I am a very cheap player in that I refuse to mine ores without fortune. Since gold, iron, and copper, now receive fortune, I no longer have a reason to mine until at least mid-game. Quarries for stone in the sides of hills and geographic shields are sufficient; structures can supply me enough materials to get setup with a fishing station or a village trading network. They are quite common.
I also note that raw iron, copper, and gold, don't seem to spawn in loot tables anywhere just yet. Perhaps this will change, and I think it should.
Some other 'cheap' things I do:
- I only break trees that are damaged or out of place - ones that were grown into by others overlapping, grew on sand or gravel, or above a pond.
I always replace them, but I will add my own trees and break them as I see fit.
-I never kill animals unless I can breed them beforehand. With no iron from shears, this means I am going to rely on string for wool from now on in the early days.
- I try not to break more stone or deepslate than I need to, because the cobbled versions stick out and unless that's intentional, I don't want to replace them. Silk touch is a nice perk but what little 'mistakes' I make can be rectified with symmetry or with smelting.
- I find that XP bottles give so little xp that they're only worth using when you are at level 2 or lower.
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A trapdoor or bucket of water is a great way to force yourself into a crawlspace.