getting you a nicer grave and more people to attend your funeral in the event of your (all too likely) demise.
  • In the Leshy's cabin portion of Inscryption (and the Kaycee's Mod expansion of it), the teeth which act as money are almost useless. The best strategy is usually to avoid visiting even a single tile where you can spend them. Teeth can only be used to buy pelts (and one consumable item in the expansion), which clog up your deck in combat until you later find a trader (assuming you live that long—you may well not find one until right before the final boss). Bad enough already, but visiting the trapper at all forces you to take at least one of the least valuable pelt, and there's diminishing return for every additional pelt you take of a given type (since you're picking 2 out of the same offered set of cards). A gold pelt can potentially reward you with a game-winning creature, but you already get one for free after each boss.
  • Money in NetHack is a strange case; having some money around can help you bribe your way past a couple of (not hard) bosses, and buying protection from priests is often beneficial; but beyond that everything in shops can simply be stolen by a well-trained pet and it's dirt cheap to buy anyway (unless you stumble across Grayswandir in a shop, you lucky sod), which means money is just there for extra points if you beat the game, and taking up space in your backpack (one hundred and thirty seven thousand gold pieces actually have weight in this game...).

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Since item synthesis is the only thing that costs munny in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, you will end up with ridiculous amounts of cash rather fast. For who knows what reason, all of the items you can buy from the Organization Moogle cost Heart Points... even though he claims that the reason he follows Roxas after he defects from the Organization is that he would miss all the munny spent at his shop.
  • Mario & Luigi:
    • The series gets guilty of this near the end of the third game (Bowser's Inside Story) due to all the treasure chest enemies Bowser faces, combined with coin-earning multipliers and blocks that can rejuvenate your health for no cost. You are guaranteed to have at least 10,000 coins by the end of the game.
    • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team falls into this as well, especially in Hard mode. You see, in that mode, you can only carry ten of each item. And lots of enemies drop items on a regular basis. So it ends up being very hard to run out of money by the end of a Hard mode playthrough, since you never need to buy the best items or (much of) the best gear, most mini games are free and the best badges you can buy are fairly cheap in comparison to how much money you actually get (the Miracle and Master badges only cost 2,000 coins and the Gold badge only costs 5,000 coins). On the bright side, there is a neat Gold Hammer item which does significant amounts of damage if you have a lot of money on your person (and which doesn't take away any cash to use) so at least you can use the spare money to power up the Infinity -1 Sword.
  • Final Fantasy has a recurring Gil Toss ability, which lets you do damage by throwing money. Similar, Ninja job classes can usually throw any kind of weapon at the enemy, which can deal insane damage if you stock up on the best weapons available from stores. This can counteract this trope by giving you something to do with your excess money, but often these are less effective than other methods of doing damage. As for game-specific examples:
    • Final Fantasy 1 has one of the most schizophrenic game economies in the series. You will swing back and forth between absolutely destitute and unable to buy anything to absolutely swimming in gil as monsters randomly drop hundreds of gil and you open chests that give you tens of thousands.
    • Early in Final Fantasy II, it can take some time to earn gil to buy equipment upgrades and new spells. Once you gain access to Mythril equipment, it's quite a bit of time before you gain access to shops with better gear (even if you Sequence Break), and by then you'll have earned so much money from fighting monsters and selling unneeded junk that you won't have much trouble upgrading your gear. By the end of the game, basically the only thing you'd ever bother buying is Ethers and Elixirs, and you'd have to do so in bulk to take a chunk out of your budget.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, money is moderately useful at the start of the game when you're poor, but by the time you reach disc three, you'll probably have hundreds of thousands of useless Gil. The programmers may have lampshaded this, as they give you the chance to splurge all that extra cash on a beach-front villa, which besides allowing you to heal for free, has no practical purpose. Though if you take up Chocobo breeding then this will be a major money sink: it costs 10,000 Gil per stall (you need four minimum), and at least 3 million Gil for the greens. Where do you get that much Gil? Sell those All Materias you mastered, which go for 1.4 million a pop and are easily mastered, or you could use the item duplication trick. Perhaps getting that Gold chocobo is worth its weight in Gil.
    • Final Fantasy VIII gives you a regular salary based on your SeeD rank rather than as part of your loot hoard or from selling Shop Fodder. Basically, every ten real-time minutes or so you'll get several thousand Gil. Most items that can be bought cost a couple hundred. Both they, and the rare ones, can be found in loot drops, or just mugged from enemies. By the time you leave the D-District Prison, provided you've kept your rank appropriately high through a combination of not running from fights, summon-spamming and taking the written tests, you can be pretty close to a Gillionaire. And this is only the beginning of disc two, and you haven't got anywhere to even begin to spend all that money for another several hours yet. If you haven't got a million Gil by Disc Three, you're either bum-rushing, or slacking somewhere. There's also an infinite Gil trick which will allow you to earn money much faster, if you really need it. But if you wish to attempt to max out everyone's stats without using any Junctioning, you can quickly waste a ton of cash buying items that teach GFs skills, refining 10 of them into better version of the item and then further refining 10 of those into a single Up.
    • The enemies in Final Fantasy IX give absurd amounts of gil when beaten, and Quina can learn the "Millionare" ability fairly early too to increase that amount even more. In addition, the majority of the game's weapons and equipment can either be stolen from bosses, found in dungeons, or acquired in various side quests for free, so there isn't nearly as much a need to buy equipment in stores. And you'll probably find yourself with boatloads of various consumable items just from stealing and enemy item drops. There still are a few money sinks like synthesizing and the Treno Auction house, but getting the money for them is extremely easy. And if you exploit the Cotton Robe trick, it's more noticeable.note  If it's exploited in early Disc Two when you first visit Treno, you will end up with a ridiculous amount of cash (and consequently the funds to sink into powerful equipment at the Auction House), and if you do it after you get the Global Airship in Disc Three (by which time you will in most likelihood have 99 of every healing item already), you can end up with millions of useless Gil within an hour of gameplay.
    • The Yojimbo summon in Final Fantasy X does different attacks depending on how much of a payment you offer him (and other factors, but most of these also depend on you paying him). If you want him to reliably use Zanmato, be prepared to spend ridiculous amounts of Gil.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, an important item can obtained very early in the game but only if the party has an enormous amount of Gil. Later, it becomes not only more or less useless, but a fairly simple sidequest makes it effortless to acquire. Also in the early game, there's a sidequest that allows you to get lots of money through an overlooked exploit. Paying off O'aka's debt as soon as possible lets him stay on your ship, selling items for ridiculously cheap. Selling those same items to Barkeep, who's right next to O'aka, nets a small profit every time. Repeat several times for more money than you're every going to need.
    • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Money can be spent on four things: Cure Potions, Bombs, Seeds, and weapon/armor upgrades. The upgrades are one-time investments that the player should have more than enough money for without any effort put into it whatsoever, while the Cure Potions and Bombs can be acquired through respawning Inexplicable Treasure Chests. Even the comparably expensive (and rare outside of stores) Seeds can reach their capacity cap with almost no Money Grinding, thanks to the dearth of other things to spend the money on. Naturally, these turn out to be a Game-Breaker in mass quantities.
    • Final Fantasy Record Keeper has Gil, but it's essentially just artifact of the main series: every single thing that you can spend Gil on requires another, rarer, consumable. Orbfests in particular give out oodles of Gil, far more than most players will even be able to spend. This is further doubled upon on the 30th Anniversary Dungeons, in which just clearing one of these granted more Gil than you can ever need.note 
    • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius plays with this. When grinding for Gil Snapper Families during one of the weekend quests you'll end up with at least two million Gil on hand, with no apparent use for it... but then you start awakening abilities, the highest-rated ones requiring one million Gil to awaken once.note 
  • Baten Kaitos Origins uses a card-battling system, and your deck is essentially set about at third of the way through the game (once you've reached the maximum hand size). Your basic attack cards never change and armor cards are more trouble to use effectively than they're worth, so the only cards that need to be swapped out as the game progresses are super moves, which can't be bought, and better healing cards, which are one-time investments since they never get used up.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In general in the series, it is usually quite easy to acquire far more money than you'd realistically be able to spend, even if you're not being a Kleptomaniac Hero. Most of the best items and equipment are found or given as rewards rather than purchased. High-level enchantments, custom magic spells, and high-level training for skills can be quite costly, but the price is still easily covered by doing a dungeon dive or two. Expect to see many players running around with hundreds of thousands or even millions of gold yet nothing to spend it on.
    • Morrowind:
      • Even before leaving the character generation area, it is possible to steal several valuable items with no repercussions. You can also acquire a key to another area with stuff to steal with this method. It's entirely possible that the only merchant in the First Town won't have enough gold to buy it all from you. (Especially if you return Fargoth's ring in order to get a disposition boost before selling.)
      • If you report to Caius Cosades (the initial main quest quest giver) before you reach level 4, he will give 200 free gold.
      • Most outdoor crates and urns in cities can be looted without issue. Most contain low-end vendor trash, but considering many towns have dozens of these containers (including the second town you are likely to visit, Balmora) and even the lowest-value items are still worth at least one gold, it can really add up for a new player.
      • Even with no practice at it at all, you can easily brew potions from the cheaper unlimited-supply ingredients purchased from alchemist vendors, and sell them for more than the ingredients are worth, repeatedly, making arbitrary high amounts of money bounded only by having to occasionally wait for their gold on hand to reset.
      • The game has two non-NPC merchants: Creeper the Scamp (with 5,000 gold) and the Mudcrab Merchant (with 10,000 gold). As they are classed as creatures instead of NPCs, they have no Disposition or Mercantile skill to affect your selling prices. Therefore, you get full value for anything you sell them. Good thing the coins were weightless...
      • One of the easiest money-earning methods takes advantage of a rounding error, and doesn't even require decent stats: the game works out the total price of goods differently depending on whether you click on a whole stack of items at once or add them individually. Simply pick up a large stack of cheap items. Go to a merchant and add them to your "sell" stack one by one and the game will raise the price by the minimum value rounded up to a whole coin on each click. Sell four hundred arrows, then buy the whole stack back for just one...
    • Oblivion:
      • This was a major complaint (both the insanely stuffed wallets and not being able to sell things properly, go figure), and an attempt was made to solve it. Still not quite perfect, but at least more realistic. Early in the game, quality armor, weapons, spells, potions, etc. are very expensive when you might only have a few hundred Septims to spend, and are also difficult to find (dungeon crawls are usually required to find anything of value). This completely changes later in the game, though, when all the best items can be easily found due to the game's global leveling system, and said items can also be sold for thousands. Even though the game contains money sinks like purchasable houses and item enchanting, it's still easy to wind up richer than the Emperor himself.
