Skyrim: Getting Rich Without Encumbering Yourself
In Skyrim, there are three types of crafting skills that you could also take into professions: Alchemist, Blacksmith, and Enchanter. As an alchemist, it is smart to find as many ingredients while you are roaming around the open world. To find out properties, you can eat ingredients to give yourself a headstart before you head to the alchemy table. Also, if you really want to get into alchemy, it is worth picking up some of those perks in the perk tree to make your potions stronger and worth more. Also, if you are willing to spend the extra money, you can purchase harder to find ingredients and recipes from alchemists.There are alchemists in all the major cities of Skyrim: Arcadia at Arcadia's Cauldron in Whiterun, Bothela at the Hag's Cure in Markarth, Nurelion and Quintus Navale at The White Phial in Windhelm, Elgrim and Hafjorg at Elgrim's Elixir's in Riften, and Angeline Morrard at Angeline's Aromatics in Solitude. There are also alchemist's in the minor cities: Lami at the Thaumaturgist's Hut in Morthal, Zaria at Grave Concoction's in Falkreath, and Frida at the Mortar and Pestle in Dawnstar. There is also a couple of Orc Alchemists within the Orc strongholds around Skyrim: Atub is an Orc Mage in the Orc Stronghold of Largashbur and Bolar is an Orc resident at the Orc Stronghold of Narzulbur. If you get far enough in the Theives Guild there will be Herluin Lothaire in the Ragged Flaggon. Also, if you join the Dark Brotherhood, you can go to Babette right away. If you have Dawnguard, there will be Feran Sadri if you join the vampires and Florentius Baenius if you join the Dawnguard. Finally, if you have the Dragonborn DLC, there is Milore Ienth in Raven Rock, Elynea Mothren at the Tel Mithryn Apothecary, and Edla, an elderly Skaal woman in Skaal village.
Another route you can take in Skyrim is the route of the blacksmith. Just like alchemy, the blacksmith perks will be useful for your profession, if not even more necessary. It is more necessary because in order to make certain types of armor, you need the corresponding perk to do so. You can go the route of crafting light armor or heavy armor, or go all out and make both types of armor. Another route you could take is making jewelry, if you feel you want to take on a little bit less. If you want to gather your own ingredients, there are many mines around Skyrim where you can gather ore. The heavy armor ore includes iron, corundum, dwarven plate metal, orichalcum, ebony, and dragon bone. The light armor ore includes quicksilver, moonstone, refined malachite, and dragon scales. Also, gold and silver ore is for making jewelry. Make sure you have a pick-axe in your inventory or else no ore for you. Beyond ore, you will also need leather and leather strips for crafting. This can be obtained by gathering pelts from various predator's in Skyrim. Also, daedric armor takes daedra hearts to craft which are extremely rare. The best way that I've found to get these on your own is finishing the Daedric Quest that you can get around level 20 by first going to a quaint museum in Dawnstar. Or, if you are willing to spend the money, sometimes alchemists have daedra hearts to sell. I recommend this route for the faint of heart. Once you have all your items and you are ready to craft, there are several blacksmiths around the world that will let you use their smithing tools, or, if you have Hearthfire, you can make your own home that will eventually have all of these tools also. Use the smelter for smelting ore into ingots, the forge for crafting armor, the grindstone for improving weapons, and the workbench for improving armor. You can also craft leather and leather strips at the tanning rack. Blacksmiths in Skyrim where you can craft your weapons, armor, and jewelry include: Alvor in Riverwood, Warmaiden's in Whiterun, Skyforge in Whiterun, The Scorched Hammer in Riften, Solitude Blacksmith in Solitude, Oengul War-Anvil in Windhelm, Filnjar in Shor's Stone, Lod in Falkreath, Rustleif in Dawnstar, Understone Keep in Markarth, and Ghorza gra-Bagol also has a huge forge area out in the open in Markarth. If you join the Thieves Guild you will eventually have access to Syndus and Arnskar Ember-Master in The Ragged Flaggon. Various Orc Strongholds also have the tools in order to craft your armor, weapons, and jewelry. In Dawnguard, there is Hestla if you join the vampires and Gunmar if you join the Dawnguard. Lastly, if you have Dragonborn, there is Glover Mallory in Raven Rock plus Baldor Iron-Shaper in Skaal Village.
