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Making money in Stardew Valley can be a confusing mess of options; it can take a lot of work to narrow down the best ways to make money. That is why I am here, reader! The game is broken up into three stages, each offering different ways to make money.
Knowing if you’re early, mid, or late game will change your experience immensely, from crops you can plant to places you can explore. Also, knowing this will adjust how you make money, since the longer you are in the game, the more money you can make and have to make.
Bottom Line Upfront
Today I’ll be going over the best ways to make money in each stage of Stardew Valley: early game, mid-game, and late game. This includes farming, mining, and animal keeping, plus more weird or uncommon ways.
It can be difficult, but when you know exactly what to do or have a plan on how to do it, making money becomes a lot easier. I’ll also share some tricks to maximize your efforts!
How Do You Know Where You Are in the Game?
If you don’t know where you are in the game, here’s how to tell:
- Depending on how fast you work, early game is usually years 1-3
- You’re still working on the Community Centre
- You haven’t made your way to the mines
- You’ve donated 15 or fewer artifacts to the museum
- You’re married
- You have completed the Community Centre
- You’re starting Skull Cavern
- You have all gold upgraded tools
- Your barn is automated, or if you have all barn animals
- Everything is fully automated
- Iridium upgraded tools
- You have access to Ginger Island
- You have completed Grandpa’s Shrine (or are close to finishing it)
- If you have a dinosaur
- If you have or had multiple children or a fully upgraded and decorated house
Again, this is how to track where you are in the game. You’ll generally know what part you’re in since the pace of the game keeps picking up, much more money comes in, and you feel like you’ve done most or all of the quests.
How to Make Money in the Early Game
This sounds incredibly simple, but I never realized how profitable fishing could be in the early game. You get a fishing pole almost immediately, fishing costs nothing but energy, and you can catch many fish in a day. Plus, when your energy runs low, you can eat some of the fish you just caught!
Now, it’s a well-known fact that some of us hate fishing with a passion, but it’s fantastic to earn enough money to buy more crops, upgrades, etc., to start making better revenue somewhere else. Of course, fishing has good days and bad days, but you’re guaranteed at least 300g if you catch four to six fish. It’s also a quick way to rush the backpack upgrade (something I do knowing full well I need other stuff more).
For the best fish finds, head to the beach or the river, as ponds on your farm are far more likely to fish up trash than a running body of water will.
- Free source of income
- Can be highly profitable early game if you have some excellent catches (fish prices range; there are so many fish to catch!)
- Relatively easy, since it’s repetitive
- Did I mention it’s free?
- If you loathe fishing as I do, you may be grumbling angrily at all times while fishing
- All depends on your luck and your skill at fishing
- No particular fish are guaranteed, so you’ll never know the exact amount of money you’ll get
Foraging & Cutting Down Trees
I always, always choose the Forest Farm at the beginning of the game because you’ll be able to speed up the process of nearly everything: you can get hardwood on your farm that renews itself, you get seasonal forage opportunities on your farm, like mushrooms, berries, etc.
The Forest Farm also has a unique weed that gives mixed seeds when broken open, so you’ll be able to (almost, if not always) have a supply of mixed seeds for any given season.
You may be asking, what does that have to do with earning money? Well, it is very easy to get and sell foraged items—and for even more money, hardwood, which sells for 15g, far more than the 2g of regular wood! The only minus for selling hardwood over regular wood is that getting hardwood is only easy if you have the Forest Farm.
What benefits are there to selling regular wood? Trees outside your farm will regrow, so you don’t have to replant and regrow it yourself. Either way, you only need a full day and some energy to cut wood and forage across the entirety of Stardew Valley.
- Easy and free
- Can eat foraged items to regain the energy you lost from cutting down trees
- While this is a low-income activity, it makes up in mass. Forage respawns every day, so you can look for new and exciting stuff first thing when you log in
- If you have the Forest Farm, you can sell hardwood and readily find more forage
- If you forage and harvest trees too much, there won’t be time for resources to grow back, and you might lose resources for a while
- Trees are not an unlimited resource, and take a long while to grow back, or replant and grow (if it’s a stump, it takes ten days; if you cut it completely down, it takes a week for another sapling to show up)
How to Make Money in the Mid Game – Ancient Seeds
Once you get your hands on an ancient seed and donate it to the museum, you’ll be rewarded with a plantable seed! Getting an ancient seed can happen at any point in the game, but in every run I’ve done, I got it as I was fully automating my farm (so around mid-game)
It can be found by digging up an artifact spot and has a 0.7 chance of dropping from artifact sites. It can also be dropped by some cave bugs at a 0.5% chance each. There is also a slim chance (1.26%) of purchasing it from the traveling merchant.