      • The real cash cow in Oblivion is Alchemy, which manages to somehow be several times more lucrative than robbing jewelry shops. Alchemy ingredients are absolutely everywhere, and with just a few humble mixing apparatuses (all of which can be found free a dozen times over in every Mage's Guild Hall), you can walk down to the nearest farm, harvest all of their crops (which is completely legal), and immediately start brewing dozens of potions worth anywhere from 4 to 60 times as much as the ingredients used to make them, a number that goes up as your alchemy skill increases. Then go sell the stack of potions to a nearby vendor, netting you hundreds or thousands of gold, and go out and repeat. You can even work stealing into the equation, if you want to, since potions brewed from stolen items count as unstolen items, you can rob a beggar's food bag, mash his lunch into restore fatigue potions, and go sell them to the nearest law abiding merchant who will be none the wiser.
    • Additionally, this can also be rather easy to do in later stages of Skyrim as well, especially if one completes the Stones of Barenziah quest, which gives an added perk in the form of finding at least two precious gems in every chest or urn checked. In one dungeon crawl, the player can stack 10,000 gold in gems. A common challenge for players is to play through the entire game without ever buying or selling anything from a merchant, and it's not terribly difficult for even casual players. At least here, player housing becomes an option for adventurers wanting to spend their vast amounts of money acquired in game (particularly with Hearthfire installed).
  • Bioware's Mass Effect is a prime example of this. Due to the large but limited nature of the player's inventory, by the time the limit is approached, it rapidly becomes apparent that the only thing to do with your excess (useless) items is to dump them for the Applied Phlebotinum that was the aptly named Omni-Gel... or sell it all. Since a level 1 suit of threadbare cotton armor turns into exactly as much Omni-Gel as a level 50 BFG, vendors often ended up buying all the player's trash. Which promptly leaves the player sitting near the end of the game with multiple millions of credits and the most expensive items rarely topping 300,000.
    • Even if you sell very few items (instead turning most of them into Omni-Gel), it's extremely unlikely to not have maximum credits by the end of the game unless you deliberately go out of your way to buy things. With the New Game Plus nature of the game, subsequent plays through the game are even worse because there's even less need to spend money.
    • And other than the spectre master weapons (which incidentally you unlock by collecting a million credits) and some cheap upgrades to your medigel and grenade capacity, there really isn't anything you can buy that isn't found by the dozens in every enemy base.
    • The exceptions here are armor — especially non-human armor. Getting your hands on a good suit of krogan, turian, or especially quarian armor requires visiting a lot of different vendors and hoping you get lucky, because non-human armor drops very rarely. Quarian armor of any type is almost impossible to find, so don't be surprised if Tali is running around in her basic outfit for half of the game.
      • Lampshaded in the Bring Down The Sky DLC, which has a high-end suit of Human or Quarian armor as a guaranteed quest reward. Choosing the Quarian set has Shepard comment on how rare the stuff is.
      • Only three vendors in the entire game actually offer a specific list of non-human armor: the hanar merchant on the Presidium, Morlan in the Wards Markets, and the hanar merchant in the plaza on Noveria. 90% of that armor will be krogan or turian, and more than half of that will be lower-level armor that's no good compared with what you've got. Sometimes they'll be packing some incredibly good armor, though, like Colossus or Mantis suits.
      • And BioWare eventually said "hell with it" when they got ready to release Mass Effect 2; people needed high level saves to import, and they promised more DLC, but time was running out. So for five bucks you can download Pinnacle Station and shoot at holograms while jerks snark at you — and upon completing it, you can hit a trade convoy where you can buy Spectre X guns, Colossus armor, and Savant Bio-Amps and Omni-tools. For about a fourth of list price.
    • When your inventory is full, you can either sell it or turn it to omni-gel... what are you going to use the gel on? The hacking/decrypting minigame is so easy and Mako repair function so seldom used thanks to regenerating shields that the money is all you really need. And not for that long, as pointed out above.
  • Mass Effect 2 averts this when it comes to credits. The game has almost no corpse looting, and it carefully controls how much credits and other stuff you can gain on each mission. As a result, even if you track down and complete every side mission, it's impossible to buy everything in the stores on your first playthrough. However, it plays it straight when it comes to resources. You can mine them from any planet in the game, and if you're thorough about it, you quickly end up with far more resources than you could ever use. And you can't sell them, so they just sit around making big numbers on the resource counters.
    • Perhaps the worst is element zero. Because it's supposed to be highly rare and valuable, the quantity of eezo recovered from planet-scanning and resource nodes in missions is about a quarter that of the other resources, and the costs of eezo-based upgrades are likewise lower. However, the amount of eezo you get from bonuses is not adjusted, meaning a player with a Long Service Bonus (complete the game twice, or with a character who also beat the original) gets 50,000 units of element zero right at the start, more than they could ever need.
    • Mass Effect 3 at least did something to make all those extra stockpiles of resources from Mass Effect 2 not completely useless: importing a save from Mass Effect 2 that has a lot of resources in it gives the player a big boost to their starting war assets from stockpiled upgrade materials being used to strengthen Systems Alliance war readiness.
  • Monster Rancher games may be one of the few aversions out there. Because you constantly have to spend money to feed your monster, you always need SOME money—and because you'll have to feed your monster lots of treats if you want to raise an especially powerful one, you'll be continuously spending cash on goodies. It is part Simulation Game, however...
  • In the first Gothic game, money is literally useless; the player will occasionally find coins while looting bodies or chests for items, but they have zero value. This is because the game is set in a prison colony, where a magical metal ore used for making weaponry is the new currency. The ore itself then suffers from version #2: since traders have limited ore to swap for your Shop Fodder, players frequently find themselves owning all the money in the world by the time of the final Boss Battle...
    • In Gothic II, two characters hung a lampshade on this: Diego has you get his gold bag from the colony, asking you "Was I the only one who kept some gold on the side, just in case we got out of there?". The Expansion Pack gives us Cavalorn, who wants his bag (yes, money bags are EVERYWHERE around there) with a piece of ore back, stating he "didn't know the ore was worth so much out here."
  • The Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale series do this. Baldur's Gate II is particularly striking as you can end the game with several million gold pieces.
  • Planescape: Torment. You may spend the early parts of the game scraping all the money together you can for upgrades like new tattoos, new spells (for mages), and better weapons - and, if you're not talking your way past everything and the RNG hates you, healing items - but eventually you will be sitting on quite the pile of copper coins. The best stuff is found, not bought, and adding that succubus cleric to your party will dramatically lower your healing expenses. You can steal items from vendors, but it's almost pointless, and your thief's skill points are better put towards stealth for backstabs rather than stealing.
  • Dragon Age:
    • If you're a dirty cheater (or dedicated with a lot of time to burn), Dragon Age: Origins has you covered with Game-Breaker items found in shops, dropped by enemies, and just about nothing else. It's pretty easy to have your inventory fill up with worthless crap that you can't offload without going through a merchant medium first (unless you own Warden's Keep). Thankfully, Awakening increased the amount of expensive stuff to buy, and included a storage chest right in the Vigil's Keep throne room (your hub for the expansion). But of course, once they're gone....
    • Dragon Age II does avert this at the base level, since the vanilla game only allows the player to gather around 80 gold in Act 1 (50 of which has to go toward the Cash Gate to enter Act 2). But if all the expansion packs have been installed, there are a number of items which can be worn that increase the amount of money dropped by enemies. With the Black Emporium DLC, there's also a Rune of Fortune which can be added to any armor pieces to achieve the same effect. The Emporium sells only one such rune, but it also sells the schematic to craft more of it (which must be purchased in Act 1 or it's Permanently Missed), so as long as the crafting resources needed are uncovered, you can make as many Runes of Fortune as you're willing to pay for. Since adding multiple Runes of Fortune to armor will cause the effect to stack, it's very easy to acquire immense wealth.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition tries to avoid this by letting you convert money into Influence (essentially, Experience Points for the title organization at large, rather than for individual characters) and Inquisition Perks by purchasing deeds from a special merchant at Skyhold. This serves as a good money dump... until you hit the Inquisition level cap (20), after which all you can spend your money on are some rare unique items available from faraway merchants (not helped any that the best endgame items are produced by the Inquisition itself). Bioware later released the free Black Emporium DLC to all consoles to avert this even harder. It gives players not only powerful schematics, but unique items and every crafting material in the game for purchase.
  • Because your parents are constantly showering you with gifts, you should have enough money by the end of EarthBound to retire. You even get to buy a useless, run-down old building for a fortune (which is easy enough to obtain) with nothing but a story cameo inside! Also, the last store in the game provides you with some things actually worth purchasing, including normally difficult to obtain MP-restoring items. The limitation is more how much you can fit in your storage area (because the store is limited) than whether or not you can afford it all.
  • Too Human ends up being this way in the end, though it's more useful in the early and mid game. At the end game, money is generally only good for occasionally buying runes, repairing your gear, manufacturing the occasional item from blueprints, or very rarely buying elite items when they show up at the shops. Even these things can't keep up with the massive influx of money gained from downed enemies, broken containers, and salvaged gear. At level 50, players can make a million or more from a single run through of a level. Money has become so devalued that the online trading communities for the game operate much like Diablo II in that it's a fully barter-oriented economy and few people accept money.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2:
    • The game gives you a stronghold to fix up midway through the game, which acts as an effective Money Sink. Once the stronghold is finished, however, it is still likely to fall victim to this trope.
      The stronghold also was a *huge* moneysink, and gave you only marginal bonuses in the siege battle against it. If you couldn't defeat the waves of enemies on your own (without buffing up the stronghold), there was no way you were going to be able to handle the part right afterwards where the difficulty is dialed up to 11. Part of this was the self-defeating philosophy of allowing success to be possible for those who didn't choose to spend money into the stronghold, which eliminated the whole point for those who did choose to do so. Part of the problem is that huge length of time that spans between your acquisition of it and the actual siege battle of it. By that point in time, forcing players to go back and choose a different strategy would effectively be forcing them to replay the whole game.
    • More conventionally, you can buy magic items from shopkeepers. Unfortunately, bar a few items with unique abilities, none of them stack up to the items you can craft yourself.
  • Knights of the Old Republic avoids this quite neatly (especially in the PC vesion), with several unique items only available from certain shops, until you go off to destroy or capture the Star Forge, at which point there are no more shops but money pours in like rain anyway. However, the sequel suffers quite badly- anything that's worth having is either likely to drop, only available as a drop (sometimes unique, but not always; it's possible to get two of the legendary Circlet of Saresh...) or craftable. Also, if the player is male (or has a mod to get the handmaiden as a female) there is a rather well known infinite money loop.
  • All of the Ultima games have this to varying degrees.
    • The first trilogy follows the basic example of endgame wealth, where once you've fully equipped yourself with the best items the shops have to offer, the only thing left to spend money on is food.
    • In Ultima III: Exodus you could make quick starter cash by creating endless extra characters, selling their gear and then deleting them. This goes even further - you could give blood ingame, getting a set amount of gold for every 10hp, REALLY stretching those throw-away characters for all they're worth.
    • IV through VII are almost an inversion of the trope. The money's usually pretty tight throughout the game—especially if you have a spellcaster-heavy party—and unless you scour the land for things to equip or sell (or use other methods of duplicating money) that won't affect your Karma rating in the taking, you'll break even until the final dungeons where it doesn't matter any more.
