How to make money in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Tom Nook is breathing down your neck. That’s how it feels, at least. He’s hardly demanding you pay off that expensive home loan before he busts your kneecaps, but you’re sick of the paranoia: The thought of him watching you spend every bell on Mabel’s sweet threads or a massive toilet at his kid’s market instead of chipping away at your debt. So you want to make that Animal Crossing money fast.

New Horizons is already the most successful entry in the entire franchise. It’s also the most extensive release by far, adding intricacies on top of familiar challenges.
how to plant money tree animal crossing new horizons glowing spot

Even if you’re not planning on paying him off anytime soon, with so many resources popping up on your island every second of every day, it’s hard not to think about the money you’ve lost by setting your Switch down for even a second. Whether you’re saving for that next home upgrade or trying to make your island traversable without relying on an Olympic sport, we’ve got a bunch of tips to help farm bells in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Daily activities

A fundamental part of Animal Crossing life, daily activities are like a morning ritual. We’ve touched on them in our beginner’s guide, but there’s a lot more to go through. They’ve barely changed since the first game. If you’re looking to scrape some cash together without much thought, getting these activities done each day will award reliable, consistent income.

Whack-a-rock: The two-hole technique

Animal Crossing money rock method

With crafting being such a main feature in New Horizons, we’re hitting more rocks than ever before. It’s now even more important to learn the tried-and-true tradition of positioning yourself to get the most out of your island’s geography.

Every rock on your island can spit out eight materials per day. Most will be stone, clay, iron, or sometimes gold, but one will have nothing but bank. Getting eight taps out of each rock is a science, though. The moment you hit a rock for the first time that day, an invisible timer begins to count down — and every millisecond counts.

To ensure you’re not pushed back by enough taps to cost you the final whack, make sure to dig two holes behind you before you start the process. This way, you won’t be pushed back enough to fail a strike, almost guaranteeing you get the best result. Just don’t stop spamming that A button until you’ve wrangled every last bell out of it for a total of around 15,000.

Sell everything you catch: Sea bass and bug prices

Animal Crossing sea bass

You won’t know what you’re fishing for until you reel it in. It’s probably a black/sea bass, but it could be something bigger. Something better. But if you’re out fishing hoping to reel in something big, don’t be discouraged by a swarm of bass filling your inventory. They’re still worth something. About 400 bells. Even if a fish or bug isn’t worth a fortune to the Nook twins, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother to hand it over. Money is money.

You can control what you catch when it comes to bugs, though, assuming you have an eye for that kind of thing. It’s not going to be worth your time to catch common butterflies when you need a few hundred thousand bells fast, but if you happen to have a bunch of low-paying produce on hand, make the most of it, you know?

Plant a money tree: They’re no myth

Animal Crossing money tree

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed a glowing patch of grass somewhere else on your island every day. Dig it up, and you get 1,000 bells. It may not sound like much pocket money, but take another look. That patch is still glowing when you extract the cash, right? Well, toss that bag of cash back in there, and you’ll sprout a money tree in a few days’ time with sacks of bells hanging from it like fruit.

These won’t regrow like fruit, and you’ll only get 3,000 bells per day if you throw back in what you get. But play it smart. Instead of that chump change, dump a sack of 10,000 bells in the hole, and you’ll boost the payout to 30,000 per tree. Not bad for nothing, right?

Make the most of the hot item: Turn trash (or gold) into bells

Animal Crossing hot item

This isn’t something you’ll do every single day, but it’s one to watch out for at least. Each day, Timmy and Tommy pay double for a certain item. It’s always one you have the DIY recipe for, so you can almost always put this opportunity to good use. I’m not going to suggest you burn through your supply of iron ore whenever they ask for a table, but it’s a good way to turn any excess or common materials into a decent payday. You have a lot of trees on your island, right? So if you’re not using that wood for anything else, why not turn them into a load of benches, chairs, or beds whenever they’re paying out for them?

