Unfortunately this topic was doomed before I capitalized my "U," I know.
One always 'needs' more gold!
However, I'd like to take a quick stab at two simple questions that have not-so-simple answers.
..... and now that I'm actually writing the articles, this is going to be a two-parter. The latter question/answer will have to wait for a second post - coming soon! Anyway:
1) As a raider, how much gold can you expect to need to be able to do your job the best you possibly can, and 2) What are some ways to efficiently earn that amount. The latter, of course, is the source material for whole blogs, so I'll cover some basics, but leave the details to others.
So, How Much Gold Do You Need?
Many people can never get enough. Gevlon and others hoard gold for gold's sake. Others fuel their obsession with achievements or want that Traveler's Mammoth or motorcycle, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Consistent with my main goals as a raiding Death Knight, I'll form my answer simply around maximizing raid contributions, and try to give a reasonable range in my response, but I do assume one thing: min-maxing.
If you want to be the best raider you can be, you're not going to put non-epic gems in anything you bring to a raid. This was uncomfortable for me recently when I was told to bring two pieces of frost resistance gear to the Sindragosa fight. I knew I wounldn't even need to wear two pieces, as the primary killers in that fight are things I can deal with without the extra resistance, but 5 epic gems went into my frost resist boots and belt anyway! Similar min-maxing will be assumed for every other aspect of raiding as well.
So let's take a look.
Repairs. Some guilds will pay for some or all of these for you. In T10 gear, with plate, you're looking at around ~9g per death. I'll estimate 30 deaths each in 10- and 25-man content as long as you're working progression. This may vary dramatically given how many hours your group raids and how efficient you are at wipe recovery and learning strats. Let's say about 540g a week.
Consumeables. I use Mighty Strength for farming mobs that we one-shot every week. I still use my Dragonfin filet for myself and Spicy Mammoth Treats for my ghoul, but every once in a while I get lazy and eat a fish feast. For more difficult bosses that still take 2-3 attempts to down, or for progression, however, I go all out. That means endless rage, buff foods, double potting. These depend on your server, but let's say the food and pots are an average of 10g per attempt/pull. That's 300g, plus about 8 hours flasked and 8 hours of farming with strength elixir & food, about another 350g.
Gemming. Even if you're a JC (which of course I am), there's opportunity cost - equipping a gem you've cut is one you could be selling. Prices again vary by server, but I'll estimate. Early in content when you're replacing more gear, it will be more expensive, tailing off as you get most of the available gear. I'll estimate an average of 1.5 new pieces of gear per week that you have to enhance. That's very roughly about 2.25 gems a week; about 210g per red gem, about 470g per week. Some guilds provide gems - lucky you if so!
Enchanting. This one will vary a lot too. If you use a guild enchanter, you can save a lot of money, but I tend to buy scrolls except for big things like Super Stats to chest. I'll estimate 150g per enchantment - some are a lot less, some a lot more, so about 225g per week on this one.
Travel. There's always small costs associated with raiding. This might seem negligible, but flying in Northrend can really add up. I'd say, though, that this probably only puts us in the 10-15g range for a week's travel between instances, if you like to be at the entrance early like I do (and not make those poor warlocks work harder).
We could stop here, and it's really adding up, but we're not done yet! If you're truly a min-maxer, there is one other major category to consider.
Special/Crafted Gear. Often, not only will crafting or buying gear significantly upgrade your gear, it may even be best in slot for a time. The plate legs are currently the best available until upgrading the tier ones with a heroic token. And weapons.... ouch. When first starting Icecrown, many of us wanted an immediate upgrade, so we purchased a Quel'Delar or *gulp* Shadow's Edge (as I did). Of course, the cost for these can be stratospheric. My axe cost me over 60,000 gold, while the Quel'Delar ran people anywhere from 10,000g upwards to 50,000g for server firsts. The pants work out to about 20,000-25,000g worth of mats, not including buying the recipe. These items are outrageously expensive, yet being willing to buy one or more of these (I have the pants, too) is a part of doing your best as a raider. This is hard to average out, but we might say.... anywhere from 1,250g a week (20k gold, 16 weeks of raiding T10), to a somewhat crazy 5,000g a week.
Where does that leave us?
For a raider that wants to do their job well, you can expect to spend at least 1,650g a week, depending on your server's prices and what, if anything, your guild pays for. If you take into account buying some of the high end specialty items - like Shadow's Edge (You DO want a legendary some day, don't you?) - then your per-week costs for the top end of raiding can easily be in the 6,650g per week range!
6,920 gold per week for raiding end-game content!
1920g may sound like a lot, but it's really not. Not at all.
That's only about 270g per day.
You can do the daily profession quest - JC quest takes less than 15 minutes - and you're most of the way there! The daily heroic brings in good gold from the quest reward, triumph badges, random drops, disenchanting, and if you sell primordial saronite (from your frost badges), it's easily 250+ gold in 20-30 minutes. Just those two things will easily cover your mundane raid expenses easily.
However, 6k+ per week takes a little more work.
If you want to be your best, you should be willing to show up for raids prepared and in the best gear possible.
I'll work on an overview of how to make 1g a day without giving up your firstborn.