Money Matters in Portia
My Time at Portia is one of the absolute best farm-sim/life-sim games out there. It's not just a Stardew Valley clone, it is a fully realized world with interesting characters, story, interactions, and mechanics that keep many parts of the game important into the late game in ways that other games in the genre don't.
One of these is the importance of money, and the motivation of working for it, in a game. While the Golden Clock, Return Scepter, or Magic Silos in Stardew are great, they're late game extras to keep you shooting for something after year one or two. They are not essentials.
However, growing and upgrading your workshop, your property, and keeping a healthy number of gols on hand is a critical part of My Time at Portia deep into the late game, and this gives the game a vibrancy deep into years two and three that really makes the game something special.
However, for new players, keeping those gols up can be a pain. While most My Time at Portia tips for beginner articles will have some advice, making money in this game can take its own guide.
This more in-depth guide will help you understand the basics and some good early game tricks to help you get the most out of your economic efforts playing Portia.
Let's dive in!
Use Most Marble for Making Talismans
As soon as you upgrade to a Bronze Pickaxe, you can start quarrying medium-sized stones for some marble, and an Iron Pickaxe allows you to quarry large stones, the purple of which always have marble.
Why is this important?
- Marble is very important as an ingredient for marble sheets, which are necessary for many crafting recipes.
- Marble is an ingredient for crafting talismans at the work table.
Talismans are one of the early crafting recipes where some very low value materials are combined into an item that is actually worth much more than value from selling all the parts separately.
So craft the heck out of those talismans, and wait until an expensive market day (120% or higher) to sell them. Talismans are worth just enough that those market changes matter, and when the markets are up around 125% or even 130% of prices, it's a very good time to mass sell your talismans to all the shops that accept them (which is most of the outdoor ones).
This is a great way to make additional gols above and beyond the daily contracts, especially in the early game.
Take Commissions You Know You Can Finish
While it can be tempting to grab the highest priced commission, and in the late game this is a good move, you want to make sure in the early and late game to focus on commissions that you know you can finish.
Every single extra day it takes to finish a job off the board is another day you can't take a new job. Several days' worth of missed commissions could add up to way more than the extra gols from that one high-grade commission.
Take the highest rated commission you know that you can finish that day. When more and more start appearing requiring more crafting materials you generally don't have on hand, it's probably a good sign that you should be looking to upgrade your workshop and crafting station at that point.
Completing commissions on a daily basis keeps the gols coming in, and they are one of the most steady ways to make sure you have at least a decent amount of consistent income coming in.
Pay Attention to Up/Down Market Days
The moving market values is a very interesting mechanic that I enjoy. The markets can have low days in the 70 percentage range while on the high side markets can be at 120% or even as high as 130%.
In the early game there are plenty of times where you will need a particular item whether to finish a contract, upgrade a tool, or do something else that requires an upgrade you can't create from scratch.
Buy on Down Market Days
Do that buying on the down market days. This goes for upgrade kits, for cotton, or for big purchases like the massage chair from Paulie's furniture store. By making sure to buy when the prices are at 70% or 75% you'll save a lot of gols, especially on expensive purposes.
Sell on Up Market Days
Selling on days when the percentages are high means you get a lot more for what you're selling. There are many days north of 100% but it's north of 120% where you are really getting a good deal. The market can get upwards of 135%, but that's not a guarantee to hit that amount on every upswing.
Selling on these days means a quarter to a third more gols with selling and that can lead to huge differences in the amount of gols you earn.
An Important Exception
Sometimes you just need money to buy something on a day when the market prices are high. In these unfortunate circumstances the best thing to do is sell raw materials that have a value of 1 gol, 2 gols, or 2 resources for 1 gol.
These never change value regardless of how many you sell at one time, and this is a crucial mechanic to understand!
This means 999 stone sells for 999 gols whether it's a 70% market day or a 130% market day. 999 soil sells for 499 gol (and 1 left over) no matter what the market percentages are for that day.
Keep this in mind because it allows you to get money to buy needed supplies without getting a bad deal from the market...or at least minimizing it.
Watch for Special City Commissions
Generally speaking, you can only have one commission at a time and only one per day. However, there is one very important exception: Main Story questlines that are given out by the city.
These will be quests where multiple of something is needed and you will be told either via letter, character, or both, to expect to see the commissions posted starting the next day. Something like building multiple streetlights or multiple dee dees or dee dee stops.
In this situation you can have one of these city commissions, and one of the regular commissions from others at the same time. In addition, if you finish a city commission and get rewarded for it in one day, you can immediately grab another city commission to get started on it.
There are only a handful of these situations in the game where you can "turn and burn" the big-time commissions offered by the city, and your nemesis Higgins will take them if you wait long enough, so make sure to take advantage of those situations to get as many paid jobs done as possible.
Hit the Waters and Go Fishing!
This will cause some groans among the many players who aren't necessarily fans of the fishing system found in My Time at Portia, but fishing is a fantastic way to earn gols in this game.
The first step is to upgrade your crafting station so that you can get rid of the beginner fishing rod you start with and use the classic fishing rod that makes fishing so much easier.
The next is to find fishing holes where you can get valuable fish but not ones that are incredibly challenging. Bladefish and Goliaths, for example, require some decent reflexes and a deep understanding of how the fishing system works in Portia to reel them in.
Catfish are among the least valuable, but require no skill to bring in, and for the most part frogfish are the same once you have the fishing rod upgraded. Finding the fishing holes that provide the most valuable fish you consistently reel in without issue will help you make the most of your time without getting frustrated.
And as Toady could tell you - fishing can be a pretty big business around Portia!
Choose Your Strategic Friendships
One of the best ways to keep a large number of gols on hand is to spend less. Becoming good friends with Albert and Gale, among others, offers big bonuses when having to buy things. Getting 20% off land is really important when you have to drop 100,000 or 200,000 gols per expansion of your property.
Good bonuses from friends include:
- Albert gives 10% of homestead upgrades if you're a Buddy
- Alice gives 10-20% off shop prices depending on friendship level
- Antoine gives slightly larger rewards for finishing commissions
- Mint's buddy gift is one of the best items in the game
- Paulie gives discounts in his store - including to the crucial massage chair
- Gale gives huge discounts on the purchase of land to expand your home/workshop
There are many more, but this just goes to show how being strategic about building those social relationships actually matters in every part of the game. It helps you save money, expand your shop, and even save on purchases that can be used as gifts to further friendships with other villagers.
Being strategic with gifts early on and growing the right relationships can really speed up the process of advancing your workshop, which makes it easier to craft high quality items for money, take high value commissions, and fill your wallet with all those gols.
This is likely the single most overlooked way to make money in Portia - by getting more from guild commissions and saving off purchases thanks to your friendships!
Keep Those Commissions Coming!
Because acquiring gols remains so important in My Time at Portia, there's always more reason to pay attention to that job board, get in Gale's good graces to cheapen your undeniably expensive expansion, and keep moving on to the next project. To me, this keeps the game fresh in the mid-game and late game, a time when many other classics, even the great Stardew Valley, often begin to falter.
With the tips given throughout this article you will have the basic skills and knowledge that you need in order to make sure the gols start pouring in and don't stop.
© 2022 Shane Dayton