Carl's Sims 3 Guide - Skills, Traits, Careers, Rewards, and Lifetime Wishes for Ambitions and World Adventures

Carl's The Sims 3 Money Making from Self-Employment Tips

This Sims 3 Guide was originally written for the PC and Mac versions of the game, but also will help owners of the console versions - PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Please remember some info or numbers may have changed.

So, you don't want to cheat your way through the Sims, but don't want your Sim to have a career either. Well, I have good news. For players who don't want their Sims to be tied down with a career, there exists a large variety of ways to make money for your Household in the Sims 3. In this list, I'll briefly touch on the basic concepts of each of the ways for your Sims to be self-employed. There's a lot of money to be made out there for Sims who specialize in one of these money-making strategies. Some of these ways to make money are better than others. For example, Sims who explore catacombs for a living won't make a lot of money, but Painters will.

Rather than harp about a 'one best way' to make money in the Sims 3, I'd like to discuss the concept. If someone were to play only with the goal of making money, the game wouldn't be very fun. They might as well use the Money Cheats and Testing Cheats for the Sims 3. You should be thinking, "OK, I want to play a Sim that's got the bookworm trait. What's a good way for him to make money". If you just want to play an honest rich Sim, who gets easy money without a career or cheats, play an artist, or Sculptor if you own Ambitions.

Maybe self-employment just isn't for your Sims, and you'd like to see a career-money comparison. If you do want to know which career makes the most money, look to my Career Paths List A-L and Career Paths List M-Z for comparisons of the level 10 jobs' money making potential and career rewards in each career track. You may find you don't want the one that makes the most money, but one that works certain days or makes more in fewer hours.

Sims 3 Money Making Tips for Self Employment

Collecting - Collect Bugs, Rocks, Gems and Metals
There are several types of items to collect in the Sims 3. This can be a fun way to make money, as you never know what valuable item your Sim is going to find. To get started collecting, look around the town for items lying on the ground. They can be space rocks, metals or gems. Look for movement, because Sims can also collect two types of insects: beetles and butterflies.

The Collection helper lifetime reward can be a huge help to make collecting profitable. Sims will be able to see the location of every gem or insect on the map. Still, if your Sim finds a good spot and you don't have the collection helper, make note of where you found your collectible because they tend to spawn in the same locations.

Explore Catacombs Under the Graveyard
This is actually a poor way to make money, but I'm including it because it is viable. In the local graveyard is a mausoleum. Sims can explore the catacombs under the mausoleum and will sometimes find objects that can be sold, such as valuable books, Mysterious Mr. Gnome, and gems.

I tried to make a Sim who relied entirely on exploring the catacombs to make money, but it didn't go over very wel. Every trip to the catacombs will result in your Sim coming out horrified by something that happened to them. It's usually the zombie bears that get them. Because of this, on some days when exploring, your Sim will come out completely empty-handed. No traits seem to help with this mini-game.

Fishing for Lots of Fun and Big Money from Self Employment
Fisherman Sims can make a lot of money. They won't require any special investment to get started either, so Sims can go out and start catching fish on the first day. As the skill level gets higher, Sims will be able to catch more rare and valuable fish.

Fishing Sims can make a ton of money: easily make 4-6,000 a night catching death fish if they have angel fish to use as bait. Read my Fishing Guide for more information. Note that the Simoleons earned gets better as you have more perfect angel fish as bait and get better at catching these over time. You can eventually spawn a pond with 10 death fish to have access to them at any hours.

Gardening - Satisfaction from the Earth
Gardening is an awesome, if time-consuming way to make money in the Sims 3. It's a really neat system of gardening where your Sim can gradually evolve better quality versions of plants for replanting. Plants can be sold for a hefty profit when your Sim has a garden full of perfect fruits and vegetables. Check out the Gardening Guide for more information.

