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Much of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is centered around earning money. You sell bugs and fish you catch, diversify your island with pricier fruit, and profit from trading off materials and furniture. This is all so you can beautify your island, grow your town and expand your home.
Knowing the best ways to earn cash may not be obvious from the start. Unlike past games, New Horizons has two currencies: bells, which have been part of Animal Crossing since the GameCube days, and Nook Miles, a brand-new secondary form.
Earning Nook Miles is straight forward, as the game gives you guidance from the start. With Nook Miles, you can make special orders via the kiosk, which isn’t limited to furniture and items: you also unlock various game mechanics this way.
Bells still play an integral role, particularly for paying off your house loan (the first payment can be completed in Nook Miles, but the rest are in bells), buying clothing, building infrastructure and more.
Here are the best ways to become a bell-making machine in New Horizons.
Nook’s Cranny is the first shop to appear on your island. There you can sell various items to store owners Timmy and Tommy. Every day, a rotating “hot item” will be listed outside the shop (you can also inquire inside). Whatever is listed there can be sold for double its normal asking price, so this is an easy way to make a quick buck. New Horizons’s new crafting ability helps a fair bit, too: As long as you gather the needed materials and have learned the DIY (crafting) recipe, you should be able to construct the hot item at a workbench. One of the most profitable hot items I saw in rotation thus far was the gong, which when doubled, netted me 10,000 bells per piece. Keeping a stock of common items like wood, iron and weeds in your house’s storage can help if a hot item needs those materials to be built.
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Animal Crossing is a series that progresses in real-time, meaning that when it’s dark outside in the real world, nighttime will also appear in your game. Right outside Nook’s Cranny you can find a drop box that lets you sell wares even after the shop closes at 10 p.m. But it’s best not to use it at all. If you’re someone who can only play at night, this is a handy feature, but every time you use it there’s a handling fee: Items are bought at 80 percent of their normal trade-in value and you only receive payment the next day. This means you would get significantly less money than selling during open store hours. If you’re inventory is full, you can just use your house storage to keep excess materials there that can be sold the following day.
Every day, you should go around your island and hit every rock with your shovel, because one of them has a stash of bells hidden inside. The amount varies, but hitting the rock numerous times in quick succession can net you the most.
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You can randomly find rare bugs and fish while you play, but I found catching bugs in the evening to be an efficient money maker.
Playing at night in past Animal Crossing games comes with significant restrictions. Shops are closed unless you have a town ordinance in place to keep them available into the late hours, and there are generally fewer things to do with your time. Shops close in New Horizons too, but there are still plenty of other activities (and nighttime-specific quests) to do.
If you want to make the most of your time, catching bugs in the evening hours (6 p.m. onward) can be immensely profitable. At least during the current season in the northern hemisphere (this is the only season I’ve played so far), you can catch a number of expensive critters. Tarantulas in particular aren’t all that rare; they roam your town and its outskirts at night fairly regularly, and they can be sold for 8,000 bells each. Pro tip: Tarantulas may seem difficult to catch at first, but if you spot one in the distance, you can approach it slowly by holding down A with your net in hand. From there, the tarantula will lift its front legs to charge. That’s the sign to stop. Then just move closer, inch by inch. When it’s legs go down and you’re finally close enough, trap it with your net.
As for other insects, emperor butterflies (4,000 bells) can be found during early mornings and all through the night, particularly near cliffs and flowers. Man-faced stink bugs are also worthwhile, which go for 1,000, but they’re so common that you can find a number at a time.
On certain days during the week, special visitors will come visit your town for an allotted time. This includes C.J. the live-streaming fisherman (he uh, looks at fishing like it was an esport) and Flick, the bug aficionado. You can sell some items that are specific to their interests at a premium rate.
In the early hours of the game, Tom Nook will request 5,000 Nook Miles from you to receive a tent and then 98,000 bells to convert it into a house. Once that’s done, it’s best to hold off on expanding your home so you can save money to help finish off quests (like beautifying your town) and subsequently unlock other features more quickly. Of course, this decision is entirely yours, but for those that want the entire palette of game mechanics and features, saving up early on can help make that easier.
Animal Crossing fans will know that Joan arrives now and again to sell her batch of turnips to you. In New Horizons, you will want to continue to keep an eye out Sunday mornings — but instead of Joan, her granddaughter Daisy Mae takes her place. By Monday, you can sell turnips that you’ve bought, but be warned: there is a risk of losing significant amounts of money too. On Sundays, turnip prices don’t change; Daisy Mae will have a standard fee that’s between 90 to 110 bells per turnip. You can buy a batch and keep an eye on the fluctuating prices at Nook’s Cranny through the week, and eventually, you may encounter a day where your turnips can be sold at a profit. Be warned, though: turnips go rotten after a week.
Mystery Island Tours are procedurally generated trips to faraway islands that cost 2,000 Nook Miles to visit. From there, you can continue to do most of what you do on your own island (catch bugs, go fishing, dig for fossils, and so on) but there’s a chance of the island spawning unique fruit and materials. You can harvest pears and bamboo, for example, which can be sold back at your respective island home for a heftier price than your native fruit would. Plus, planting these fruits on your island will result in fruit trees in a few days time, so you can harvest from a bigger variety every day without spending the extra Nook Miles.
Additionally, if you bring your native island’s fruit to a friend’s island via online play, you can sell your fruit for a better price. If your friends are generous, they may let you grab different fruit from their island too.
This wasn’t a feature I touched much, but if you have Nook Miles to spare, you can always convert them into bells at the Resident Services kiosk in the town center. The kiosk will print out a voucher, which you can bring to Nook’s Cranny in exchange for 3,000 bells. Now, if only you could convert bells into Nook Miles, too.
Every day, you can find fossils if you dig at randomized spots around your island. After being assessed by Blathers, the local owl who runs the museum, you have several options: keep these for yourself to display in your home, donate to them to the museum, or sell them at Nook’s Cranny. I suggest donating to the museum when you can, so you can grow your collection there, and then sell excess fossils (ones that are already donated and featured in exhibitions) to Nook’s Cranny. Finding doubles of fossils you’ve already given to the arts tends to happen often enough that you can make a good profit here, with some selling as high as 7,000 bells.
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