When you start to learn some more elusive recipes, you can even double the worth of something like gold nuggets. Though you can sell these for 10,000 bells a pop, using one to craft a hot item like the Golden Gears will immediately bump up the return to anywhere over 20,000 bells. That 2x increase can really add up.

Gather up some trash: Giant clam and conch prices

Animal Crossing Giant Clams

As you stroll around your island day after day, you’ll likely come to realize most of what’s lying on the ground or fluttering through the air isn’t really worth all that much. Common butterflies, long locusts, and sand dollars aren’t worth grasping at unless your wallet is feeling incredibly light. There are better ways to make a living, right? But you should keep an eye out for some more lucrative, uncommon shells and bugs.

A mantis on a flower or a conch or giant clam on your shores can still fetch around 1,000 bells apiece. Sure, you won’t be making a killing doing this, but it could be just what you need to tip you over into financial independence or that second or third house upgrade.

Sell duplicate fossils

Animal Crossing fossil prices

When Blathers identifies a duplicate fossil in your inventory, he ponders buying it for his own personal collection. But he won’t. He could have been the Flick or C.J. of the fossil market, but we’re left with only one other option — peddling them off to the Nook twins.

You can find around four to six fossils each day in your town by digging up cross-pattern markers. Go get these assessed by Blathers to uncover their true names, donate whatever isn’t in the museum already, and sell the rest. Or just sell them all!

Most fossils are worth a few thousand bells each, so there’s a decent amount of money to made each day. You can find fossils on Nook Miles Ticket island tours, too, so there’s a bonus incentive to jetting off. More on that a little later.

Grow non-native fruit: How to get non-native fruit on your island

Animal Crossing non-native fruit

If this is your first Animal Crossing title, you might have wondered why everyone shared which fruit their island had at the very start. It wasn’t just to shove it in the face of peach fans who had nothing but pears. Every island is assigned one native fruit: Peaches, pears, oranges, apples, or cherries. There are coconuts, too, but you can only grab these from Nook Miles Ticket islands without resorting to other players who’ve already nabbed one to cultivate.

Your island’s native fruit isn’t worth much to the Nook twins. They’re a common sight. But get your hands on any other fruit not native to your island, and you can start to make some good money.

The trick here is to track down these non-native fruits and plant them on your island to begin growing more. You can turn one tree’s worth of cherries into three more trees and nine cherries, and the multiplication can just go from there. And you don’t need to rely on random Nook Miles Ticket tours or friends and family, either. Your virtual Mom ships you a non-native fruit shortly after you arrive on the island. Plant that to begin your fruit market monopoly.

Other than to show off or help out other players, there’s no real benefit to having all the non-native fruits grow on your island. They’re all worth the same in the shop.

Long-term gains

Just like real life, sometimes you just need to think in the long-term. You can’t rely on becoming a millionaire overnight. Good things come to those who wait and all that. Play the long game with some of these long-term bell-farming techniques, and you’ll make it big sooner or later. It pays to be patient.

Save your rarest bugs and fish: The most valuable Animal Crossing fish and insects

Animal Crossing tarantulas

If you’re at all invested in Animal Crossing social media, you’ll know people go nuts for the rarest creatures. Tarantulas, stringfish, oarfish, and the elusive coelacanth are all fine examples of specimens that Timmy and Tommy will pay a pretty penny for.

But wait! Don’t give those capitalist crooks these veritable gold mines. They’ve learned a few too many tricks from their wise old dad. Support visiting merchants like C.J. and Flick to get quite a bit more change from these sought-after creatures. Here’s a bunch of the rarer species to look out for and what they’re worth to the Nook twins. Add 50% onto that price for what C.J. and Flick will give you for them instead:

  • Tuna — 7,000
  • Tarantula — 8,000
  • Oarfish — 9,000
  • Blue marlin — 10,000
  • Barreleye — 15,000
  • Gold trout — 15,000
  • Coelacanth — 15,000

You can’t really predict when C.J. will come along looking for fish, or when Flick will appear to buy up your insects, but sticking your best catches in storage until they do will be worth it in the long run. Both these merchants offer a 50% premium on their speciality. Say you catch 20 tarantulas on a Nook Miles Ticket island tour. Nook’s entrepreneurial offspring will give you 160,000 for the lot. Sounds great, right? Well, sell them to Flick and you’ll net a cool 240,000 bells instead. Take that, capitalism!