      • Ultima VI has one exception, something of a cheat. If you provide a certain book to the Wisp, a 'high-density source of knowledge', it will reciprocate by scanning the book and filling all your party members' backpacks with gold. The Avatar can do this as often as they like, rendering money more or less completely meaningless for the rest of the game.
      • If, in Ultima VII, you wear a Fellowship Medallion within Buccaneer's Den, then the Rat Race game will pay out 6:1 odds for a winning bid. Because 4:1 odds would result in the Avatar breaking even, this means nothing less than free money — enough money, if it goes on long enough, that it actually breaks the engine. Good thing that in this game, the Avatar doesn't have to cleanse the shrines: Humility would probably explode.
      • Ultima VII Part II featured the False Coin spell, which supposedly creates short-lived illusory copies of money. Due to the game engine being what it was, the copied money was fully permanent. As soon as spellcasting became an option, you could flood the setting with magical counterfeit money. Also, even before that, the cremator in the first town offered a hefty hundred Monetari for every dead Knight you brought him... and the watchtower outside town provided an endless supply of nameless, respawning Knights, thus leading to a very un-Avatarish money plan.
    • VIII and especially IX fully embrace the trope from the get-go. There's precious little to spend your money on, as you can fully equip yourself with badass gear practically from the start once you know where it is (there's a stiff penalty for stealing in VIII that can be circumvented if you're sneaky enough, but the running joke for IX is that Kleptomania is the Ninth Virtue as you can grab literally anything not nailed down and even a few things that are). In the case of IX, you can only carry a maximum of 9999 gold. Anything you sell to a merchant that exceeds this total will be dumped at your feet as a pile of gold when the transaction ends.
    • Then there's Savage Empire, one of the Worlds of Ultima games, in which money is useless from the get-go. Almost everything you need, you can either steal (and nobody cares if you do), make yourself, or acquire by bartering easily-farmed items like yucca flax and parrot feathers. Plus, in certain parts of the world, you can find diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and gold, which are utterly pointless (well, except for the emeralds, which you can exchange for fruit at a "vending machine" in the underground Kotl city, but by that point you probably won't need the extra food anyway).
  • Fable
    • Fable uses an accurate barter system where shopkeepers will offer high prices for things in demand (i.e. they've run out of stock for) and low prices for things they have a surplus of. Sadly, since you can buy your entire stock of an item in a single transaction at one of the extremes, money can be quickly farmed by selling all your stock in a single item, then buying it all back at less than you sold it for. Plus, you get Skill XP into the bargain too!
    • Fable II allows you to invest the gold you make into property, granting you a small sum in rent for each property you earn every few minutes of gameplay. You can also get a portion of this sum, capped out at a not-insignificant amount, for time spent not playing the game. If you're scrupulous about investing, you can easily earn so much that there's nothing you can't afford. Items available for purchase cap at a fairly low level of power, so once you progress to the later stages of the game, money is almost worthless except to invest in more property.
  • Hogwarts Legacy features an inverted cash difficulty. At the start of the game multiple teachers' assignments require you to obtain materials for class, which are expensive when you don't have any form of income other than selling old or under-leveled gear. However, as you buy more spellcraft recipes to furnish your Room of Requirement and the necessary seeds you'll be able to produce everything that you could possibly need. By the end of the game, there's nothing you can buy that you can't obtain for free via the Room of Requirement or by random drops other than new Flying Broomsticks.
  • Money is fairly plentiful in the RPG Skies of Arcadia (which, given most of your party are pirates, makes a certain amount of sense), to the point that it's recommended you use healing potions in battle instead of healing magic. Most players, even buying the best weapons and armor along the way, will have enough money late in the game to spend hundreds of thousands of gold on their new pirate base without having to grind for it. At least once you've upgraded your base completely, the game does give you something worth spending all that money on: the stat-boosting seeds.
  • In Dragon Quest III, the party system worked by having you to go into a tavern in the first city and generate three characters of whichever class you wanted. If you wished to try adventuring with a different group, you could put your current group in "storage" and make a new one. The Soldier class always generates wearing leather armor that sells for 112 G and carrying a club that sells for 22 G. So, you could put your current group away, make three soldiers, sell their equipment for 134 G, store 'em, and make three more...over and over until you got sick of it.
    Unfortunately, there is a Game-Breaking Bug related that caused this to royally screw up your game — The game was not designed to have hundreds of characters added and deleted from the registry, doing so will cause them to start overwriting other important data in memory. Overuse will cause your characters to randomly gain/lose magic, your original party characters would be randomly deleted or corrupted, your characters would randomly change level, etc.
  • The Bard's Tale Trilogy let you get away with the above method to your heart's content. Roll up as many dummy characters as you want, add them to the party, transfer starting gold and delete. Lather, rinse, repeat. The 'starter' parties that each game came with even had a few magic items in their inventory which could be muled over to a custom party and, being a PC game, their data files copied and refreshed at any time.
  • Wizardry also let you create a bunch of junk characters and they will all start with 100 gold or so. Add them to your party, take the gold, remove them and delete. This was infinitely faster than going out to grind to get the gold for decent equipment at the start.
    • Gold is plentiful, but there's few places to spend it at and little you really need to buy. There are very few NPCs who sell stuff in the whole game.
    • Admittedly, late in the game you will run into characters who do sell very good equipment for prices that will finally challenge your bank accounts (which should contain several million GP by that point). Still, throughout most of the game gold isn't much use.
  • The Fallout series of games fall prey to this trope as well.
    • In Fallout, even a character with middling Barter skill could sell items to shopkeepers at higher prices than the shopkeepers' prices. With repeated buying and selling attempts, you could take literally everything any shopkeeper owned peacefully. It was a real Game-Breaker, and was nerfed by the first patch — traders no longer sell cheaper than they buy.
    • Other Fallout games jacked up the prices of shopkeepers, but it's still very possible to steal items from their shop or kill them and take everything. The only things you can attain exclusively through spending caps are the room themes for your residence in Fallout 3.
    • Another way to gain wealth in Fallout 1: roll up a character with high luck and a reasonable amount of skill in gambling. Hit a casino and play the slots. Hold down the keys for "place bet" and "play again" until you've accrued hundreds of thousands of caps.
    • But why even bother to do these things? Just grab everything you come across, sell it, and if the shopkeeper runs out of money, buy weightless items!
    • In Fallout 3, at higher levels, if you limit yourself to a handful of weapons, you could theoretically make thousands of caps off of ammo you get from killing raiders, super mutants, and Enclave soldiers.
    • Fallout: New Vegas continues this tradition. Selling items that you don't need to traders (along with having a high Barter skill) is still a great way of earning caps. The Jury Rigging perk is also useful in this regard, as it allows you to repair weapons and armor that are in the same "class"; therefore, you could repair an expensive piece of equipment (a Super Sledge) with something cheap (a baseball bat), and sell it for a massive profit. The Gun Runners Arsenal DLC subverts this trope by adding a large number of unique weapons that can only be bought from merchants (previously, unique weapons were found while exploring. The lone exception to this rule could be stolen by picking a locked door while the shopkeeper was away). Many of these weapons are truly unique, rather than boosted versions of normal weapons (for example, Sleepytime is the only 10mm submachine gun that will accept a silencer, Two-Step Goodbye is a Ballistic Fist with a rocket launcher instead of a shotgun on it, and the Bozar is the only Light Machine Gun with magnifying optics), and all of them are expensive, typically costing upwards of 20,000 caps (for comparison, that's five times what the implants that give you a permanent stat increase cost). Of course, if you managed to steal the entire supply of gold bricks from Dead Money through an exploit, you can more than pay for the entire set without spending a single actual cap.
    • In Fallout 4, you'll typically get fewer caps than in previous games, but merchants are perpetually running out of useful things to buy with them. You'll end up getting most of your supplies from scavenging and settlements, continuously accumulating wealth faster than you can spend.
  • In the old PC game World of Aden: Thunderscape, there are only 2 shops in the game. Despite this a character with over 100 merchant skill can buy low and sell high to clean out both shops.
  • In the Pokémon games, your money won't become useless (since the most useful items in the game are either only found in limited numbers during gameplay or are bought in shops for a nice sum of money or in casino for coins you can get with money), but since you earn money every time you defeat a trainer, and you defeat a lot of trainers during the course of the game, you'll end up hitting the maximum of 999,999P after you've been training your Pokémon for a while and are unlikely to ever buy enough items to run out of money. In Pokémon Platinum, you are given a villa once you reach a certain location whose only purpose is letting you waste money buying crazily expensive furniture for it (which does not do anything useful) and once you earn entrance to the Ribbon Society you can buy some extremely expensive ribbons (one of which cost as much money as you can possibly have) for the Bragging Rights Reward.
    • Averted if you EV train, though. You'll end up spending all your money on Vitamins VERY frequently.
    • X and Y give you clothes shops so you can spend money by the thousands, and offers you to burn money by the hundreds of thousands in exchange for battles in the Battle Maison and the Lumiose restaurants. Of course, you can make up all the money you spent and then a few thousands more by winning all the battles in those areas, so...
  • Lunar: Silver Star Story has a weird version of this. The enemies in the final dungeon drop truly huge amounts of money, and it's not uncommon to end the area with over 200,000 silver. The problem is not that you don't have a use for the money (though you do get free healing items at that point), but that you can't leave the dungeon to spend any of it.
    • Lunar: Dragon Song shows that inverting this trope isn't necessarily a good thing, with the only way to earn money being to sell items (which you have to grind for) or performing sidequests (frequently of the 20 Bear Asses variety, which means more grinding for items.) Unless you really enjoy grinding (made especially annoying by the fact that you have to specifically grind for items and nothing else, not even XP,) you probably won't have the patience to amass even a comfortable sum.
  • FPS/RPG Borderlands gets there by the end of the New Game Plus. You'll have much more money than the $10 million "maximum" displayed, but even the most expensive gun won't cost more than $4-5 million. And most of the really good stuff comes from random drops anyway.
    • The PC Version has achievements for accumulating money. The highest achievement is actually called: "How much for the planet?"
    • The Armory of General Knoxx Expansion Pack exaggerates this along with its advertised level cap increase. There will be actual items for sale with a price higher than the display cap. You will buy them, just to see if you can. And chances are, you'll still have more money than the game can show.
    • One thing to use up all that money is to deliberately get killed just to see how much the New-U station charges to rebuild your build. Try jumping across sections of map, or daredevil feats in one of the vehicles for more fun.
  • In Mitsumete Knight, there's an Assets level system. There's several levels of wealth, from Commoner-like to Swimming In Dough-type, and you can increase your Assets level by doing part-time jobs. But aside from the type of present you can buy for the girls' birthday (except for a few girls, the more expensive it is, the more they'll be pleased by it), getting two specific Titles, and three or so minor events ( Johan's attempt at bribing the juges if you agree with his ways in Sophia's Theater Contest Event, being able to play Blackjack at the Bar or not, and repay the Fortune Teller if you break her Crystal Ball, this system won't affect the game and thus can easily be ignored.