Guitar - Everyone Loves a Good Musician and You Can Make Money from Tips
Another high-profile way for Sims to make money. At the fifth level in the guitar skill, Sims can begin playing guitar for tips. Do this in the park where they'll usually be able to gather a nice crowd. Tips come in slowly at first, and will never reach a very high level. Still, this Sim makes enough cash to enjoy life. Playing guitar is also a great way to make friends, so musicians can accomplish two goals at once. Read my Guitar Guide

Hacking - Stealing on the Net
Yes, your Sim can be a hacker in the Sims 3. For anyone who played Command and Conquer Generals back in the day, it reminds me of the Chinese faction's hacker unit. Sims will sit at the computer and gradually bring in little chunks of cash. These chunks get bigger and bigger as the Sim gets better at hacking.

To be a hacker, Sims must possess the Computer Whiz trait. To hack, they'll need a computer. The option to hack will only appear at night time between the hours of 9PM and 7AM. Logic skill seems to help, perhaps in combination with the total time they've spent hacking.

The Sims 3 AmbitionsInvent - Drill, Mass Produce, and Time Travel for Profit
Inventing is another Ambitions skill addition. It's a cool new skill that allows you to make widgets for decorating homes (and selling), harvesters to help with gathering crops and picking up collectibles, time machines to travel to the future or past, and maybe find new treasure or clothes. They can also drill into the earth, and while annoying to neighbors, life fruit, pink diamonds and palladium can be found there to help make a SimBot.

Kleptomaniac - Stealing From your Friends
Sims can swipe other Sims' property with the Kleptomaniac trait. To steal, it must be night time. Go to another Sim's house to be able to use the swipe something action. Private Investigators can confiscate items for evidence on a job, effectively stealing.

While you can't control exactly what they steal, you can swipe something in the general area. So, try to use the steal action near valuable items like laptops. If your Sim has a conscience about their 'problem' with stealing, you can return stolen property by clicking on the mailbox. A list will then appear offering you to select recently stolen objects. This is, actually, a viable way to make money and goes well with the master thief career track.

The Sims 3 World AdventuresMake Nectar - Not Wine
This ambiguous brewery operation creates sweet Nectar for Sims to enjoy, and, indeed, sell. Nectar can be placed into a wine rack in a basement and aged to increase its value. Read our guide to nectar making to learn the very best, most profitable recipe possible.

Painting - No Van Gogh, Just Big Dough
This is a good way to make money. Sims with the artistic trait and perfectionist are best. Perfectionist will boost their paintings' quality slightly, and artistic will increase the rate they learn the painting skill.

Your Sim can eventually make two large paintings a day that can be sold for $5,000 each. That's a load of money. Also, paintings in your Sim's inventory or family inventory will grow in value over time, so if your Sim has enough money they can store paintings for a long period of time. Paintings gain value at a rate of $5 per day. So, if your Sim stores multiple paintings, it can in away be thought of as earning interest on your money.

The Sims 3 World AdventuresRaid Tombs - Riches from Relic Collections
World Adventures adds adventuring and tomb raiding to the lost list of options for making money in The Sims 3. This is the biggest new feature of that expansion, and it doesn't disappoint. There are many relics to be found in pyramids and other ancient ruins. Sets can be collected. You'll eventually find relics worth thousands, and it's pretty exciting to do so. I recommend you start in China so your Sim can get Pangu's Axe.

Real Estate and Venues - Buy Businesses to earn money.
Real Estate and Venues are an excellent way to spend that excess money your Sim makes. Upgrading venues (Ambitions) will allow you to make even more money after investing some of your hard earned money on new objects and facilities for Sims to use while on the lot you own. Read the guide in the link for full information on everything you need to know about Real Estate and Venues in The Sims 3.

The Sims 3 AmbitionsSculpting - Mold Raw Materials into Household Essentials
For The Sims 3 Ambitions owners only. Sculpting can come to about $900 Simoleons an hour when making topiaries, the most profitable variety. Take the Savvy Sculptor trait to prevent breaks and gain skill faster. As you gain Lifetime Happiness, grab the Artisan Crafter and Suave Seller rewards.