The key is to grow and NOT sell your ancient fruit immediately. This is one of the highest-priced crops in Stardew Valley, and there are two ways to optimize turning these free seeds into a moneymaking opportunity.
Craft the Seed Maker
The recipe for crafting the Seed Maker is available in several ways:
- Once you’re at level 9 in farming
- By completing the dye bundle for the Community Centre
- Occasionally found in treasures in Skull Cavern
Any produce you put into the Seed Maker will be turned back into seeds, giving you anywhere from one to three seeds. It might take a while to get enough where you can constantly put an ancient fruit in and get more seeds out, but once you do, you have a limitless supply of ancient fruit.
Utilize the Greenhouse
Even better, if placed in the greenhouse, ancient seeds will grow forever, as it’s a regrow plant. It takes 28 days to first harvest, and the crop will regrow every seven days after that, making it a perfect crop for year-round harvesting.
- Base price: 550g
- Silver quality: 687g
- Gold quality: 825g
- Iridium quality: a whopping 1,100g
Ancient Fruit Wine Prices
- Base price: 1,650g
- Silver quality: 2,062g
- Gold quality: 2,475g
- Iridium quality: a whopping 3,300g (Artisan profession=4,620g!)
Ancient Fruit Jelly Price
- Can be found in earlier game
- Costs nothing
- Is a regrow plant, making it cost-effective
- Extremely profitable when turned into wine or jelly
- Being able to get an ancient seed entirely depends on luck, so while it can be found early if lucky, it’s also possible to never find it
Ah, yes, pigs. I always rush them due to their absolutely CRACKED moneymaking ability with digging up truffles, but no matter how fast you try and get them, they’ll almost always be a mid-to-late game animal.
You can buy pigs after having completed the deluxe barn. Each pig costs 16,000g from Marnie, and they can start digging up truffles after the pigs fully mature (this takes ten nights of them eating every single day).
Truffles are an extremely profitable item, dropped when pigs are outside eating. Unfortunately, pigs cannot find truffles in winter, so it is a seasonal item.
One pig can dig up one to three truffles a day.
- Base price: 625g
- Silver quality: 781
- Gold quality: 937
- Iridium quality: a whopping 1,250
On top of that, if you have the Oil Maker (a craft unlocked at farming level 8), you can put any truffle in—and after six in-game hours, it’ll turn out truffle oil!
Truffle oil sells for 1,065g, so it’s a great way to maximize base truffles into a higher earning opportunity.
- Can be an extremely high reward; one pig can be paid off in an in-game month if it produces one base-price truffle
- Not available in winter, so if you stack up those truffles in fall, you can turn it all into oil for the winter
- You only need pigs (and grass to feed them, either right from your farm if you didn’t chop it all, or planted from grass seeds at Pierre’s), so overall it’s incredibly cheap in the longer run
- High base price, as pigs cost 16,000g each
- No truffles in winter or when it.s raining, since those little pigs won’t go outside
- Takes an exorbitant amount of money to get a deluxe barn and pigs, so you already need to have a decent income to start on pigs, but it’ll probably double your income once you start
How to Make Money in the Late Game
Kegs are a contraption that you put your goods into and get a drink out of when finished. Kegs are a late-game farmer’s dream. You can make wine, beer, tea, coffee, pale ale—everything!— and you can spam the crap out of it.
The most effective way to use kegs to make money is to use an entire deluxe barn and fill it with kegs.
There’s a trick, though: stack the kegs in a way where you can access all of them while leaving no space for animals, just a lane to walk. If you can get this deluxe barn setup going mid-game, you are on a fast track to the endgame. So whenever you can start kegs, DO IT.
Beverages made in kegs include:
- Input: Any veggie
- Income: 2.25x more than the veggie put in
- Input: Five coffee beans per keg
- Income: 150g
- Input: Wheat
- Income: 200g
- Input: Tea leaves
- Income: 100g
- Input: Any fruit
- Income: makes 3x more than the base price of the fruit put in
- Input: Honey
- Income: 200g
- Input: Hops
- Income: 300g
Making anything in a keg is extremely useful and a way to make more money from your crops.
Tip: You don’t want to use the better quality crops in kegs because it won’t get you the same quality beverage. I suggest only putting regular or silver crops into kegs, unless the wine makes more than the gold/iridium quality drink.
Kegs are best used in bulk; sometimes, it’s hard to find space for all that. So where else could you put them?
