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

Carl's The Sims 3 Tips - Read and Submit Your 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.

On this page, you'll find a list of Sims 3 Tips created by myself and other players of this great game. We've now published nearly 150 guides to the Sims 3 and will be updating this page with more tips in the future. You can share too -- just submit it from our Sims 3 Forum and if your gameplay tips are good enough, I'll add them to the list and give you credit. So, please use a username I can give credit to, gibberish just won't do!

The Sims 3 General Gameplay Tips

These tips are little tricks you can do to help your Sims in their daily lives.

  • Passive Moodlet Bonuses While the room and environment needs are gone from the Sims 3, your Sim will still love being in a beautifully decorated room. It will give a boost to mood based on how decorated the room is. A simple, cheap painting, or paper towels and other small decorations can help initiate this boost. Shove it through the stratosphere with plants, sculptures, rugs, a fireplace and other decorative items. Normal Sims can get up to +40 mood boost, while over emotional Sims can hit +50 from decorations.

  • Listen to Music Sims can get a bonus moodlet called 'enjoying music' from listening to the stereo. This is useful no matter what they're doing: working from home, cooking, or studying. You can even pack a portable boom box to take with your Sim (drag it to their inventory). Use the portable stereo to play your Sim's favorite music while fishing. Listening to favorite music gives a boost over any other type of music. Stereos can also be upgraded with the improve speakers upgrade, which will make the bonus even better. Different stereos will give different mood boosts based on how expensive and high-quality they are. Thanks Eric!

  • Save Your Sim Time Tidying Up. You can now drag items from the counter, directly to the trash can. Old newspapers and dirty dishes are perfect candidates to be tossed while your Sim's asleep at night. It'll help pass those hours fast-forwarding, and your Sim will wake up with no extra cleaning to do. Sadly, you can't wave a magic wand and clean the counter or sink, so they'll still have to do that. Thanks Kate!

  • Sell Objects at the Consignment Store. No matter your trade, you will earn more from your goods by selling them at the Consignment Store (Ambitions). Start off by selling small things to raise your rank and your better items like paintings and nectar will have some time to age before you cash in. Thanks Pernille and Metropolis Man

  • Split Item Stacks. You can drag entire stacks of items to another Sim by dragging the little triangle in the top left of its picture in your inventory. What if you want to give them only some of the item stack? Hold down shift when you click on the triangle and drag it to the Sim you want to have the items. A window will appear that will ask you how many items to transfer. Thanks, Ricalynn!

    The Sims 3 Lifetime Rewards/Happiness Tips

    These tips will help with gaining lifetime happiness points faster so your Sim can afford those great rewards!

  • Keep on Top of those Wishes. It's easy to forget they're there. After all, they don't really announce themselves. If you fast foward too often, you'll miss wishes that can be promised that could earn your Sim a lot of points. Try not to pick wishes that stray too far from what your Sim is already interested in, unless it's worth a lot of happiness points. After all, those four slots can fill up fast and you want them to be used by wishes your Sim can actually complete without too much effort.

  • Cancel Actions. If you are making your Sim do an activity just to complete a wish, you can save time by canceling the action just after the wish is completed. For example, go to the park (and go right home). Thanks Sportsfan.

  • Keep your Sim Happy for more Points. If you want your Sim to have a lot of lifetime rewards, try to keep their mood bar high. When the mood bar is high, your Sim will always be gaining points. This adds up a lot over a day, and over a week could be enough to purchase a reward all in itself. Happy Sims get the most rewards, hands down.

  • Some Lifetime Rewards are Better than Others. This concept is simple. If you're going to spend those lifetime reward points, use them where they can have the greatest effect. Dirt Defiant and Steel Bladder are both great choices. Steel Bladder is the best here, because it removes the need to use the bathroom entirely, saving Sims loads of time the longer they have it. Dirt Defiant will let your Sim stay squeaky clean long after a shower if they're not a gardener or athlete. It will help them get less dirty otherwise. The Food Replicator can also save a lot of time. Cook some perfect lobster thermador or tri-tip steak, then store it into the replicator. Your Sim won't have to cook for quite some time, and can replicate meals on demand.

  • Study Before You Buy Rewards You may not want to risk buying that 25,000 point lifetime reward, not knowing what it does. Some rewards are much more useful than others, depending on the Sim, of course. Read my guide to Lifetime Rewards for tips on choosing the best ones for your Sims.