Search the Galaxy - Life? Maybe not, but Stars, Lots of Stars, and Decent Earnings!
Sims don't require the genius trait, but will need level 3 in logic to be able to search the galaxy with a telescope. As your Sim searches, they will eventually be able to find highly valuable celestial bodies. There are also several logic challenges tied to this activity. It's a great way for Sims to have fun, raise logic, make money all at the same time.

Solving the Unsolvable - Make Money Solving Puzzles
Sims can solve math problems on the computer to earn money. The 'solve the unsolvable' action on computers only appears for genius Sims. With this action, they can earn a bit of money but run the risk of being a laughingstock in the scienfic community. Thankfully, there's not an actual downside when you fail. I'd think the Sim deserved an embarassed moodlet in the least. Perhaps it's best there's no downside, because there isn't very much reliable money to be made this way. It will, however, raise the logic skill. I'd prefer to search the galaxy myself.

The Sims 3 World Adventures

Writing - Massive Money from Royalties Writing Books
Writing is another good way to make money in the Sims 3. With a high writing skill, authors can hammer out books quickly and collect royalty checks for six weeks. Read my guide to the writing skill for more information on making an author Sim.

The Sims 3 Careers
Career Paths A-LM-ZCareer TipsCareer TraitsMoney MakingPart Time Jobs List
Real EstateAcrobatActing/DirectorArchitectArt AppraiserAstronomer
Bot ArenaBusinessCriminalCulinaryDaycareFirefighter
Fortune TellerGhost HunterHorsemanInventorJournalismLaw Enforcement
Private InvestigatorProfessional SportsScienceSculptorSingerSports Agent
StylistTeacherVideo Game Developer

Comments (12)

Bex says...
Just a tip for the Kleptomaniacs: If you tell your sim to swipe something outside the house (but still on the lot) there is a good chance that your sim will swipe the car. More valuable than the curtains and lamps that most sims seem to be obsessed with!
11th October 2012 3:45pm
Kenleigh Dean says...
Mwah ha ha, that's BRILLIANT!! I'm ashamed that I didn't either think of this first or find it sooner, lol!! :O)
28th June 2013 2:37pm
esrael says...
love u somuch i love ur jop tnx
8th March 2014 11:23am
Sydney says...
You neglected to mention that in the Late Night expansion your Sim can learn mixology which in turn can prove to be a very profitable skill.
It's not that the fact has been neglected.  It's the fact that this page hasn't been updated since around Ambitions.  It doesn't mention alchemy's midas touch or the orb of answers either.  

Thank you for the hint and when there is time, we will get it added.
15th June 2013 7:53pm
AnguisFuror says...
It might worth considering the Alchemist self employment. Yes, you can easily make 5 000 simoleons with a single painting, but with with pure alchemy I easily made 160 000+ (yes, you read that right, no typo) simoleons in ONE DAY. The catch? Ambition serum, bottled curse of the lycan, suave seller trait. Also extensive use of vitality and fun potions. Also note that this is only the product of one sim, not considering an alcemist couple, or an entire family of alchemists.
1st November 2013 10:49am
Fenestrane says...
I usually get myself plenty money by starting to paint or career. After that, I'll buy hundreds bottles of nectar (or more) then sell it at the consignment store, the traits and celebrity level helps.
9th June 2014 7:37am
gothceltgirl says...
I can't register as self-employed at city hall. That option just isn't there. The sim that I tried to register is at level 5 in the chosen skill that I'm trying to register her in.
19th February 2014 7:07pm
Carlos says...
Yes I remember good ol generals back in the day, my first pc game. Anyway if you have university, cloning can make your sim very rich. Collecting is very profitable. if you have pets give your sim a dog and teach it the hunting skill. If you have world adventures you can work on your karate skill to break space rocks and find lots of valuable metals and gems. In world adventures grow tiberium. Also if you know your transfiguration recipes, then your sim can have all the money Sims 3 can hold in a household. 100 million if I'm not mistaken, all condensed into the value of one compendium ingot. If you have an alien from Sims 3 seasons, they can speed up the process. Make sure to complete collecting related challenges and have helpful items and traits to maximise collecting efficiency. If you need help with collecting and WA transfiguration, look it up on carl's site or ask him yourself.
9th January 2014 7:36pm
Til says...
If pursuing the mausoleum exploring path, it's good to make your sim a witch. With some leveling of your magic skills you'll have access to Sunlight Charm spell, which will instantly get rid of the negative moodlet from being mauled by zombie bears and such, allowing you to go in and explore again. Possibly the good luck charm can help get better loot too, but I'm not 100% sure of this one. Also by the time you have the Sunlight Charm, you'll have the hunger, bladder and hygiene charms helping your excursions last longer without going home to regenerate. If you mix in a bit of alchemy to have potions to renew your energy you can explore catacombs almost non stop with this combo.
4th November 2013 9:13am
max says...
salvage items