What crafting skill is your favorite?
Another crafting skill that can make you a lot of money is enchanting. In order to enchant, you will need filled soul gems. You can purchase soul gems from various mage's and general merchants around Skyrim. Court mage's and College of Winterhold Merchant's are probably the best place to go for these. Court mage's include Farengar Secret-Fire in Dragonsreach, Wuunferth the Unliving at the Palace of the Kings, Wylandriah at Mistveil Keep, Sybille Stentor at The Blue Palace, Calcelmo at the Understone Keep, and Madena in Dawnstar. However, you can also find empty soul gems all over Skyrim in fill them yourself. The most common places to find soul gems are dwarven ruins, and not only can you find empty soul gems but you can also find filled ones. Yet, you will find that you will have many in need to fill yourself. In order to do this, you might consider dabbling with conjuration. Within the perks of conjuration you will find one where bound weapons will consume a soul gem after killing an enemy. There is also a spell you can cast on an enemy that will fill a soul gem if you kill them quickly enough after casting the spell on them. Another way to achieve filling soul gems is by enchanting a weapon with the soul trapping enchantment. It really depends on whatever your preferences are. In order to learn enchantments you will need to find various items around Skyrim that already have enchantments on them. Then, bring those items to an arcane enchanter, break them down, and then you will learn the enchantment. To enchant an item, you will need an unenchanted item, soul gem, and an enchantment choice to enchant the weapon. Soul gems are also used to recharge enchanted items that are not permanent. This normally pertains to weapons. A quest you also make be interested in is Azura's Star. You easily can find out about the Shrine of Azura by talking to random innkeeper's and it will be marked on your mark. It is very smart to follow up on this if you are into enchanting. In order to prevent spoilers, I will not say more. Lastly, I will also add the smithing and enchanting work marvelously together. You will definitely be rich with these two crafting skills hand in hand.
Would you rather....
Pick one to make a living:
Money for the Non-Crafty
If you are not into crafting, there are still many ways that you can make money honestly. There are various locations where you can chop firewood for money. Also, farming and selling the produce to the farmer's can also give you a little bit of gold. You can also mine ore and there are miner's that will pay you for your work. Various lumber mill's for chopping firewood include Dragon Bridge, Solitude Sawmill, Morthal, Anga's Mill, Riverwood, Mixwater Mill, Falkreath, Half-moon Mill, and Heartwood Mill. You can find the Battle-Born farm, Chillfurrow farm, Loreius farm, and Pelegia farm around Whiterun. In Rorikstead, which is west of Whiterun, you can find Cowflap farm and Lemkil's Farm. Outside of Windhelm you can find the Brandy-Mug farm, Hlaalu farm, and Hollyfrost farm. Around the Rift you can find Merryfair farm, Sarethi farm, and Snow-Shod farm. There is also the Corpselight farm by Falkreath, Kattla's farm by Solitude, and Salvius farm by Markarth. Lastly, if you have Dragonborn, you will find the Old Attius farm in Solstheim. As for mine's, there are plenty of them among Skyrim. Some of these main mine's include Iron-Breaker Mine and Quicksilver mine in Dawnstar, Left Hand Mine in Markarth, Sanuarach Mine and Fenn's Gulch Mine in Karthwasten, Redbelly Mine in Shor's Stone, Rockwallow Mine in Stonehills, Steamscorch Mine in Kynesgrove, and Goldenrock Mine in Darkwater Crossing. Some other mine's include Gloombound Mine, Kolskeggr Mine, and Soljund's Sinkhole. Some Orc Stronghold's also have mines and the bandit camp of Bilegulch Mine also has orichalcum. There is also Cidha Mine in Markarth, but unless you spend a lot of time ignoring the law and getting caught, you won't see much of it.
But Brittany, I can't help but to loot...
If you find yourself to be one of those people that just can't help but to loot as much as possible when you are on your adventures, there is a good rule of thumb that you may consider following to avoid overencumbering yourself with stuff that is not worth selling. That rule of thumb is this: multiply the weight of the item by 10 and whatever that is, it must be equal to or greater than the value of the item. It works like a charm!