    The Sims 3 Skills Tips

    These tips will help you to gain skills faster in the game. This is valuable help for Sims who have a lot of time crunch due to parenting or work.

  • Study in the Library or Work Out at the Gym. This is a great Tip: These two environments boost skill gains. Reading in the library tends to go faster, and athletic Sims will gain levels in the athletic skill faster if they work out at the gym.

  • Study Happy - whether it be while fishing, or reading in the library, your Sim will rise in skill faster if they're in a good mood.

  • Combine Fun with Skill Gains to optimize your Sim's time, look into ways they can raise their skills while having fun. This is by no means every way, but it's got something for every skill. Athletic Sims can play ball with other Sims or swim
    Charisma Watching TV with another Sim may raise charisma. Otherwise, they can certainly satisfy the social need by chatting.
    Cooking Sims can have fun while watching Cookin' Cable on $500+ TV
    Fishing itself is naturally fun for Sims.
    Gardening can be raised by watching Got Garden?($500+ TV).
    Guitar Playing guitar's fun by itself, if only slightly.
    Handiness Not aware of a way to raise this while having fun.
    Logic Sims can have fun playing chess or searching the sky.
    Painting Painting is fun.
    Writing Sorry, don't think so.

    The Sims 3 Working Tips

  • Develop a Good Routine Before Work to help your Sim get promotions faster, you should always try to go while they've recently had fun and/or have eaten a good meal. Mood is a factor in every career track in the Sims 3. Fun is probably the most important, because your Sim's Fun bar will drain while the're at work. This will help them to use the work hard action more often, causing the promotion bar to rise faster. The least important need to satisfy before your Sim heads out the door is the bladder bar. Why? Sims can use the bathroom at work. There's almost no point to wasting the time unless your Sim really needs to go. Showers should be mandatory before work though, Sims can't well shower at work and most people can't either.

  • Working Efficiently is key to your Sim's success. My tip here is simple: If your Sim is about to get promoted anyway, don't do anything special at work. The bar can't go past the top, and always resets to 0 after the promotion. Keep this in mind when your Sim gets the opportunity to read a book for work, and it's not on a time limit. In this example, read the book after you've got your promotion to get that boost toward the next level. It's also good to know before you use the work hard action. If your Sim needs relationships with his co-workers, and is about to be promoted no matter what he does, spend the time at work socializing and making connections. This will help them in the future, and they'll snag the promotion anyway.

    I'll add more tips as I come up with them. In the meantime, feel free to share yours at our forum.

    Share Tips and FAQs (81)

    Our Sims Forum is the place to go for faster answers to questions and discussions about the game. Use the form below to share your own experiences and provide helpful tips to other readers.

    1 2 > Last
    Katiemae says...
    Did you know that you can get rid of Moodlet effects... Press Control shift c, to bring up the cheat bar and type testingcheatsenabled true, Press control and Click On the moodlet you would like to remove
    29th August 2013 1:32pm
    Hannah Marie says...
    This is a good website for people who needs tips, secrets and cheats :-) But what do you mean by "Writing Sorry, don't think so."?
    30th May 2014 11:01am
    Miles says...
    What he meant is writing is a very annoying skill to raise because it makes your sims lose happiness quickly.
    13th June 2014 5:56pm
    Lily says...
    Although, one way to counteract this is by writing with a Sim that has the Loner trait, and the Hates Outdoors trait as well, because that removes the need to socialize--they receive and Enjoying Solitude moodlet when alone, I believe--and the need to go outside, removing the Stir Crazy negative moodlet. These don't raise Fun per se, but they lessen the need to get up and about in game.