please remove this option. This was corrected by EA and it no longer works. Furthermore it may cause glitches in the inventory (salvage item staying forever)

salvage items are only for being exploded to get scrap according to EA.

17th April 2013 8:07pm
Grendel says...
A small addition to the Hacking section: If you own Ambitions, go to the police station and sign your hacker Sim up as a Private Investigator. PI's can "Hack the Information Database" which works just like regular hacking but can be done at all times of the day.
13th April 2013 10:54am
terakhan says...
Just want to toss this out there, maybe get it added, but picking flowers can be rather profitable, with Seasons installed. If you find even one Cosmos flower, that is a few hundred for you, and the central park of Sunset Valley has a cluster of flowers that spawn near the corner by the pond.
18th July 2014 1:01pm
Page 1 of 1

Add Comment

Adding comments has been disabled.
Jump to Top

You can support our Sims 3 site by purchasing your next game (digital/hard copy) through EA Origin icon

Disclaimer: - This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Electronic Arts, or its licensors. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The Sims and The Sims 3 Logo are trademarks of Electronic Arts, Inc. Game content and materials copyright Electronic Arts Inc. and its licensors. All Rights Reserved. All original material on this site © Carl Ratcliff.
Carl's PC Gaming Sites, Strategy Guides and Walkthroughs
The Sims 3The Sims MedievalSims 3 CommunityAnomaly 2 GuideSkyrim Guide
Skyrim Console CommandsSkyrim PerksCiv 5 StrategyCiv 5 VictoryCiv 5 Tips
Fallout 3 GuideFallout 3 CheatsRoG: Gaming NewsPam's BlogFunny & Inspiring Stories
  • Search our Sims 3 Site
  • Carl's Sims 3 Site News

Sims 4: Ghosts and Pools Coming

Today we'll be getting a patch, featuring Ghosts along with bugfixes, Star Wars costumes, and a new Gnome. In November, we will be getting Pools, at last! Click here to read more info on these new developments.

Sims 4 Guides

The first Sims 4 Guide pages are available:
Fishing - Fish List/Best Spots
Gardening - Full Plant List
Hidden Areas
Astronaut Career
Rocket Science
Painter Career
Sims 4 Cheats

Buy Sims 4 & System Reqs

You can support the site by purchasing The Sims 4 from EA Origin here. Your contribution goes toward the development of our Sims 4 Site. If you're on the fence, have a look at my Sims 4 Guides to see if you like the new skills and careers, and read the opinions of others on our Forum.

Sims 4 Forum

Register at our Sims 4 & Sims 3 Forum to enjoy a friendly community and volumes of extra details about the game. You can see the benefits of Member Registration Here.

Into the Future Expansion Pack

The Sims 3 Into the Future Game LogoThe Sims 3 Into the Future is now available and you can buy it here. Look for Guide updates throughout the Holidays as I work to finalize Guide pages for information from all Expansions that have been released.

Into the Future Features
Legacy Statues
Utopia and Dystopian Futures
Future Tech Skill
PlumBot Making
Laser Rhythm-a-con
Bot Arena Career
Astronomy Career
Nanites (with Maps)
Time Traveler and Voltron Gnome Parts
The Sims 3 Cheats Updated