I used to write blogs trying to write blogs. They're gone now, hidden from the world. I'd rather write with a bit more feeling. It's going to result in much less information being delivered with a lot more rambling, but isn't that better?
I also do the FNF thing. Talk to me if you want to be a part of that.
Some people feel like they don't get enough dosh in Grand Theft Auto Online. That's okay. They went into it with certain expectations while I with others. The numbers, though, and the contents of our garages, seem to indicate that I actually am getting more money than them. If you want to be pretend, video game rich like me, here are my suggestions.
▪ Wear a mask. This is the only one I'm going to second from Mags' front page tips. If you remove your mask when out of sight of the police (vision cones and blinking stars), your wanted level will be reduced by one. One or two stars isn't so bad, but one goes away more quickly than two. If you need a quick grand and knock over a shop for it, that's a little less time you spend trying to get away. The real benefit is taking a three-star down to two. Three stars means helicopters, and helis are an enormous pain to escape. Never an attack an armored car without a mask.
It's easy to change these accessory equipments in the quick menu accessed with select on PS3 or back on 360. The mask shop is on the beach.
▪ Get a four door car. If something is going to cause you problems in a mission, it's getting singled out. This goes especially so for playing in free aim mode (which you should be, because you aren't a filthy casual). I don't usually appeal to reality in video games, but I think it stands as a fine bit of realism that jumping out in front of three men with machine guns means you get shot up and die. I like it. It's good to have a game with a harsh damage model, but it means tearing off on your own ride is a good way to get yourself killed and failing means less income for your time.
A car that carries four instead of two will mean you can bring the whole crew for the average mission all in one vehicle. That's one person who can focus completely on driving and three that can properly aim and shoot at the quarry you're chasing or the SUV full of assholes that's chasing you. It doesn't have to be the fastest car in the game to escape from the cops, and a controllable speed can often be more advantageous when it comes to breaking line of sight than a land-rocket that crashes all the time.
This is a good one to pick up for your tutorial car, getting a free tracker and insurance. I recommend a Sultan, Buffalo, Fugitive, or hard top Felon. All of those can be picked up off the street for only the price of a tracker if you've already gotten into the game. Upgrades for the more "mid tier" cars are also more affordable than those on the fancy sports cars and super cars.
▪ Get the functional upgrades first. Yes, I know. You want sweet rims and words on your tires. You want to paint your car metallic pink with green pearlescence. You want spoilers and tinted windows. Always buy insurance first. Never buy any other upgrades before insurance. Buy the armor. Buy the bulletproof tires and never worry about spike strips again. Buy the engine and brake upgrades before painting it. Yes, brakes. Control is vital when trying to escape the law. I don't care how much you want it to be a different color. Having a car that looks boring but works great for a couple of missions will help you find success more than making it your favorite color, and then you'll be able to paint it without handicapping yourself.
You're going to need to do races to unlock some of these upgrades, but races will also get you some money to buy them. I suggest turning off catch up and only racing your friends, where you can agree not to be complete shits about it. The alternative is being actively punished for being ahead of someone else.
▪ Don't pay for guns. When you reach the necessary level and can purchase a gun at Ammu-Nation, don't do it. Do not go buy it. Go pick one up from a dead enemy instead. The survival missions are a good place to do this, but I believe this works with any instance or pickup. That's thousands of dollars saved. Saved only once, sure, but it's now money you can spend on something else.
For this to work, it seems you need to not have the particular weapon in your inventory, reach the level to unlock it, then pick one up. I'm not sure if that's just a narrow path for success or if that means doing this is some manner of glitch, but it's earning the weapons in a realistic way regardless of the mechanism. Sounds fair to me. Instead of buying the gun, spend less money on an upgrade for it and be further along.
▪ Don't buy a garage (right away). "But I want to store some cars, Trev." Good for you, but those cars will always be around. You can own one property at a time and when you buy a new one, you get back half the cost of the old. If you try to progressively upgrade your garage, you're going to waste tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars on property that you move away from.
Lester informs you, fairly early on, that you will need a "high end" apartment to plan heists, and the least expensive option there is which satisfies that is $205,000. It has a ten-car garage. There isn't a reason to buy a garage before this. In fact, I'd call buying anything sooner a complete waste of money. On top of that, a big cause of having no money is dumping what money you have into things like extra cars that aren't seeing use and apartments you are going to move out of.
