So you’ve played Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Maybe you’ve played it a lot. And if you have, you’ve probably realized that there is more or less a single goal within the Animal Crossing world: to make lots and lots of bells (AC currency). Between public works projects, home expansions, and compulsive buying in shops, you will soon find (if you haven’t already) that your account quickly runs dry. Now, I’ve played every Animal Crossing game, and I have spent more time than I’d like to admit collecting bells in various ways. If you find yourself frequently running low on funds, hope is not lost! Because while there are definitely more pricey things to spend bells on in New Leaf, it is also the game in which bells are easiest to come by. And I’m here to tell you how.

Want to become a wealthy, coffee-drinking yuppie like me? Read on...
Want to become a wealthy, coffee-drinking yuppie like me? Read on…

Tortimer Island

Tortimer Island is one of the most exciting aspects of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and also the game’s biggest opportunity to max out your wallet. If you forego the medal-awarding minigames (which can get you some great prizes, by the way), you can rent tools from the gyroid outside for the opportunity to catch some rare fish and bugs. But this is old hat to anyone who has played the game for more than a couple of days. The real secret is to visit the island at night, when the most expensive beetles appear on the palm trees around the edges of the island. Most of these bugs sell for over a thousand bells each, and on rare occasion, up to 15,000 bells (in the case of the elusive golden stag). After disposing of less valuable bugs and fish before leaving the island, it’s not uncommon to return with a haul of over 200,000 bells worth of goods. Don’t feel like waiting until the evening? Club Tortimer often sends you to an island at night, even if it’s daytime in your timezone.

6,000 bells in the pocket for one of these beauties.

Fishing (Strategically)

Nothing is more frustrating than coming across horse mackerel after horse mackerel. Quite a few Animal Crossing players I know choose to spend their time catching bugs over the more tedious fishing route, but fishing pays off big time if you know how to work the system.

First, know the prices of the fish you’re selling. Horse mackerel are worthless. Yes, even more worthless than sea bass. And crucian carp are worth less still. Clown fish sell for more bells than you’d expect, and a pouch full of red snappers can bring in a hefty paycheck. So don’t make assumptions, and sell fish individually to Reese until you’ve got a grasp of the pricing. It will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Also,  fish at the right times. Rain is good, thunderstorms are better. If you walk outside and the skies are lit up like it’s Christmas, break out that fishing rod–it’s prime coelacanth season. Sharks are also more likely to be found on summer evenings and nights, and these suckers can fetch up to 15,000 bells each at the recycle shop. Memorizing the average sizes and movement patterns of fish can be helpful as well, but maybe I’m just way too addicted to this game.

Okay, maybe it's not quite as simple as pulling out your fishing rod.
Okay, so maybe it’s not quite as simple as pulling out your fishing rod.

Foreign Fruit

One of the first things my friends and I did when we got this game was exchange fruit from our towns. I got lucky, because miraculously, the first four friends I played with all had different fruits. Don’t know other people who play ACNL (what kind of friends do you have, seriously)? Isabelle will even help you out early in the game and give you a basket of fruit from her hometown. Isn’t that sweet? And for all that’s good on this pixelated earth, don’t sell it. Plant it. Soon enough, you will have groves of expensive fruit trees, the bearings of which you can sell to Reese for a pretty penny.

“But what about island fruit?” you might ask. In my opinion, it’s not worth your time. Island fruit, foreign or not, sells for only 250 per unit, and while this is more than the 100 bells for native fruit, it’s still half the price of fruit from another town. They might look pretty, but if you want to make money, island fruit trees are a waste of space.

One of these trees is not like the others.
Sing with me, one of these trees is not like the others!

Perfect fruit is also a venture worth pursuing. When you enter your new town for the first time, there will be a tree somewhere with a shiny fruit. Plant it. It will grow into a perfect fruit tree, and after planting a few of the fruits that this tree bears, you will be in business. But be warned: perfect fruit trees are fragile and can die on the spot if they are shaken too often. Still, because perfect fruit sell for 600 bells per unit, the risk is worth the reward.

A perfect cherry tree next to a cherry tree, for comparison.
A perfect cherry tree next to a cherry tree, for comparison.

Bell Boom Ordinance

This one is a bit tricky. The Bell Boom ordinance, which you can enforce by speaking with Isabelle and paying 20,000 bells, raises prices of goods by 20%. The items you sell will be worth more, but the prices of items sold in shops will cost more as well. It basically leads to inflation in your town, and at first I didn’t understand why this was such a good thing (I have taken introductory economics, after all). However, I found that Nook, being the economically challenged raccoon that he is, does not raise prices of loans. Therefore, if you take my above advice and collect all things organic, from bugs to fruit to fish, and then sell them to Reese, you will be able to pay off your home loans at a rate 20% faster than you would have been able to do without the ordinance in place. Not such a bad deal after all, is it? Just be warned that this is an ordinance for an entrepreneur; if you’re a shopaholic, this is probably not the right ordinance for you. But if you didn’t want to make money, you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Actually, I would like to discuss your criminal record of enslaving humans and breaking child labor laws. Yes, Nook. I know.
Actually, I would like to discuss your criminal record of enslaving humans and breaking child labor laws. Yes, Nook. I know.

Now you know everything there is to know (or at least everything I know) about making bells in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. So go out and keep that lazy raccoon busy with home expansions, and make your town beautiful with public works projects! Buy what you want to in shops, and if you’re crazy enough, you might even save enough to buy that 1,200,000 bell crown sold in Able Sisters. Crazier than me, at least, and that’s saying a lot.

Happy hoarding!


One thought on “Ring Them Bells: How to Get Rich Quick in New Leaf”

  1. Thank you for the article, it is rather useful, will surely try to research what you have indicated… there is certainly only one point I want to talk about in more detail, I wrote an email to your handle about it.

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