With every financial action in torn you are interacting either with the game, or a player. Both have an impact on your networth, but only those with the game impact the economy as a whole.
An example – I may buy a beer from the city, costs me $10, which goes to the game. I can then drink the beer, meaning $10 has disappeared from the economy, or I can sell it to another player for $500. The item is still worth only $10 in the economy either way. And of course drinking it earns me 1 nerve, which can be worth anywhere from $1-$500.
Having played for a long time now I have made money from various things. Most of these have involved selling items to other players at higher prices than I got them from the game. So I’m taking money from other players *most* of the time, meaning somewhere along the lines there has to be a loser. Someone who buys the item from someone else and ends up keeping it (total loss), or selling it for less than they paid. Don’t be a loser!
You can easily work out if you are a “loser”, stats will tell you how much you have made from the bank, give you a rough idea of how much you have made from crimes, and tell you how much you have spent on drugs (use cheapest cost price per drug). If your networth is above this – winner. If not, you need to do better.
You can buy 100 things from the city each day, you get about 300 nerve through the day, you can buy lots of items abroad if you travel as much as possible. So make the most of these simple things, and be more wary of your trades. Check the circulation and price graphs of items you aren’t going to use quickly – it may be better to wait (or buy more than you need).
Bank any money you won’t trade with or buy stocks with, The more cash you have on hand the more wasteful you are being. And finally never let any of your cool downs be any less than a second – buy 100 beer and use them if nothing else, each beer you buy is an instant profit (unless you still do pickpocket kid crimes or under)