Any smartphone user who has spent enough time playing Pokemon GO will tell you that Stardust is a very important item within the game, for a number of reasons. To begin with, Stardust is the main ingredient required for powering up Pokemon in order to increase their HP and CP. Secondly; Stardust can only be acquired through in-game actions, and is not available for purchase from the in-game shop, which makes it that much more of a precious commodity. Pokemon GO awards Stardust in several ways, and assuming that you’re fairly new to the game, below you will find information regarding how Stardust can be acquired, and how new players should spend it (or not) in order to get the most out of their Pokemon GO experience later on.
The primary source of Stardust is catching Pokemon. Indeed, each time a trainer catches a Pokemon, they will be awarded 100 Stardust and 3 Pokemon Candy specific to the said Pokemon. But unlike Candy, of which there are multiple types – one for each Pokemon - Stardust is a universal resource, and is used for powering up all the Pokemon in your collection. In other words, each time you catch a Pokemon, even a common one with poor stats, you are indirectly working towards upgrading your favorite or more powerful Pokemon. Stardust will also be awarded when hatching an egg. The game allows trainers to incubate Pokemon eggs which will hatch after traveling 2 km, 5 km, or 10 km, and evidently the rewards, including Stardust, will be higher for eggs that require more distance traveled to hatch. The third and more rewarding – albeit less certain – way to acquire Stardust is to defend a Gym. At level 5, Pokemon trainers are able to join one of the three teams in Pokemon GO, namely Team Valor, Team Instinct, or Team Mystic, and are able to defend their team’s Gyms (or capture unclaimed Gyms for their team) for a number of Defender Bonus rewards – one of which comes in the form of Stardust awarded once every 21 hours.
Once your Stardust pile starts growing, the key is to manage it properly and not spend it on unnecessary upgrades. Lower level Pokemon don’t require a lot of Stardust to be upgraded, but the cost increases as the Pokemon grow stronger, so the higher a trainer’s level is, the more powerful Pokemon he or she will catch, and the more Stardust will be required for powering up newer Pokemon. Another aspect to keep in mind is that the first Pokemon you catch will quickly be overpowered by newer Pokemon, and thus it’s not advised to spend too much Stardust (or at all) on low-level Pokemon who don’t have a lot of room to grow. Instead, you could focus primarily on your most powerful Pokemon, and save most of the Stardust for later on. It’s better to be safe than sorry.