  • At low levels in Mafia Wars, cash is incredibly valuable because you need it to buy items used for jobs, and the jobs themselves don't pay out enough to get everything you need. However, once you start buying businesses and receiving regular income from them, you can enter a cycle of exponential cash growth that rapidly outpaces any demands the game makes on you. It's not uncommon to have billions in the bank by mid levels, and there's absolutely nothing to spend it on.
  • Farmville, another Zynga Facebook game, has this issue as well. At early levels, you need every coin you can scrape together to upgrade your farm and plant crops. At a certain point, though, your farm economy is booming, you start running out of functional things to buy from the Market, and the most useful items can only be bought with Farm Cash anyway. Of course, because purchased items grant Experience Points, you can always spend every million coins you get on a new Villa for an instant level-up.
    • There is a level cap however (70), and after about level 35 XP stops to make much difference. Also, with the biggest farm on full production you'll be raking in the XP by the hundreds (highest level is 330.000 XP).
  • Having enough money to buy stuff effectively becomes moot in Chrono Trigger after the Ocean Palace since the only armor upgrades available after that are found in chests or subquests, and money doesn't carry over in the New Game Plus.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, you're rewarded for successfully completing missions and skirmishes in two ways: experience, and ducats (money). Experience is spent to level up your troops and learn new orders, while ducats are spent to research new weapon upgrades and unlock new content. The thing is, most missions and skirmishes award more ducats than experience, and while you'll always have something to spend experience on (since you can always level your troops, and it takes a lot of XP to get them up to max level), there are only a finite number of upgrades and unlockables to purchase at any given moment. Thus, you're likely to find yourself up to your eyeballs in unspendable ducats by the mid-game, particularly if you play a lot of skirmishes for Level Grinding. There is a character that you can't recruit until you have a suitably absurd amount of money to impress him with, but that only requires you to have it, so you still don't have anything to spend it on.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, you'll usually end up with more money than you really need, especially if you only use weapons and armor geared towards Might, Finesse, or Sorcery (which means selling a lot of equipment you don't use), and if you invest in the Detect Hidden skill early on (which increases the amount of gold found).
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, if your character does not rely heavily on firearms, you will almost certainly end up with much more money than you can reasonably hope to spend. If your character does rely heavily on firearms, then you will constantly be spending money on ammunition, and this will act as a huge Money Sink.
  • Suikoden Tierkreis has a trading system that allows you to, in defiance of RPG convention, make money carrying items between towns. However, since there's no time limit and travel requires very little effort, this means you have an endless fountain of money as soon as you have two places you can move between freely.
  • Professor Layton's London Life, the sprite-inhabited RPG packaged with some versions of Professor Layton and the Last Specter, falls into this trope after a while. Early in the game, you need to earn money, both because holding a job is a necessary step in the plot and because some of the objects required by fetch quests have to be purchased from merchants. Eventually, though, you'll pile up the cash by the thousands, and unless you feel like saving up for the Golden Gloves (which cost just shy of a million gold coins), you'll run out of things to buy with it.
  • The PC game Secrets of da Vinci: The Forbidden Manuscript has what can be regarded as a literal example of Money For Nothing. During your exploration of da Vinci's bedroom in the manor, you can find the tools and raw gold needed to mint gold coins, and you can go to the smithy any time you want to perform the steps to make them. However, you can only spend gold coins by purchasing items from the caretaker, Saturnin, and the game starts you off with enough coins to purchase the only required items - and you have the opportunity to steal those items later when he's not around!
  • A lot of Shin Megami Tensei games eventually fall into this, with some minor variation. Persona 3 and Persona 4 generally limit or slow down grinding for money and loot, and have the Persona Compendium as a huge money sink (among others). Persona 3 Portable brings it back into line again as party members no longer get tired and leave the party, meaning you can spend hours in Tartarus any night combing the place for money and loot since every floor has at least 2 treasure chests with random items or cash, which reloads every time you visit the floor. It also helps that selling price in this version is buffed to half the buying price instead of a quarter as in the PlayStation 2 versions.
  • Tales of Phantasia also suffers for, especially later in the game when you're getting like five digits cash drops from battles and adquiring enough money to buy everything you might need and then some. The game does provide a (secret) way to expend all your excess fortune: there's a slim chance for a ghost to appear at the cathedral in Freezekiel that will exchange your money for EXP. Useful, if you don't want to bother with the grind.
  • Tales of Symphonia makes an effort to avert this for much of the game, making equipment prohibitively expensive and encouraging Item Crafting to get the equipment you can't afford. You'll eventually reach a point, though, where you'll start amassing a small fortune without even trying, while money becomes less and less of an issue (and of course, the best equipment has to be found instead of bought.) There is one endgame sidequest where you can spend millions of gald to restore a destroyed town, but it's completely optional, the amounts you need to spend to make each upgrade are fixed, and completing the sidequest earns you nothing but praise from the NPCs in town and a Relationship Upgrade for the main character and one of his friends in later versions. The PS2 and PS3 versions of the game made the casino usable for the player providing another Money Sink for players: Converting their small fortune into casino chips for use in games or exchanging them for prizes including a Devil Arm (now moved to said casino) and Raine's bunny suit.
  • Tales of Xillia 2 attempts to avert this by implementing a debt system where Ludger must pay a certain amount of debt to move on in the plot, and the debt payment screen will automatically popup if the player amasses more money than the current debt paywall. Eventually said debt paywall is nullified (just the debt restriction though, not the actual debt itself) and even then the player will start hitting the hundred-thousand mark in their finances. Once the player hits the postgame and starts killing the newly unlocked EX Elite monsters (which can be easy considering how easy it is to break the game,) they'll easily hit around three quarters of or even a full million. Hilariously, part of the game's plot is that Ludger's debt is to the tune of twenty million gald which makes for quite a ball and chain at the start but by the mid point you'll be clearing a nice chunk of it and by the endgame you'll have likely wiped it out completely. Other than casino chips, supplies and customizing and unsealing weapons, you'll soon be sitting on a fairly useless fortune.
  • Throughout the first half of Xenoblade Chronicles 1, you'll end up with a ton of money on hand just from doing the game's Loads and Loads of Sidequests, with nothing to spend that money on. Subverted in that you'll end up using all that money to buy Anti-Mechon weapons once you reach Mechonis.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has, essentially, four different currencies, none of which you're likely to find yourself short of:
    • G is your main currency. As there are no healing items in the game (as the party automatically heals off damage outside of battle), the main use of G is buying accessories, which is unfortunately pointless, as between all of the containers of the containers, supply drops, quest rewards, enemy drops, and collectopedia rewards, you'll end up with an unmanageable amount of the things even without buying any. You can also buy a small selection of resources and party-wide buffs, and a certain Nopon can summon rain for a fee if you need it for a sidequest and don't want to wait for it to occur naturally, but none of this costs much. The only significant expenditure is likely to be a late-game quest that asks for 500,000 G, which you'll likely have more than twice over by then.
    • Ether cylinders are used to reboot Ferronis hulks (a rare, one-time expenditure), and to craft gems, (which are gated much more by their costs in materials). In the DLC, a new variant called High Ether is introduced as the resource used for upgrading Ino's arts and skills. Of course, once these are maxed out, then High Ether has no further use than to be sold for G...
    • Nopon coins (gold and silver) act like a premium currency, except you mainly get them by opening containers and as drops from unique monsters. You can get some solid (but non-exclusive) accessories with them, but otherwise they're used for raising class ranks and skipping cooking costs. This is useful if you're trying to raise the rank for a class with low compatibility or just want to quickly rank out a class, especially if you're receiving lower amounts of CP per battle because of the party's high level difference against enemies. As for cooking, the coins can help if you don't have the materials at hand and it only costs one coin per meal. Which, naturally, leaves the problem of what to spend the coins on when you've ranked out or don't need meals. However, they can also be used for skipping gem costs, which is an aversion — you don't do this often because the costs can quickly become exorbitant. (An X-ranked gem – the highest level available – costs 99 gold Nopon coins to create and you can only carry 99 of these maximum. On the other hand, given the difficulty of procuring enough materials or even finding them in the first place for later gems, the costs are almost always worth it. What else will you spend them on anyway?)
  • In Nocturne: Rebirth, shops only sell basic equipment or consumables, with the former becoming synthesis material at best. Everything else that is actually useful is a Rare Random Drop only, meaning players will most likely be sitting on huge piles of money while trying to get more useful items in the field.
  • Max: An Autistic Journey: There's no place to spend the money, so apart from getting an achievement for 200,000 coins (which you can achieve quite easily without much grinding), there's no reason to earn money. The DLC has an item shop at the fast food place, but since this is after the last battle, you can't use what you buy.
  • Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen once you reach the Tower of Darm, where you can easily earn so much money that you hit the money cap and have absolutely nowhere to spend it.

    Simulation Games 
  • Tiny Tower has the problem of requiring both coins and "bux". Bux is rarely earned and is used for most everything in the game, coins are gained from your businesses and are really only used for expanding the tower. Chances are the coins you earn turn into this trope.
  • Rune Factory
    • In the original game mining in the caves can earn you millions of gold within a few days, where the only things to spend money on are 1,000-gold minor upgrades to your house, a major upgrade costing 200,000 gold, and seeds that generally cost a few hundred. And cooking ingredients, also costing a few hundred gold each. This was probably some kind of mistake, as Rune Factory 2 avoids it.
    • In Rune Factory 2 you can do this as well through farming. In the first generation, take 2 monsters to water crops, 2 to harvest crops. Build the monsters to max friendship. In the second generation, clear the field and plant regrowing crops (plus grass to feed said monsters). Watch the money roll in with no effort (except occasionally chopping the grass and changing crops for the seasons). By mid-Summer, having over 200,000 gold is pretty normal.
    • Also, Item Crafting and high quality milk or fleece is a good way to make money. Maximum friendliness Buffamoos and Woolies, especially in Rune Factory 3 give high quality produce which sells for a lot of cash (and is produced daily in the latter game).
  • Tylium in Battlestar Galactica Online. Very little good stuff is actually bought with it, instead bought with cubits. And with the exception of water, everything is sold for Tylium. It's not unheard of that someone has bought all Tylium ships in game, bulk (as in 100,000 or more) ammo, and mines with ammo regularly, and still has a massive stockpile of Tylium. This multiplies heavily when you are high level and are with a squad.
  • The X-Universe series actually manages to avoid this until the late game, at which point your trade empire typically makes money way faster than you can possibly spend, and you can manufacture almost every item and ship you need for further expansion in-house anyway (the only things you can't actually build is stations and ship upgrades).
  • My Little Pony by Gameloft. Once you get your economy rolling, your shops can make Bits by the tens of thousands daily, and you can get 20–50 hearts a day should you have enough friends, but you can get at most 2–5 gems per day. After you get to a certain point, there is literally nothing to spend bits on except decorations or miniscule bonuses in one of the minigames. Nothing to spend hearts on except a gambling minigame that has a small chance of giving you gems, and everything costs gems.
