How to earn money on Steam

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 22, 2013
Updated • Jul 24, 2013

I spend more than $1500 Dollars on games in the past nine years on Steam alone according to Steam Gauge which I reviewed yesterday. That's a lot of money even if you divide it by nine and consider that the games may have been more expensive previously.

What only some Steam users realize right now is that it is possible to make back some of the money that you spend on Steam. I'd like to highlight a couple of options that you have at your disposal. All but one use the Community Marketplace, and more precisely items that you sell on the marketplace to earn money.

You can only sell items for a couple of games right now, with Team Fortress and Dota 2 probably the most popular ones right now followed by the new trading card system.

If you are a Steam user, you can sell all eligible items on the market. If you do sell them, you get part of that price while another part wanders directly into Valve's bank account. The money that you earn is added to your Steam Wallet.

1. Getting items

You do have a couple of options to get items. You can play games and get item drops or trading cards for that game but those are usually limited. A trading card drops for instance for every $9 you spend on the game, which makes it a bad deal after all. Constant item drops in games like Dota 2 or Team Fortress 2 provide you with a constant stream of items, but you need to be lucky to get rare drops to make money out of them.

You can also monitor the marketplace itself for items that are priced too low or below average. You do need to be fast and lucky here though as others will do the same. Another thing to consider is that items may drop in value, which is usually the case when drops increase because of a larger player base.

Last but not least, it is also possible to get items through trading. Maybe you have found a spectacular item in Dota 2 that someone else is willing to pay ten keys for. It is a good idea to check the price of your item and the price of the items offered to you before you make a deal.

Many gamers on the other hand are willing to pay a premium for an item that they want to get their hands on.

You can check the items that you already own with a click on your username next to community and the selection of inventory from the menu that opens up.

2. Valuable items

As far as trading cards are concerned, foil cards are more valuable than regular trading cards. The logic here is that they are rarer so that you can charge a premium price for them.

Basically, the rarer an item the more expensive it is in store. Rare items can sell for one hundred Dollars and more, even though that is more of an exception than the rule.

There are two situations where "regular" items may sell for a premium price:

  1. A game just launched its trading card system. First cards sell for a lot more than cards on the following days.
  2. Cards or items that are not available as drops anymore are more valuable.

You can observe this right now on the Community Market when you search for Summer trading cards. The foil cards of the Summer Sale are already increasing in price again, some have doubled in value in the last day alone.

This is only true for foil cards currently, but regular cards will become more expensive over time as well.

Why? Because some collectors want the Summer Sale badge, which they only get when they collect all cards and combine them into the badge.Others may speculate that the price will go up even more as time passes by and stockpile cards because of this.

3. The right way to buy

expensive items

You may want to use the browser to buy on the community market, as it is a lot faster than the Steam browser.  You can also make use of a script like Steam Market Helper which automates some of the steps for you:

  1. Opens the cheapest item automatically.
  2. Improves the readability of the price.
  3. Agrees to the agreement for you so that you save one click.

You still have to buy yourself unless you make use of the scripts auto-reload, auto-buy and repeat options (which may get you banned from Steam as bots are not allowed).

Anyway, using a browser is faster than using the Steam browser. It helps to have a solid understanding of an items price before you start buying it.

4. Getting rich

It is unlikely that you will become a millionaire but you can earn some money that you can spend on game purchases or item purchases to expand your operations on the Steam marketplace.

Even if you do not become a full time trader, you can still sell the trading cards that you find in games that you play on the market.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Surv said on May 10, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Hey, sometimes I see a 404 website message when I browse this webpage. Just a heads up, best wishes

    1. Angelina Gudeeva said on August 26, 2019 at 8:32 pm
  2. oldtimer3 said on August 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    My steam account is worth 70 bucks! Can’t even give away 80% of the drops you find.

  3. TheMerricat said on July 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    The link to Steam Market Helper is broken because the developer accidently deleted the script while updating it. The new link for it is

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks, I have updated the article.

  4. ShawnS said on July 22, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I wasn’t even trying to capitalize on the trading cards and I made about $11 so far, largely from games I already owned.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I just read a story on Reddit by someone claiming to have paid for $225 worth of games with trading cards.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 22, 2013 at 9:37 am

      It is quite ok this way as well, making a few bucks on the side.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.