- The quarry
- The tunnel
- The basement in an upgraded house
- Deluxe barns (with no animals)
- The railroad
And many other places, but these five can hold the most kegs or are the most convenient. Warning: if it’s in an NPC’s way while walking, it will break, so beware!
They make much more money than the original crop you put in, but they can have their own star quality, which raises the price immensely. Especially if you have the Artisan profession (making 40% more), you’ll be making millions in a flash.
The higher the price of the crop, the higher the price of the drink, so think out what crops you would want and how much that would sell for as a drink at base price.
- Takes very little work, just keeping track of time so you can get your haul immediately when it’s finished
- Makes farming so much more worthwhile mid and late game
- Makes great gifts
- Earns you TONS of money. Even though it takes many days for the keg to spit out the deliciousness, it still makes a lot of g per day (obviously, this varies per component with juice and wine, which are the most profitable)
- Extremely easy and passive
- Perfect for speedruns that need money or drinks, since you don’t have to tend to kegs
- Still have to farm to get what you need to add to kegs
- Takes a long time to finish
- The more, the better. Most people usually put kegs everywhere, so if you only want a few, it may make less money than you expect
This is a resource I wasn’t aware of during my first run of Stardew Valley, and something people need to remember, as it is a fantastic passive income source that has a high ROI.
In a crystalarium, you can input gems and minerals (except prismatic shards); this will endlessly give you more of whatever you inserted. Depending on what you put in, it can take a day or a week to harvest these gems/minerals.
How to Get a Crystalarium
- Purchase it from the 25,000g gift in the vault of the Community Centre
- Occasionally can be found in a treasure room in Skull Cavern (don’t count on this)
- Craft a crystalarium! You’ll get the recipe when reaching mining level 9
Here is the list of what you will need to craft the crystalarium (this way, you can have as many of these as you want!):
- 99 stone
- Five cold bars
- Two iridium bars
- One battery pack
That might seem like a lot depending on how you play (I forgot how to make batteries and just never looked it up so on my first run, I just…didn’t), but I assure you that with thought, it is worth it.
Some gems and minerals are worth it, and some are not. Here are the ones that are worth your time:
- Sell for: 250g
- Time required to process: 2 days and 2 hours
- Per day earning: 150g
- Sell for: 200g
- Time required to process: 1 day and 16 hours
- Per day earning: 120g
(the Best Moneymaker Overall)
- Sell for: 750g
- Time required to process: 5 days
- Per day earning: 150g
(not the best moneymaker, but if you’re a Sebastian girlie like me, you can put in frozen tears, a loved gift for him)
- Sell for: 75g
- Time required to process: 18 hours and 40 minutes
- Creates an endless amount of whatever you put in
- Has a very set time that it’s done, and you don’t have to tend to it
- Great for winter moneymaking or a passive income
- You only need one of the gems or minerals to start the process
- Having a Geologist profession will increase your earnings by 30%
- Needs iridium to make, so if you don’t mine or are extremely bad at mining like me, it will be harder to get started
- You have to have what you want to duplicate first, so it may take time to find the gem or mineral
Question: What is the Easiest Way to Make Money?
Answer: Anything automated! Farm animals once you can have an auto-grabber, regrowing plants in the greenhouse, so they stay alive forever, or utilizing the Crystalarium, which gives you an unlimited amount of whatever material you input.
These aren’t the most profitable, but they are extremely easy, especially when you’re focusing on something else in the game and can’t constantly tend to your farm.
Question: Do I Have to Farm to Make Money?
Answer: No! I actively dislike most farming (I like the fall season, sometimes summer, but that’s it). However, if you want to get to the point where you don’t have to tend your farm and still get a profit, I recommend getting the greenhouse asap, as regrow crops will stay forever, and with automated sprinklers, you’ll only have to go in a few times a week.
If you don’t want to farm at all, I recommend mining, as selling stones, minerals, gems, etc. in bulk can really rank up that money, hunny.
Question: But what about Winter?
Answer: Ok, we all know winter is hard. No one wants to work away and dig up anything possible to get only minimal money. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: make money with anything automated, either inside or in the mines. I rush the greenhouse so I can fill it up for winter, but it’s a hard thing to unlock from the Community Centre.
On the other hand, if you’re ok with mining or checking on your farm animals constantly, that’s the best and least boring way to still make good money in winter.
How to Make Money In Stardew Valley: Conclusion
It was hard to narrow down a good way to make money that didn’t constantly annoy me and actually made me richer. Of course, there’s almost an endless amount of ways you can get that good cash, but finding a way that works for you is the most important part of making a cozy game, well, cozy.