  • Can sometimes become an issue in The Sims Medieval. If you have an easy way of gaining money, for example, you're high-level, can sell valuable crafts, or are a Spy, but the kingdom itself isn't particularly advanced, you'll end up with more simoles than you can easily spend in Live mode (e.g. gear and food). The items you buy in Buy mode are, for the most part, prettier versions of things you already have and other decorative items that aren't really necessary for completing game goals.
  • This eventually becomes a problem in the various Mercenaries titles for MechWarrior. You almost always start with very limited funds and resources, but unless you're a complete clownshoe of a pilot who gets shot to pieces on a regular basis, most players will have more C-bills than they know what to do with by the end of the third set of missions. Even the most expensive buys (large and/or highly advanced 'Mechs, naturally) are limited by the simple amount of space available to you, so you can't actually spend all those eventual hundreds of millions you'll end up earning. It's possible to spend a fair amount of money buying equipment, but because of balance issues from game to game, nearly half of the gear available for purchase in any given game ends up being of limited tactical value.
  • Max: An Autistic Journey gives out money for defeating enemies, but doesn't have anything to spend it on. The only reason it xists, apart from being an RPG staple, is for an achievement that involves getting $200,000.
  • Universal Paperclips: It's possible to amass massive amounts of money at the end of the first phase by selling lots of paperclips and putting your cash into the Stock Market. The next phase is started by the Paperclip Maximizer AI you play as releasing a swarm of hypnodrones to brainwash the entire population of Earth, meaning that money is now meaningless and it can use all of Earth's resources to make more paperclips without having to buy them.
  • Making money in Hardwar actually isn't that difficult to do in the game as there are many ways to get rich while piloting a moth. Bounty hunting for pirates is usually the most common profession to play as a player character but the enemy-to-profit ratio is of limited lucrativity as outlaw pilots have to kill innocent pilots to have prices put on their heads and bounties have a hard limit ranging from 500 to 2000 credits (2000 credits is four innocent pilot kills, and it is capped at that limit even after an outlaw pilot kills more than four innocent pilots). Outlaw pilots also will have additional bounties on their heads if they kill pilots flying moths belonging to a particular faction other than regular pilots, with the same hard limits as that as killing independent pilots, but this is a relatively uncommon occurrence. Pilots generally earn money much faster when trading in goods, scavenging loot from the crater, or pirating innocent pilots for their cargo; all of these professions can be done provided that they have a cargo pod and a drone fitted into their moth. These professions are considered a lot more dangerous than bounty hunting as there are the risks of being preyed upon by pirates or being on the wanted list by the Police or a certain faction such as Lazarus, Klamp-G, and so forth. The ultimate way to get rich in the game is to buy your own hangar, purchase manufacturing kits and install them in your hangar, and produce goods to the public (the feature to manufacture your own goods is made available in later versions of the game). If done appropriately, you can accrue so much money in the game that you will never feel penniless in the city of Misplaced Optimism and at that point, there's nothing that you can't afford to get as long as you have that much money in your account. And despite the presence of two Loan Shark companies who exist in the game to provide quick but time-dependent money for inexperienced players who seemingly have trouble to get around their ways of life in the crater, even these companies are considered a trivial novelty due to the not-so-difficult ways of getting rich in the game as they aren't even worth the trouble going to their respective buildings just to borrow money from. Even if you fail to pay back the loan after two days have passed after the deadline, you still won't have that much trouble dealing with the debt collector who comes after you in a menacing but slow Death's Head moth thanks to the game's simplistic AI.
  • Fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links have developed a strong loathing of gold for exactly this reason. While gems, the other main currency, are used to buy actual packs of cards, the only use gold has is making exchanges with the Card Trader. These exchanges also require a separate resource in the form of stones, and the Card Trader usually has only a few cards up for offer at a time, with no guarantee that they'll be even remotely useful to you. Despite this, the game loves throwing gold at you, providing it both as a very common reward and as the main thing you get back when converting cards you don't need. It can be rather painful to see five thousand gold be given an equivalent treatment to fifty gems, when one will usually be spent almost instantly while the other can gather dust for weeks until the Card Trader finally rolls something desirable. Many players have a gold supply in the millions.

    Sports Games 
  • FC Undisputed 2010 has a lot of collectables in the shop, but once you unlock Title Defence mode, you can get a lot of credits for the shop, and you'll have cleaned it out in no time.
  • Hot Shots Golf has a pro shop with about a couple thousand dollars worth of merchandise. Once you've bought it all, there's nothing else to spend your money on. Seriously, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, not even a token Money Sink or periodic charge. Even better, you don't even need to buy some of those items because you get them as tournament prizes.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed II toys with this in a weird way:
      • When the game begins, Ezio is Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense, regularly emptying his wallet on booze and whores. (He'd never call that a waste!) Of course, you jumped into his life less than a day before it went to hell; the local magistrate frames and executes his family, for which he ends up as Ezio's first assassination. After that, he can't go home again, eventually settling in a broken-down slum. Here's the weird part; keep up that behavior, and you'll spend the rest of the game — and the next two decades of his life — in Perpetual Poverty, without enough cash to keep up his stocks of ammo and medicine, let alone the increasingly expensive weapon upgrades. Invest in turning that slum into something respectable, and you'll soon have cash coming out of your ears, enabling him to keep all his stocks at max and purchase new weapons the instant they become available. Even worse is that if you spend all of your villa income on upgrading the villa (and there aren't that many upgrades), you'll just earn money at an almost exponential rate. Compared to the pitiful loot you get off of treasure chests (which do add up over time) and pickpocketing, proper villa management can make any player stinking rich before even the halfway point of the game, without even bothering with the many side missions.
      • In the early part of the game (up to the final confrontation with Vieri), Ezio is constantly under the gun, and he's far too preoccupied with survival to worry about niceties like getting out of grinding poverty. Once the villa starts earning income, however, everything completely opens up, and anyone who's any good at all at the game will see money flowing in like water. There's 8,000 florins' worth of statuettes right in the villa, literally hundreds of treasure chests and treasure gondolas scattered everywhere, assassination contracts, races, beat-up events, message delivery, numerous side missions, and of course looting bodies and completing objectives, all of which bring in cash. Heck, the only time you ever need to pickpocket are the three times in the game it's required.
      • On top of that, there really aren't that many big-ticket items outside of renovations. Once you have all the weapons, armor, paintings, and capacity upgrades, the only things to spend money on are ammunition, medicine, and poison refills and hired help, which are dirt-cheap. One villa payout can take care of all your refill needs for the rest of the game.
    • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, only collectibles don't add to your income, and the value of renovations isn't quite as large. This merely delays the point at which you have over a hundred thousand florins to burn, with more in the bank, and nothing useful to spend it on.
    • Both Assassin's Creed: Revelations and Brotherhood are a particularly strong example of this when it comes to essential items and equipment (medicine, throwing knives, bullets etc...). You can play through either of these games without having to ever visit a doctor thanks to the fact that the city guards are loaded with refills, only requiring you to loot a few corpses to max out your inventory. About the only equipment you need to restock on are parachutes, about only thing city guards don't seem to be carrying.
    • Assassin's Creed III:
      • The game tries to rectify this by forcing you to go through side quests in order to "upgrade" the Homestead. Also, the various businesses and craftsmen won't just give you money. However, after you pay them to craft something (as long as resources are available), you can sell the stuff in Boston or New York for a tidy sum. Rinse and repeat. Sure, trade caravans (both land and sea) can be attacked, but you can ensure their safety. Also, the best weapons are not bought but crafted (except for Captain Kidd's sword, which is only available in a DLC), and only after you find their blueprints in chests.
      • The biggest moneymakers by far are pelts and hides, which all animals have, require NO expenditure or crafting, and are worth astounding sums of cash. Most animals also have things like fangs or antlers which can bring in even more money.
      • The biggest money sink is ship upgrades, and completing naval battles is how you unlock more valuable trading routes. This means that by the time you unlock the most profitable route, there are no more naval missions so further upgrades are worthless.
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag manages to solve this problem for most of the game. This time around, your ship is a core element of the game, and it costs a good amount of both cash and resources to upgrade. However, once you have turned it into an unstoppable machine of nautical robbery, you only have a handful of man-o-wars hiding in corners of the map to cut your teeth on, and the bank they carry doesn't have much practical use. (There are island upgrades, of course, but they are more for the looks and unlocking a few collectibles rather than tuning your main ride.)
    • And then Assassin's Creed Rogue kicks it up to another level. Not only is it possible to increase your income to a GIGANTIC amount (almost thirty thousand pounds), there's a lot less to spend it on. Renovations, which consume materials, don't cost a cent, ship upgrades eat up far more materials than cash, and every crafting item can be had for free via hunting (although you'll probably end up buying a lot of pelts simply because it's a lot easier that way). There's a very good chance you'll be well into seven figures long before you're anywhere near done with the game.
    • Assassin's Creed: Unity is an unusual variant. Not only are there lots of very expensive items, even basic consumables like phantom blades can set you back quite a bit, and the only good way of generating income is the Cafe Theater. Looting bodies helps, as always, but it will never make you rich, nearly all the chests that don't contain trifling amounts are locked and you have to expend a lot of skill points (and get pretty far in the game) to lockpick them, assignments pay far from spectacular amounts and there are only a limited number of them, and sidequests pay meager amounts and are very time-consuming. The good news is that the Cafe Theater brings in SO much cash that it can easily take care of everything you will ever need to buy. The bad news is that those premium items are... virtually no improvement over the less expensive equipment. A clothing item that costs 16,500 livres offers barely more protection, noise reduction, or health than one that costs 4,500 or even 1,000; unless you're paying extremely close attention, you won't notice the difference at all. And there is NOTHING that will offer any real protection against the number one killer in the game, enemy gunfire. This isn't a case of having nothing left to buy so much as having nothing left to buy that's worth the price.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Splatoon:
    • In the first game, Cash is used to buy weapons and equipment, as well as add and/or reroll the ability slots for said equipment. Despite all this, even if one buys all of the available weapons and equipment in the game, and work to optimize a build for all these weapons, those who play regularly will probably still have a lot of money left over.
    • 'Splatoon 2''':
      • This especially became the case now that the game reworked how your Friend in the Black Market operates. In the first game, in addition to cash, they accept Super Sea Snails as payment. While these could only be gotten via Splatfests in the first game (making them a limited commodity), from the second game onward, you are now given one as a reward every time you level up past Level 30, allowing you to stockpile mountains of cash. As a trade-off, adding and rerolling slots can now only be paid for with snails, but the game also gives you multiple ways to get food tickets: new items that can be exchanged for food which not only allows you to increase your rate of experience gain (so you can get snails much quicker), but also increase your monetary payout after winning a game.
      • Subverted. Depending on player skill, it's possible to rack up more CQ Points than you know what to do with, but after beating the DLC, you can spend extra CQ Points on a vending machine that will give you various items that are of high value in the main game, including Drink Tickets, Meal Tickets, a random assortment of Ability Chunks, Credits, or more CQ Points.
