Top 5 Early Game Ways To Make Money in Stardew Valley

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At the start of Stardew Valley, the player character is shown abandoning a corporate job to take care of their Grandpa’s old farm and connect to nature in Pelican Town.

That said, looking for a more natural lifestyle doesn’t mean you don’t want to make money.

Capitalism seeps into everything – and that includes your fantasy cottagecore life. If you want to make your ghost grandpa proud when he checks up on you at the end of Year 2, you’ll need a lot of money.

There are countless ways to earn money in SV, but some are more efficient than others.

If you have decision paralysis during the Spring of Year 1, you’ve come to the right place.


5. Fishing & Foraging

Fishing & Foraging in Stardew Valley

Making money in the early game is like starting a business in real life.

At first, you lack capital and knowledge, but if you’re willing to work and stay focused, you’ll start growing your bank account in no time. You just have to get started!

You can do two things to make money from the very first day after you move into your Grandpa’s old farm: fishing and foraging.

Pelican Town and its surroundings are full of gifts of nature waiting for you to reach down and pick them up. You can forage mushrooms, berries, and herbs from the forest and other green areas, or head down to the beach to pick up valuable shells.

While you’re there, you might as well spend some of your energy fishing.

Many fish sell for a ton of cash, and you can make some energizing Sashimi from the cheaper ones.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to rummage through the town’s trash cans when nobody is looking. You never know what you may find!


4. Mining

Mining Stardew Valley screenshot

On the fifth of Spring, you’ll get a letter announcing that the entrance to The Mines has been cleared of boulders.

To scale up your farming business, you better start mining immediately.

Not only are the gems and ore you find down in the mines usually very valuable, but you’ll need a lot of them to upgrade your tools and craft farm equipment.

Heading into the mines can be a great way to make some cash initially, but your priority is collecting enough copper, iron, and gold to craft Furnaces, Tappers, and Artisan Equipment.

Most importantly, you’ll need these resources to create Sprinklers and stop wasting time watering your crops every morning. Time is money!

Pro tip: Mining is a very Energy-intensive activity, and the monsters will inevitably lower your Health. Make sure to save some of your forage and Sashimi to eat while working underground.


3. Grow Hops

Grow Hops in Stardew Valley

Ideally, you want to have some Quality Sprinklers available by Summer.

That way, you can plant a bunch of Hops around your Sprinklers and sit back and relax while nature takes care of everything else.

But why Hops?

Really, you could plant just about any other re-growing plant and get the same level of automation, but Hops have a crucial advantage: they can be aged in a Keg to make Pale Ale.

Each unit of Hops sells for a conservative 25g, but Pale Ale is valued at 300g – a 12x increase from a couple hours in a Keg.

After the first 11 days of growth, a Hops trellis will produce Hops daily – you just need to keep harvesting!

Pro tip: Other than Pale Ale, turning Hops into Hops Starters through the Seed Maker is also a good idea. It only increases their value by 5g, but you occasionally get Ancient Seeds too.


2. Raise Chickens

Raise Chickens Stardew Valley screenshot

Chickens are the Hops of the animal kingdom.

Not only are they adorable, but they’re basically money printers who require relatively little care.

Just keep their feeding bench full of hay, and they’ll keep churning out Eggs every day non-stop for the entire year.

Don’t forget to give the birds some love, though. The more they like you, the more likely they are to lay Large Eggs, which sell for much more than the regular kind.

Even more importantly, Large Eggs turn into Gold-Quality Mayonnaise when processed in a Mayonnaise Machine.

That’s 285g per bird per day!

Pro tip: This money-making method takes some time to get going due to the cost of building the coop, but you’ll recover that 4,000 g in less than a week if you turn every Egg into Mayonnaise.


1. Make Artisan Items

Make Artisan Items in Stardew Valley

One of the essential tips to make money in the first year is to wait to sell everything you harvest or forage.

You need some money to keep things flowing smoothly at the farm, but you want to store most of your product so you can add value to it through Artisan Equipment.

Machines like Preserves Jars, Kegs, the Mayonnaise Machine, and the Cask are the beating heart of a bustling farm economy. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • The Mayonnaise Machine makes Eggs 3.8x as valuable.
  • The Preserves Jar makes any fruit or vegetable twice as valuable (+50g).
  • The Keg makes Hops 12x as valuable.
  • The Cask can make Wine, Cheese, and Beer up to twice as valuable by raising its quality.

Having a farm full of Artisan Equipment is your real endgame here. It’s the final frontier of “early game” money-making that’ll bridge the gap between your humble beginnings and your wealthy future.

Pro tip: If you’re following my advice, making Kegs is your #1 priority after the Sprinklers. Make sure you put some Tappers into Oaks at your farm ASAP so you can start harvesting Oak Resin weekly.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.