Play the stalk market: How to use turnips to make millions

Animal Crossing turnip market

Stocks. Stalks. Stonks. Call them what you want. Just like real life, this is where the big bucks are made. Turnips are the name of the game, and you can make a killing flipping these root vegetables each and every week. But it’s a bit of a gamble. If you don’t have the connections to make the most of this business opportunity, exercise due caution.

The stalk market is the process of selling turnips for more than you paid for them. Every Sunday before noon, Daisy Mae can be found wandering around your island. As the child of Joan — the queen mama of the stalk market — this sniffly boar has gotten involved in the family business. You can buy as many turnips from her as you can handle for a price that changes with each visit. Sell these to the Nook twins before they spoil the following Sunday, and you could earn yourself a very tasty profit.

The price the Nook twins will offer for your turnips changes twice each day: Before noon, and after noon. They can offer far below what you might have paid, or several times that on any given day, so it’s incredibly important that you keep checking in and try your luck. Prices are said to more commonly peak on Tuesdays, with Saturday generally offering the worst trade-in value. So hit up a few friends for their island’s prices throughout the week, and look to make as much cash as you can.

The average cost of these things is 90 to 110 bells each. Fill your inventory for 380,000, track down an island dishing out 400 to 500 bells for the things, and you can come to earn a cool 1,000,000-plus bells in a week. A peak of about 150 bells per turnip tends to be the most common midweek boom, so if you don’t want to risk losing it all, this kind of price is when you should look to sell. Rinse and repeat this each week, and you’ll never have to think about shaking trees to buy Raymond a present ever again.

Go on island tours: Which Nook islands to look out for

Animal Crossing random island

Spending 2,000 Nook Miles on a Nook Miles Ticket island tour isn’t an easy purchase. Especially once the Town Hall machine starts offering things like expensive swimming pools and outdoor baths. But if you really need the cash, jetting off can prove its worth.

Nook Miles Ticket island tours dump you on a preset island chosen at random. Sure, you might just find more of your native fruit and a fossil or two on most, but you can find some real gems from time to time. Head out in the evenings and you might find tarantula island — a great place to prep for a visit from Flick. Some islands have a boosted chance of spawning rare fish like the coelacanth or gold trout, too. But if you notice a massive moat in the center of your destination with nothing but rocks on the tiny landmass in the middle, congratulations, you’ve made it to Money Rock Island.

Just like back home, this island has a rock with stacks of money waiting to be whacked out of it: Only it has five. There’s even a sixth rock with money inside you need to break to bridge the gap. It might not have the payout of a perfect tarantula island run, but a 90,000 bells return on 2,000 Nook Miles isn’t a bad profit at all.

Earn interest on your savings! When is interest paid in?

animal crossing interest rates

Yes, Animal Crossing has a bank. Just like real life, it offers us interest on our savings. It’s not going to earn you another million bells overnight (unless you’re filthy stinking rich already), but it’s another case of getting something for nothing.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ interest rates are set at 0.5%. Based on however much you slide into your account before the first of each month, you’ll get a tiny fraction of that deposited on top of your savings when a new month rolls around. A 0.5% rate for 1,000,000 bells is a measly 5,000, so while your fortune won’t multiply overnight, it certainly won’t go down. Just dump your savings into the bank on the last day of the month and you’ll wake up to a little extra.

Thinking ahead

For now, that’s your lot. With Nintendo keen to toss events our way for the foreseeable future, there’s a good chance additional money-making methods will sprout up over time. Run along, now. Time is money after all.

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