    • Splatoon 3 would continue the trend. Weapons are now no longer purchasable with cash either, with Sheldon only accepting "Sheldon Licenses", which you obtain from regularly using and experimenting with weapons in the multiplayer modes. This would leave clothing as the only thing you purchase with cash now if it wasn't for the addition of a new store that sells miscellaneous items you can use to decorate your "splat tag" and locker, with new ones added periodically and you being able to buy multiples of them. In addition, the new Star Power system for clothing means maxing out your gear is more expensive than ever before. Despite this, food tickets still exist and are in good supply, meaning even if you can't stockpile cash hand over fist as easily as in prior games, you'll generally have some to spare with only minimal grinding.

    Time Management Games 
  • The only thing money is good for in Papa's Pizzeria is raising your character's level, which adds another customer to your limited clientele. In two of its sequels, Papa's Burgeria and Papa's Taco Mia, they have a few things to buy in the shop but once they're gone, you can easily find yourself amassing several thousand utterly useless dollars. Later games have a much wider variety of merchandise, from equipment upgrades to restaurant decor to clothing and accessories for prettying up your character.

    Turn-Based Strategies 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance uses a similar variant to Final Fantasy X.
    • There are only two reasons why anyone would find themselves wanting for Gil in this game: going for the Disc-One Nukenote , feeding captured monstersnote , and (rarely) getting an item to teach a skill quickly.
    • Meanwhile, in the parent series (Final Fantasy Tactics), enough Level Grinding will give you more money than the entire GDP of Ivalice as early as Chapter One (if you're THAT obsessed about levelling up). Otherwise, you're on a very tight budget until about Chapter Three or so.
    • Gil in A2 likewise loses most of its use about midway into the game, because using disposable items for anyone but an Alchemist means halving your available skills and with equipment you'll earn enough money long before you get the right loot to buy them with (especially since the best items require loot for every one of the item you get instead of just the first).
  • Fire Emblem treads closer into Money For Nothing territory the easier each game generally is (higher difficulty settings notwithstanding). In the more difficult entries, they gradually let you acquire plenty of Gold to get you through to the end of the game, but not nearly enough to give you limitless resources, forcing you to prioritize what equipment to buy when. When this is not the case, however...
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem both enjoy throwing massive stockpiles of gold at you. Over the course of the first five chapters of the War of Shadows, you're simply handed 45,000 gold, and that's not counting useful-but-sellable items. The earlier incarnations of the arena (which provides potentially infinite gold as long as you can bet well on fights) are also incredibly easy to win at, and provide a pretty ludicrous payout. In the original game, this was largely to compensate for a rather clunky inventory system that meant you were usually best off simply buying new weapons when you wanted to change them out, rather than trading or retrieving from the convoy. The remakes avert this by way of having a much riskier arena, as well as two significant money sinks—the highly powerful forged weapons, which can be used to annihilate certain enemy types, and the statboosting items in the Secret Shop, which can max out even the worst characters.
    • Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 has its signature feature to capture enemies and take their stuff, which, if done properly, yields much better rewards than any shop can provide. This is before getting into the many special or unique weapons, all of which outclass the buyable weapons by wide margins and have an abnormally high number of uses. Even statboosters, traditionally a big Money Sink in the franchise, are mostly not that helpful outside of the early game due to Crusader Scrolls making it easy to max out characters naturally. This is somewhat compensated for by the game being one of the stingiest ones in the series when it comes to money, but that just encourages you even more to never bother with buying anything.
    • While its predecessor, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, generally averts this due to having a lot of good and expensive stuff on sale, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade plays this pretty straight. This is mostly due to it falling into the "what are you even going to spend that money on?" problem. The most commonly-used weapons in the game are handaxes and javelins, which can be bought fairly cheaply in bulk. Killer and Reaver weapons are more costly and fairly useful, but since they're mostly used against bosses, you'd rarely consider buying more than two or three at a time, and most of the other expensive buyable weapons are bad. You also don't get the ability to buy promotion items until long after you'd want to promote anybody. The game doesn't exactly shower you with money, but you rarely need to spend it, creating this.
    • The Sacred Stones is not as stingy with gold as the other GBA games, though you can't quite exploit the random skirmish battles for money at first either, since random gold drops start out giving the equivalent of pocket change. Upon beating the game and beginning the post-game, this changes and you have as much money as you want to grind for.
    • Path of Radiance: The first 2/3rds of the game leave you increasingly less wanting for money until it's almost a non-issue, and then post-Chapter 19, your army uncovers a shed of enemy supplies with 120,000 gold just lying around! 50k of that is spent in-story to faciliate a Wham Episode, but the remaining 70k is all yours to blow. After that, you're loaded for the rest of the game. The justification for this is to give you plenty of gold to spend on the new weapon-forging system, which is not necessary to complete the game, so you're welcome to ignore it and spend the balance of the game swimming in that money.
    • Awakening plays it straightest on Normal mode, where those random skirmishes drop gold in increments of 1000-2000 per drop, and the item that can spawn skirmishes at will only costs a mere 500. Said item is jacked up to 4800 gold on Hard and Lunatic modes so you can't turn a profit as easily. Regardless, the game is almost as cash-happy as the above two entries, and if that's still not enough for you, there's the relatively easy DLC map that contains mountains of gold and can be played again and again to rake it in by the tens of thousands. Resources in this game are bottomless.
    • Fates plays it straight, due to the long-standing tradition of Breakable Weapons being dropped. The only things you'll need gold for are healing items, forging, and class change seals. Given that all three of these are capped by progress in various ways, you'll quickly be swimming in unnecessary gold... in Birthright and Revelation, anyway. Conquest keeps you on a much tighter resource leash and unless you're willing to play a certain DLC map you'll have to watch your budget from beginning to end.
  • Like every other trope they touch, Nippon Ichi takes this trope and runs with it. In the Disgaea series of games, for example, the money limit is listed in the quintillions, and the battles in the post storyline content just give up counting the money you earn, replacing the numbers with "Super!" — and that's before you add in any bonuses to money you get from your gear. After beating the game this money is absolutely worthless, as your gear is not going to come from the store, but rather by stealing it from random NPCs in the random dungeons.
    • This can happen even before the end of the game due to the item levelup system — a rank 20 level 1 sword might have 1000 attack, a Rank 25 level 1 sword might have 1200, but a rank 20 level 10 or level 20 sword is going to have 2000 or more. Your ultimate weapons are going to be level 200 rank 40 items, which can only be gotten inside the random dungeons inside of legendary rank 39 weapons, which can only be gotten by stealing them from characters inside of rank 30+ weapons. Confused yet?
    • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters has you spending money on (generally found for free) room items and summoning units. Making your main unit contain all of the hero characters greatly reduces the need for both, which when combined with a little room leveling can quickly make your money counter stuck at "too much" about halfway through your first playthrough.
    • It seems NIS realized how silly the levels of money were — in the PSP remakes of Both 1 and 2 you can buy music for quite a hefty price to play in the Item World instead of the default one. The actual songs cost between 100K to one billion HL each. Later games added actual practical usage for HL, such as for passing a rejected bill or recruiting new characters with a higher starting level.
  • Phantom Brave: Bounties for beating levels are paid out according to enemy level, so exploiting 3-2, which has two scrabbits with a constant "Level-Up" effect attached even once will give Marona more money than she could ever use.
  • Total War
    • A rather unfortunate case occurs in the Rome iteration of the series, of all games. After the first fifty turns or so, money tends to be no longer any problem. Viewing the graphs of civilisation-wealth over time shows player wealth as a straight line up, while all AI lines were almost horizontal on that scale. Combine this with the low cost of bribing enemy armies out of the way, and combat can become not just unneccesary, but actually more expensive. Even worse, when playing as one of the Roman fractions, bribing other Roman armies seems to add them to your army instead of merely disbanding them. Medieval II: Total War fixed this (perhaps a bit too well).
    • Empire: Total War had a similar problem after you had conquered most of the world, allowing you to field massive armies filled with high-end units. However after a patch it adjusted the upkeep of all the units meaning Empires that once had more money than they could burn suddenly became bankrupt over night.
    • Total War: Shogun 2 and its expansions both break and continue the tradition, depending on the player. A poorly managed economy means that the player will rarely have enough cash to invest in their provinces or field powerful armies. A well managed one tends to snowball, to the point that the entire armies consist of elite units without so much as denting your income.
    • Total War: Warhammer mostly manages to avert this, since what provinces each empire can occupy are limited, meaning that even a snowball effect will only go so far and constant raids will be needed to supplement your cities. There is one complete and total aversion though: the Chaos faction has no bases and limited ability to generate income, and fielding a competitive army will usually mean being in the red. They must constantly Rape, Pillage, and Burn just to keep their Favor up. Which is perfectly in line with the lore.
  • In the American Civil War strategy game No Greater Glory, the Union would often run into this, as even after paying for all the troops you can raise, purchasing all the military supplies available, spending as much on infrastructure as possible, buying as many ships of every type available, you would still have spent less than you had raised in taxes and borrowing, especially since you could not stop borrowing, or even reduce interest rates below five percent. As a result, as the game progressed, the Union player would often find himself with an enormous treasury, but nothing to spend it on. The Confederacy, however, would never have enough money, barring possibly European aid.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • The extremely classic X-COM strategy game is weird, as is its photocopied sequel. The eponymous anti-alien group receives nowhere near enough funding, but once it succeeds in some missions it's suddenly the sole purveyor of alien technology, both surplus items and straightforward Shop Fodder. A reasonable starting investment can literally give money for free by manufacturing ultra-tech items for profit in bulk. Despite an economy that is either meager or wrecked, the game is still considered a good one for several reasons:
    • It averts an Obvious Rule Patch where the situation begs for one. "So, I have the only company in the planet to build anti-gravity vehicles and I can't produce them for profit 'just because?'"
    • The game is a genre hybrid. The meat is in squad-level combat surrounded by strategic resource management, and the combat likes to kick you in the teeth to the extent that all soldiers are fragile and a force that wishes to survive fields fairly high-level gear in the first place.
    • The strongest equipment requires the Applied Phlebotinum Elerium, which can only be taken from the aliens' hands and is not subject to breakage.
    • The funding nations expect value for their money and for allowing an independent military organization to run around in their territory with fusion warheads. They can't be ignored no matter how big cash surplus is.
    • Selling alien corpses are also a good way to raise funds.
    • The unliked Interceptor actually turned this habit on you, by having pirates which started operating with alien tech bought off the black market, clearly indicating it was the tech you sold.
  • Jagged Alliance 2's v1.13 mod can cause this if you select the "enemies drop all items on death" option; doing away with the (admittedly annoying and illogical) mechanic by which most of the equipment dropped by enemy soldiers would inexplicably vanish into thin air on death meant that you would rarely if ever need the services of Bobby Ray's after the third town or so. Your militia now need paying wages, but the income from the gold and silver mines far exceeds your likely expenses. But if you activate some of the more realistic options in the mod, suddenly you might find yourself in a logistical conundrum, reliant on a constant stream of bandages, spare ammo, web gear, night vision goggles, and new rifles to gain any possible advantage over the crushing might of Deidrianna. When all your mercs need hundreds of high-tech rounds for their top-of-the-line military rifles, the half-broken assemblage of Soviet trash you're picking up off enemies isn't quite so useful anymore...
