Free-energy (ATP) conservation during product formation is crucial for the maximum product yield that can be obtained, but often overlooked in metabolic engineering strategies. Product pathways that do not yield ATP or even demand input of free energy (ATP) require an additional pathway to supply the ATP needed for product formation, cellular maintenance, and/or growth. On the other hand, product pathways with a high ATP yield may result in excess biomass formation at the expense of the product yield. This mini-review discusses the importance of the ATP yield for product formation and presents several opportunities for engineering free-energy (ATP) conservation, with a focus on sugar-based product formation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These engineering opportunities are not limited to the metabolic flexibility within S. cerevisiae itself, but also expression of heterologous reactions will be taken into account. As such, the diversity in microbial sugar uptake and phosphorylation mechanisms, carboxylation reactions, product export, and the flexibility of oxidative phosphorylation via the respiratory chain and H+-ATP synthase can be used to increase or decrease free-energy (ATP) conservation. For product pathways with a negative, zero or too high ATP yield, analysis and metabolic engineering of the ATP yield of product formation will provide a promising strategy to increase the product yield and simplify process conditions.