There are 2 ways to make gold in World of Warcraft, and two main items that most people generally spend their gold on. The first way is to farm for it, through the repeated killing of mobs that drop money, and generally cloth or items that sell well to vendors. The second way is to play the auction house.
Farming is the best way to get cash for your mount at level 40. You should start doing this at around level 35. If you grind from 35 to 40, you should have enough gold to get your mount straight away.
The key to farming for gold at these levels, and indeed any level, is to maximise kill speed and efficiency. You should kill mobs 2 levels below you, which should leave you with minimal down time (assuming you are shadow specced, of course). To minimise costs you should ask any mages in the area to conjure some water for you. Drinks are expensive, and this is a good way to keep costs down. Most are usually very helpful, and if you ask nicely, will give you a stack or two.
Make sure you have plenty of bag space. Put any items you don't need in your bank before you go out grinding. The less trips to town you have to make, the better. You should also try and get some runecloth bags at some stage. These are generally quite cheap (rough 2-2.5 gold each), and are 14 slotters. It's not worth getting the 16 slot Mooncloth bags or Travellers Backpack's as they cost around 20g each, for only 8 slots more in total.
Any good green gear is worth keeping to sell at the Auction House. A rough guide for armour is: Cloth - anything with +Int and +Stamina or +Spirit; Leather - +Agility, +Stamina; Mail - Virtually all stats for Horde, for Alliance, +Agility +Stamina, +Strength (below 40); Plate - +Strength, +Stamina. Any green weapons with high DPS are generally good to sell at the Auction House.
Blue items should always be sold on the Auction House (or by advertising in the trade channels). When you first find an item, search the Auction House for others, and base your price roughly on that. You may want to do a few comparisons to make sure you get the best out of the item. Also, don't list it if there rae a number on there. Save it for when there are none, and then list it. The above strategy is the same for Epic quality items.
Once you have a good money base built up, you can start to play the Auction House for profit. This involves a simple strategy of any finance institution - buy low and sell high. Each day, do a search for Rare items, and go through the list, looking for anything which is underpriced. Buyout the item, and then re-list it immediately at the standard price.
For example, take the Devout set Bracer piece. This is a fairly rare Bind on Equip drop, that only comes from a small number of mobs in a rarely entered instance (Stratholme Scarlet side). The general price can range between 200 and 250g. If you see this item for a buyout of less than 200g, for example, buy it and list it with a start price of 200g and a buyout of 250. This is the best way to make cash, if you can find some good bargains.
Another riskier way to play the Auction House is to artificially increase prices. This only works if you have a lot of time and a large cash base. Basically, you need to buy out all the items of 1 type, then relist them all at a higher price. Buyout one of a highly used crafting item, for example, then list it ar aroun 1.5x the normal price. People who need it straight away will buy it, and you have made some easy cash. This strategy can make you a lot of money, but has a high element of risk associated with it in regards to unsold goods, and can turn other players on your server against you. I'd suggest doing it on an alt if you are going to do it at all, and to proceed with caution.
Professions are also a great way to make money. Stick to the gathering professions rather than production ones. Unless you can get a Rare or Epic pattern that few people on the server have, you won't make any money out of producing items. Each profession generally has one item that sells well: Herbalism has a number of different ones, but mainly Ghost Mushroom; Mining has Arcane Crystals; Skinning has Core Leather. You can also make some money with a few production proffessions, such as Alchemy's transmutes, or creating and selling Mooncloth for tailors. These are on a timer, however, and it is harder to make money this way.
If you are going to buy your epic mount, it's a good idea to get to at least the rank of Sergeant through the PvP rewards system. This will give you a further 10% discount on fanction purchases (combined with the 10% for getting to honoured, this means 20%
total), which will reduce the cost from 1000g down to 800g, a huge saving for a relatively easy investment. You can try and do this to save you 10g at level 40, but it is difficult for lower levels to gain ranks, and it's probably not worth the effort. You are better of just grinding the 10g.
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