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: Once you manage to get satellites over the majority of funding nations, you will be rolling in money. The bottleneck becomes Alien Alloys, Elerium and Weapon Fragments, all of which need to be taken from aliens.

    Wide-Open Sandboxes 
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, the millions of dollars the player earns by completing the harder story missions and sidequests are essentially useless. Visiting the pay-and-spray is quite cheap ($1,000), and weapons and ammo are similarly inexpensive, and available by exploring the environment. The game tries to make up for this by requiring the player to pay large sums of money at two points during the main story, but by the time they achieve 100% Completion, most players are walking around with one or two million dollars and with nothing to spend it on.
    • This also applies to later games in the series, but to significantly lesser extents, largely because of the introduction of purchasable savehouses.
    • In Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, not only it is ridiculously easy to make huge amounts of money dealing drugs, but scratch tickets tend to pay out pretty reliably. Taken together with the relative cheapness of safe houses and easy-to-find red dumpsters full of firearms, this means that the player is generally sitting on a huge pile of useless cash. Even being wasted or busted carries only a mild cash penalty.
    • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
      • There is a mission that requires you to spend about $80,000 on an abandoned airstrip to proceed; however, it is about two thirds of the way into the game, so it's possible to complete.
      • In an earlier mission thread, C.J. moans and whines about needing ten grand...even when his bankroll is ten times as much.
      • One of the rewards for finishing the game with 100% Completion is $1,000,000. Although, as the player already completed all the required tasks off the game, there's not much to do with all the money (even more considering it will acumulate over the cash C.J. already has).
    • Grand Theft Auto IV, features this trope in full-force. The series has done away with purchasable savehouses and businesses and has significantly toned-down the customization aspect from San Andreas. Pay N' Sprays have become far less useful and eating is no longer necessary. Consequently, the $500,000+ the player possesses by the end of the story is basically just for show (and despite this, Niko keeps bitching about how he needs the money before missions. One has to wonder the sheer size of Roman's debts...) In an aversion of this, the character from The Lost And Damned is comparatively poor, and doesn't receive as much money from missions. Although you get a discount from the gang's gun dealer, you generally are much poorer than in the main game or Ballad.
    • Grand Theft Auto V was made with a conscious attempt at averting this, and it shows. Rarely will missions give you any kind of cash payout (although some side missions, such as street racing will give a [rather low] reward), and there are loads of things to spend money on. Clothes, vehicles, upgrades for said vehicles, guns and ammo, mods, properties.... Overall, money is relatively difficult to come by. This becomes even more challenging due to there being three characters, each with their own bank accounts and inventories. Then again, most of the stuff to buy is entirely optional.
  • Saints Row:
    • Saints Row: The Third gives you money based on how many neighbourhoods you own. At the start, you struggle to buy ammo and armour up a single car. Forget about character upgrades. By the time the money starts rolling in, you have every upgrade you need and anything after that is either overkill or outright cheating.
    • Throughout the entire series, you do earn realistic amounts of money but everything you can spend money on is insanely cheap. $10 for a grenade, $50 for a guided missile, $300 to fix up your ride after an encounter with a tank, $500 to repair and deliver the car you just drove off a cliff (itself unnecessary since fresh vehicles are free from your garage), $5000 to buy a store and $1000 for a full vehicle upgrade including a more powerful engine, ram bumpers, armour plating, nitrous and pearlescent paint. The only things with remotely realistic price points are fast food, new cars at Foreign Power (if you can't be bothered to drive around for 15 minutes and steal one) and some cribs. The six figure crib upgrade prices in the third game seem realistic until you realise what you are actually buying for that money is not just a new posh interior as in earlier games but the demolition of the entire building and construction of a hundred floor skyscraper in its place.
    • Downplayed in Saints Row IV. Earning cache (the simulation's substitute of cash) works in the same principle, but the Weapon Upgrade system was changed. Instead of four levels of overall improvement, most weapons have four attributes (some have only one) which must be upgraded individually a maximum of four times, each being more expensive to the last, plus a special trait (explosive shells for pistols, for example) that is even more expensive. So yeah, this time it takes much more farming to bring your whole arsenal to Game-Breaker levels. Player Upgrades are still bought the same way, however, so for them the trope still applies.
  • Rockstar's Bully features this.
    • Money is the main reward of completing story missions, but there are very few things of importance on which to spend money. Ammo and certain items are purchasable, but they're so inexpensive they may as well be free. Truly important things like savehouses and fighting moves are acquired only by progressing through the story. The main things to spend money on are the arcade and carnival games, which only burn $1 at a time, and with the player's wardrobe, which is simply cosmetic and probably of little interest to players not aiming for 100% Completion.
    • In the 360 version, if you do everything else in the game, and presuming you're not grinding the side missions that can be repeated (delivering papers, mowing lawns), then at the end you will only have about half the money you need in order to buy all the clothing. The only reason to buy it all is for an achievement. Thankfully you can use a cheat code to increase your money without disabling any achievements.
  • Far Cry 3 runs into this. If you do the radio tower sidequests (and you have a very strong incentive, because the map is nearly useless without them), you start unlocking weapons in stores for free. Ammo isn't very expensive and you can get a fair amount of it from the environment. Plus, if you take the stealthy approach most of the time, you'll often be using your knife and a bow whose arrows can be reliably be recovered from bodies. Since your equipment upgrades are earned by hunting and skinning the local wildlife, there is little else to spend money on. Weapon modifications cost a few hundred dollars each, but that's about it for major expenses. This is compounded even more by a skill that lets Jason automatically loot enemies that die by a takedown: their pocket change adds up fast.
  • Red Dead Redemption:
    • First game: Ammunition is free from your safehouse and there are only a few additional safehouses to buy. Most guns are provided as you advance in the story or through sidequests and the few that you need to buy are generally limited only by unlocking the area where they're sold rather than not having the money to buy them. There are a wealth of horses you can buy, but the three best are found for free (and the first one is an early story mission) and can never be lost (if they die you just summon a new one for free). At the same time you get plenty of skins and animal parts to sell for significant sums of money. The developers clearly intended for buffalo to be viewed as a source of cash (you get a large amount for selling their pelts) weighed against being a limited resource that dies for good, but since they show up late in the game there's no need to kill them unless you really want to.
    • Red Dead Redemption II averts this trope for the beginning of the game, when money is very hard to come by and you'll be scraping along selling everything you can grab to try making ends meet. Then comes the story mission "Sodom? Back To Gomorrah." Upon completing this mission, you'll receive such a large payout that, combined with the lack of new things to buy, should set you up for the rest of the game. Unless you're a completionist or feel the need to make the game a bit easier, there's absolutely no need to spend money to buy weapons because your starting gear is more than good enough for most of the game, and you'll gradually get new weapons anyway from dead enemies or given as part of story missions.
  • In Sid Meier's Pirates! (any version), a skillful enough player can go the whole game without using his gold to buy anything other than information/treasure maps and bonus items from the guys hanging out in the backs of bars. Gold on all but the hardest level (typically for serious repairs/dancing shoes) merely becomes another bragging point. More uncharacteristically, once you've made a large enough amount your crew (of frickin' pirates) never becomes unhappy, thus you never need to divide the plunder until your character is REALLY feeling his age, thus you never need to pay them for their services. Gold must release pleasant pheromones in the Pirates! universe. Aging makes sword-fighting more difficult, but it's really quite easy to win fights anyway even at the highest difficulty setting, and after the age of 40 you stop aging. Add that to the infinitely-satisfied crew exploit, and you can play the game forever, earning more money than you could dream of. And yeah, there's virtually no use for it.
  • In Sunset Overdrive, it's very easy to make lots of money, but the only thing there is to spend it on is clothing. Weapons and ammunition is bought with Overcharge cans. So if you're totally satisfied with your character's current outfit, then you'll have nothing to spend your money on.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • A non-game example in Friendship is Optimal. One of the characters, Lars, makes an immense amount of money from a deal where people upload to Equestria, but the money he makes becomes increasingly worthless as the economy collapses due to the number of people uploading, to the point where he eventually has nothing to spend it on and has no way of enjoying it, much to his frustration.

    Film - Animated 
  • WALL•E: This trope is in effect for Buy N Large, the megacorporation which turned the Earth inhospitable to life through out-of-control consumerism, and then sent its customers into space to cruise around until conditions improved enough for re-settlement. The people living on the Buy N Large flagship Axiom buy all of their goods and services from the company, which is in full control of the Starship Luxurious and all the resources on it. Because the return flight to Earth was secretly cancelled, Buy N Large has nowhere to spend the money, so it is useless for them (Absent Aliens is also in effect.) The humans don't do any work, and Buy N Large's robots perform all of the upkeep, so the entire economy is technically pointless. It seems as if money is only kept around to maintain the pretense that everyone will return to Earth someday.

  • In the gamebook series Lone Wolf, you can find Gold Crowns almost anywhere, and take any money you earn from one book to the next. However, besides staying at inns, replacing lost weapons, or buying items from passing vendors, you won't be spending all that much. You can hit your max of 50 gold Crowns before the end of the first book.
    • At least you get some use out of them. Kika, which you can get in a few places, is completely useless; it literally does nothing but take up space in your money pouch. (Well, there is one useful thing you can do with it, bribe a guard...who will take ALL that you have. Which is just as well, since the only other thing you can do with it is gamble for more Kika.) Let's not forget the Grey Star series, which had Nobles, which will prove handy a maximum of ONE time over the course of four adventures.
    • Voyage of the Moonstone, the first book in the New Grand Master series, takes it a step further. First you have the opportunity to get up to 50 Crowns selling artifacts (which have no other use) to a magician. Then, if you take the sea route to Bir Rabalou, you save the ship from disaster, whereupon the grateful captain rewards you with another 20 Crowns. Then you can pocket another 10 Crowns by getting a simple riddle correct. And THEN you receive 20 more Crowns as a prize for winning a gladiatorial fight. This, of course, on top of the 20-29 Crowns you start the adventure with. And this new Grand Master, like Lone Wolf, can only carry 50 Gold Crowns at any one time, and unlike Lone Wolf, he never stores anything.
    • Mydnight's Hero, the third book in the New Grand Master series, is even more blatant. Not only is Ren worthless, in two instances the book explicitly tells you that. Also, at one point Karvas is said to carry a currency called Torqs, which are usable only in the land you and he leave and never return to shortly after the start of the adventure.