▪ Don't max out your ammunition. Every time you increase in rank, your ammo capacity goes up. If you go to an Ammu-Nation to buy ammo and press square (or X for those on 360) it switches from buying an individual magazine's worth of bullets to filling your capacity for that type. Keeping it filled will probably cost you $1,000 per weapon type, per level, minimum, for no actual benefit because you aren't going to use 6,000 SMG bullets in a single mission.
In addition, you don't seem to pick up ammo from enemies if you have more than 1,500 to 2,000 anyway. Clearly, as a game balancing method, this stops someone with pockets overflowing with ammo from grabbing it all, accidentally or otherwise, and leaving people just scraping by with nothing. All you have to do to take advantage of this is not waste money buying it for yourself.
▪ Don't repair your car. Start a mission instead. Your car gets repaired for free when you start and finish an instanced event. You also get the income from finishing the event. You get paid for, instead of paying for, your car repairs. That's it. That will avoid repeat $500+ repairs every couple minutes when you smash it up screwing around.
▪ Do the optional events. You can get up to $20,000 out of an armored truck and $4000 out of a crate drop in addition to guns or bonus RP. You can easily find cars that sell for $7-9,000 (Cavalcade, Baller, F620), with only the rare Felon GT selling for slightly more. You can sell one of these every in-game day (48 minutes real time). Keep an eye out for texts from Simeon, because he pays more for those requested cars than the mod shop would for the same model and it doesn't count as a sale. That's a potential $10-15,000. If he also puts a "high-priority vehicle" on the map, you can deliver one of those in addition to a requested model from the text and a mod shop sale for another $10-15,000. You can get over fifty grand just dicking around between missions. You can do multiple crates and armored trucks without waiting to further increase your income.
There are also hidden-yet-common-sense ways to get some cash. An example of such is the mission Out of Court Settlement. Martin Madrazo sends you to kill a lawyer. This lawyer is in a fancy, upgraded Felon GT. The game doesn't tell you this, but you can just see the car he's driving. You can put it in your garage if you have one or have your partner hold onto it (and stay far enough away not to get pulled out of it by the cutscene) while you complete the mission. Then you can sell the dead lawyers car for $22,000. He won't be using it any more, will he?
I decided to take note of what I did in one in-game day.
- Delivered Hummer: $8,000+
- Sold Baller: $9,000
- Hit armored Car: $11,000+
- Delivered High Priority Fusilade: $8,000+
- Sold Dubsta: $7,000
Total: $43,000 and change in fifty minutes. Admittedly, that's just over a day as I was able to sell two cars, but I wasn't even really focused. I put down the controller to pay some bills online, go change my clothes, and eat. And then I bought $25,000 rims for my fully upgraded Ferrari just to get the red text on the tires because they go with the red paint. No other reason. Even buying stupid shit, I put a bunch of cash in the bank because I take advantage of everything I can.
▪ Don't get obsessed with prestige items. This last one is more of an attitude adjustment than a gameplay tip. Someone I play with regularly, who will remain unnamed because that's not the point, declared the Banshee "my car" the first day we played and has referred to it as such several times since. "Zilcho's in my car." What's the problem? The Banshee can only go into your garage if you buy it from the in-game dealer, while the Shyster Fusilade has a better top speed and handling and can be picked up from the street for free. The two areas where the Banshee is better, braking and acceleration, are both improved by upgrades while top speed is not. Someone frequently outraged about not having enough money is going to blow $105,000 on a statistically inferior prestige item when he could have a Fusilade with $105,000 worth of upgrades on it. He just wants it because he thinks it's cool. You know what? That's fine.
However, he wouldn't want it if it was easy to get. If everyone just grabbed one off the street and made it theirs, it wouldn't be special. You want a free car with amazing stats? Get the Elegy by signing up for social club. It's amazing, but nobody will give a single shit that you have one because everyone and their dog can get the same car. I think it's important to consider whether you want this fancy car or apartment because you think someone will be impressed, and would they still be impressed if it was as easy to get as you seem to want.
Even among prestige items, there's unnecessary spending. I want a Cheetah because it goes fast and looks cool. I bought a Feltzer for about a fifth of the cost and it works nearly as well, with the differences being imperceptible in an actual police chase or mission. I will have a Cheetah eventually (i.e. whenever I stop blowing money on other things).
It's also important to consider that the police have a ceiling on their capabilities. You don't need a Cheetah, Feltzer, or Banshee to escape from them. This really goes back to getting an effective, four-door car instead of something flashy though. You may not feel like you're getting anywhere because you set your first goal in the stratosphere. If you have any experience with the series, you know that GTA has never been about getting everything you want immediately.