You also want to have around 2000 pounds in the end, and you don't want to waste too many bullets in the process. If you shoot a buffalo (or, later in the game, a bear), don't shoot again; you've already eaten enough. The more expensive items on the market are not all that necessary - for example, you can buy almost 300 pairs of pants for $10,000-$20,000. It's your call how much money to spend over time.
When you first start out on the Oregon Trail, it's best to keep what you have because more things will become available as you go along. For example, if you don't purchase a wagon until late in the game, you won't be able to transport anything else but your own belongings.
Once you have collected enough resources to build a house, you'll gain access to some additional options. For example, you can now buy furniture in which to store your goods. There are three types of buildings you can construct at home: storage sheds, tents, and cabins. A storage shed is small but offers the most protection from weather-related damage. A tent is large but doesn't provide much protection from wind or rain. A cabin is medium in size and has two rooms: a main room and a loft. You can only build one cabin per location on the map.
When you first start the game, you should buy the following items: 5 to 10 boxes of ammunition, 2 oxen, 2 sets of clothing, 1 of each spare part, and 75 pounds of food. When the trail begins, hunt once a day (for big game) until the game becomes sparse, then switch to every other day. When there is no more game to be found, stop looking for land.
The price of everything on the trail will increase as you go along, but you can sell any item that you don't need anymore for profit. At the end of each week, count your money and see what parts of your budget you can afford to spend more money on (e.g., better clothes). If you want more money, go look for work.
At the beginning of each season, you should check with the town mayor or leader of the settlement to make sure you are allowed to travel the Oregon Trail. If not, move on to another site. The last thing you want is for the government to forbid people from leaving their state!
Once you're allowed to travel the trail, set out with your oxen from the beginning station toward the end station. Travel only during daylight hours; otherwise, you might get attacked by wild animals. Don't forget to take your time through small towns and cities, visit museums, and enjoy entertainment like plays and concerts.
You can only take 100 pounds of meat every day, and you can only have 2000 pounds of food in your wagon at any given moment. Still, if you're aiming for a high score or are very hungry, hunting is at least as nice as relaxing. You can eat as much meat as you want whenever you want, but don't overdo it because that will decrease your speed.
The most you can carry in your wagon at once is 40 gallons of water, which should be enough to get you through the desert area in California. In fact, you'll need more like 60-80 gallons of water per person daily if you want people to think you're not a crazy person.
In addition to meat, you can also carry flour, cornmeal, rice, potatoes, beans, candy, and other foods that require no cooking. It's up to you what you bring with you but remember that you can only bring so much before it starts slowing you down so try to keep that in mind when making decisions about which items to pick up.
Food is heavy! The more food you bring, the slower you'll go so be sure to only bring what you can carry for more than five miles per hour.
Of course, you can also trade with others for better supplies or avoid bringing anything at all and rely on towns to provide you with food.