  • The same is true in the Middle-Earth Quest gamebooks. In A Spy in Isengard, for example, it is possible to find 20 Númenórean gold pieces, which in theory are very valuable. Good luck ever finding a place to spend them. The simple fact is there will be very few occasions in any of the books to go shopping, and even when you do there will be very little available that is worth buying. To explain, there are no shops in Spy in Isengard, and the very few shops in the other books in the series all take silver coins, and no exchange rate is ever given. And those few shops generally do not have anything worth buying anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A recurring issue in Breaking Bad is that, rich though Walter White has become over the course of his criminal career, he also can't actually do much of anything with the money. An unemployed former chemistry teacher throwing around hundreds of thousands in cash would get the cops on his ass in a matter of days, he doesn't have the operation needed to launder it all safely, and even if he did, he ends up with so much money that his medical bills and nest egg for his family have been paid for a dozen times over. By the late fifth season, he's forced to bury most of his money in the New Mexico desert because there's no other way for him to get rid of it. The best he can do is to blackmail some former colleagues of his—who are owners of a financial trust—to launder just one of his barrels of money to give to his son.
  • Narcos depicts how this was also a problem with the Cartels in Real Life, they accrued cash faster they could spend or launder it, and Pablo Escobar ends up having his men bury large caches in fields, and one time when on the run with his family, at one safe house they only have stacks of dollars to burn in the fireplace for warmth.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the RPGA campaign, Living City, money served no purpose, and so was given out at ludicrous amounts. Such as, "Thank you for saving my kitten, here's 1,000 gold pieces." Instead, the real treasure was magic items. Which, as it turns out, was also given out hand over fist for the first few years of the campaign. This led to events where the only way to progress through certain encounters was to give up magic items. In one event, the Elitenote  Dragon Turtle required a + 2 magic item from each player or else it would eat the ship you were on. The campaign also reined back the amount of treasure it gave out, the end result being that many events were not completable by new players who weren't lucky enough to have an older player at the table to give up multiple such items in order to allow the group to continue.
  • The RPGA Living Greyhawk campaign tried to defy this by instituting a "Gold Cap" policy and accounting-style "Record Sheet" in year two. All possessions of a character had a gold piece value attached to them, and had to be accounted for on record sheets that had to be updated after every event. Treasure was automatically converted to a gold piece amount and split evenly among the party regardless of whether or not the players wanted an equal distribution. Then, the "Character Worth" could be allocated into equipment or magic items that the player had previously "unlocked" during game play. This overly-complicated yet vague rule caused the Exodus of Year Two and led many players and former players to refer to the game as "Living Accounting" because updating the Character Worth and the Record Sheet often took as much time as playing the actual game events.
  • The Living Death RPGA campaign gave a character income for every event played, even though there was never anything to actually spend money on. Game-affecting equipment was given to you either just before or (more often) just after your character needed it, and non-game affecting equipment (such as clothing or purely role playing descriptive items) was free.
  • d20 Modern has problems with unlimited Wealth (yes, it's capitalized). It doesn't measure money as money, but as a Wealth rating, which can go up and down over the course of the game.
    • You usually start with a Wealth rating of about 6, which is too low to buy anything useful. You'll probably buy a gun, some bullets, and then you're out of Wealth. Buying a car or house as a starting character is usually out of the question. Good thing you don't have to buy anything else, and naturally, there's no rules for rent, upkeep or anything else. Want bullets? Kill a bad guy and take theirs. Threw away a gun? Well, make sure you shot a bad guy and took theirs first! Want grenades? Likewise. Only characters who want to make things (like chemical weapons) really need to spend money, and there are abuses just for them. Some character concepts, like martial artists, need not spend any money at all!
    • To buy something, you have to make a Wealth check. The amount of Wealth lost is somewhat random. You might lose more money buying a car than a house. Once you reach a Wealth of 15, anything that costs less costs nothing at all. While virtually all guns cost over 15, you probably don't need to keep buying them.
    • Every level, you gain Wealth, as well as for adventuring rewards. If you bought the Profession skill, you gain obscene amounts of Wealth, just for sitting on your butt. (The game has no rules for jobs.)
    • "Wealth" rules exist for other games as well, such as REIGN, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, and Exalted. In most games with this system, as with d20 Modern, the potential flaws of "unlimited" wealth for minor purchases but severely limited wealth for major purchases are acknowledged in the rules. It's an abstraction, one GMs need to keep under careful consideration. Yes, the rules may say you can buy a million candy bars in a million separate purchases without influencing your Wealth, but the GM is supposed to smack down any such ill-considered rules lawyering. These games also usually assume that when you gain this Wealth, you have a means in the background to support it - you're working at your job in the downtime, investments periodically pay out, whatever.
  • In REIGN, players often have access to their character's personal Wealth and their company's Treasure (often as officers of their company). Treasure 2 is equivalent to Wealth 6 (the most an individual can have until the money is so great it becomes impossible to individually manage), meaning as long as you're willing to dip your hands into the company pot, personal Wealth can rapidly become meaningless. As a result, the game has an optional rule to blow personal Wealth carousing, training, and on ill-advised investments in return for experience points.
  • This was also an issue in Dungeons & Dragons, depending on the Dungeon Master. The player-characters would often end up returning from their adventures with all sorts of loot, which in theory should be very useful. The problem is that the players would often not have much interest in many of the things that one might expect people to want vast riches for. After all, the players derive no real benefit if their characters buy luxurious mansions, or ornate carriages, gourmet foods, or fine clothes. In theory, the characters may want such things, but the players want the excitement and challenge of going on quests. They don't want to strike it rich on one quest and retire; they want to go on the next adventure. So the only thing players ever really wanted to spend their money on was equipment, particularly magic items, that would be useful on future adventures. The dilemma that then faced the DM was, either allow the characters to buy magic items on the market, at which point they lose all sense of magic or wonder, or do not and invoke this trope.
    • Pre-3rd Edition, D&D had the idea of a "name level," where you had finally made a name for yourself. This came around level 9, and characters were assumed to be so accomplished that they were ennobled (for fighters), attracted apprentices (wizards), gained acolytes (clerics), and so on. It was at least partially meant to be a Money Sink for the fantastic wealth you could secure from your adventures, as you now had lands and households to maintain, servants and followers to pay, and other upkeep costs. This was also when wizards and clerics were expected to really start researching new spells and making magic items, which were meant to be excessively arcane processes that needed further adventures to fulfill - adventures where you might pay out rather than cash in. That said, name level also depended on the DM and players to see any use, and could often be safely ignored.
    • 1st Edition further averted this by requiring characters to pay "training costs" to advance in level, making money of vital importance, but this rule was often ignored, thus enforcing the trope.
  • Fantasy Craft: Played with. GMs can award silver in substantial amounts without worry because it isn't very useful since it can only buy consumable or non-magical items and won't accumulate since a percentage of the money characters earn is assumed to be wasted on luxuries and personal upkeep between adventures based on their Prudence stat. However, the other currency of Prestige is much more precious since it can be used to buy things like magical items and titles which are very useful.
  • Salvage Hidden Treasures: Downplayed. Money is very important during the game, as it allows you to discover and salvage treasures, as well as buy more boats for your fleet. The caveat is that when scores are compared at the end, only the value of the treasures you’ve collected is counted, so any leftover cash you didn't manage to spend will do nothing to improve your score. This is despite the fact that treasure is only valued in the first place because it’s worth money.

    Web Animation 
  • Deconstructed and lampshaded in Mad Mad Mario over the inherent uselessness of coins in the Super Mario Bros. series.
    Toad: What about the coins? I mean, I leave all this money around, just for you!
    Mario: If you're gonna leave me all these coins, how 'bout building... A FUCKING WALMART?!

  • Homestuck:
    • Zigzagged. Boondollars, Sburb's in-game currency, are earned by the bucketload when leveling up, but there's initially absolutely nothing to actually spend them on. It's eventually revealed that they're used to purchase Fraymotifs, powerful Combination Attacks necessary for battling powerful foes... until Dave's manipulation of the stock exchange allows him to make ridiculous amounts of money and purchase all the fraymotifs, making all further boondollar earnings pointless once more.
    • On a more comical note, certain items of very low quality can actually cost negative resources to make. Post-Scratch Dave mass-produced them and got rich because they are also of a low enough quality to cost negative money to produce.

    Web Original 
  • Neopets has an on-site browser RPG called Neo Quest II. In the first two or three levels, the player will likely be always short of money for healing potions and inn rests — but after the healer joins the party, the money flowing in really has not many place to go — healing potions are only relevant in boss battles now, and buyable equipment is inferior to droppables. During the last two chapters the player typically would only buy max stacks of speed, slowing, and healing potions in preparation fo the final boss battle, and face the final boss filthy rich.
  • Many games on Facebook, IMVU and the like center on having friends give you special items to complete projects. If you don't have many friends, or have a great deal of projects, you'll end up being drastically behind on necessary materials...while the other goodies pile up uselessly. Either you can't make any use of them without the extra goodies, or else you can use them only on decorations or things not necessary to advance in the game.
  • In Mafia Wars, buying properties results in exponential money growth - so much so that you can make billions of dollars a day in rent on said properties. That said, it only applies to your current location - if you decide to take on the Bangkok missions, you start with only a pittance of money despite the fact that you're a trillionare back home. (There aren't any money exchanges in Mafia Wars. This has some of Truth in Television: Even large criminal empires have problems moving to new countries, partly because they can't get in banks with their stolen cash and ask for an exchange, and partly because the locals are already set up and very averse to competition.
  • In comic 67 of DM of the Rings, the mercenary roleplayers are told by King Theoden that they can take anything they need from the royal armoury. They loosely interpret this to mean everything and plan to haul it to the nearest shop to sell. Then they realise that Theoden's hall is the nearest shop and the next nearest is a very, very long away back on their quest. No matter the nominal value of their possessions, they cannot convert them into cash.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: While entering "Itchy & Scratchy Land", Homer is convinced by an employee to buy "Itchy & Scratchy Money" that can be used in the park "just like regular money, but it's, er... fun". Once in the park, he sees that no business accepts Itchy & Scratchy Money.

    Real Life 
  • Some individuals have a large net worth on paper because they own a company or other asset that's been given a high valuation, but they aren't really earning cash from this asset, and cannot simply sell it for cash either. For example, the owner of a tech startup that had a lucrative initial public offering, but which doesn't have any revenue yet. They'll probably be earning a one dollar salary for several years until the company starts to turn a profit, and they can't sell off all their stock in the company without driving down the price, especially if their personal leadership of the company was what caused it to be valued so highly in the first place. The only way to live large at this stage of their careers is to take out a special line of credit, as banks are often willing to finance the lavish lifestyles of paper billionaires based on the promise that they'll pay it off when their asset bears fruit.
  • Illegal enterprises such as drug cartels generate huge revenues, but they cannot simply deposit it in the bank or move it around without law enforcement and tax agencies tracing it back to an illegal source. It's pretty difficult to set up legitimate business fronts large enough to launder such volumes of money; at times of high profit and low capacity, gangs have been known to bury sacks of cash in the ground because they have nowhere else to put it.
  • Several big U.S. corporations use complicated schemes to reduce their tax bills, such as Apple, Inc. transferring ownership of its patents to their branch in low-tax Ireland, and having the U.S. branch pay the Ireland branch for using the patents. This means that these companies avoid paying taxes in the U.S., but it leaves them with huge amounts of money abroad which they cannot repatriate without having to pay a lot of tax on it, and which they have a hard time figuring out how to use otherwise.