    All of this is from the Writing guide; I take no credit for this knowledge. This guide is the only reason I succeed at this game, sometimes. Thank you Carl and Pam! :) And all of the other contributers!
    12th August 2014 8:31pm
    e-reader web browser user says...
    Here is a better way. First, press control+shift+c. Then, type "testingcheatsenabled true" (wihtout the quotation marks). Afet that, shift-click on the mail box and select "make needs static". Now you can raise the writing skill without having to worry about the fun bar!
    25th June 2019 1:16am
    Jamie says...
    There's a way to raise non-fun skills (Handiness, Inventing etc.) with Supernatural: buy a rocking chair. Set the Sim to "Rock" then when in the middle of the sitting animation, click the skill book and press "Read [book name] while Rocking"; the swaying of the rocking chair will nullify the fun decay of the skill book.
    5th November 2015 5:42pm
    Joshieo says...
    Is there any way of getting a family of sims to stay in town and make sure they don't move out of town? If I turn story progression off will anyone move out/in?
    Story Progression being turned off will keep all the same families in town.
    13th July 2013 10:46am
    KJ says...
    I'm in the middle of an opportunity quest which requires my sim to take a large object to the police station. When I put the object in the "family inventory" then go to the police station the game says "You do not have the required item in your inventory." Yet I can't get it into my sim's personal inventory. Any tips?
    3rd June 2014 5:01pm
    zarkuny says...
    hello im new to the game the sims3 can anyone tell me how to do the cheat testing cheatsenabledtrue i have for the ps3 i cant find ctrl shift c and another question how do get all the nice furniture that shows on the houses you build its all diferent compare to the one you have available in build and buy?
    9th September 2013 8:42pm
    Random says...
    You can't enter ctrl shft c,you have to press the shoulder buttons (buttons on top)
    17th November 2013 3:29pm
    Kym says...
    Can anyone pls. help ?:) Pls. and ty in advance:) I made a family with a toddler(not baby) and bought her the imaginary friend, she is now a teen and STILL the imaginary friend doll is just that...a do I get it real? Or does it just work from baby on up only?:)
    4th July 2014 12:57pm
    you're welcome says...
    You would have had to play with the doll a lot as a toddler. I think there's a potion that can make it real.
    28th July 2014 5:44am
    simpson8743 says...
    Can someone help? I'm playing on sims and suddenly it turns itself off and a notice comes up saying, "The Sims has stopped working" and gives me the option of turning the game off. Help?
    1st June 2014 8:16am
    simmer says...
    Mine does that too and I have no idea why so I just save it regularly and if it starts to lag then I save straight away so if it shuts down I wont lose anything. Hope it helped!
    8th August 2017 11:37am
    ClellanPete says...
    Your downloads file may be full in Documents, so make a file on your desktop and label it downloads (your todays date)or anything you want. Then go into your documents file/Downloads, copy everything in there and paste into your new desktop file. Now your game will run smoother and you will feel smarter.
    8th October 2018 12:18am
    Soulbringer says...
    Can you add this tip?:
    If you have university life,you can get the coffee bar for your home,and it lets your sims have the drinks and food. Pair it with a sink and you can delete the use of stoves,fridges and other kitchen things.Though,Drinks do cost but food doesn't.
    23rd March 2014 12:19pm
    phoenixflys says...
    Nice way to get the complete set of skill books with just a $500 simoleon investment:

    While living in a dorm in Uni buy "The Book Corral" then sell it. All the books should end up in your house hold inventory.
    23rd November 2013 11:38am
    Mary Ann says...
    thank you so much for the tips! i knew some of them, but the details were very helpful on how to obtain certain things. my sim got the feternity lifetime wish and i just gave birth to triplets (Tayler, Piper, and Paeton White)
    22nd February 2014 2:33pm
    Rebekah says...
    I always try to come up with great names for my sims baby/ baby's but I just keep end up failing as for instance when I name a girl Carly she comes out looking nothing like a Carly! Can anybody please give me some tips so that I can change the baby's name/ appearance?
    26th May 2014 7:17pm
    Izzy says...
    I heard that you can change it by clicking Ctrl Shift C, then typing in testingcheatsenebled true, but that doesn't work for me. It might for you, though.
    14th June 2014 5:09am
    Courtney says...
    Press Ctrl-Shift-C on your keyboard, and type testingcheatsenabled true Then press the Shift key on your keyboard while clicking on your sim, then option "edit sim in create-a-sim" should come up. Click that. You can change any names or looks or traits your sim has.
    27th June 2014 7:32pm
    Kym says...
    If you go into cheat (pc- "testingcheatsenabled true" no "") u can edit sim by left clicking your mouse along with shift. Not sure about babies, but toddlers and up for sure! Also, u can go into options, slide bar for baby 1 or 2 days (only if the above doesnt work on babies :)) Feel free to go to sims3 site and add me and/ask if u need or want any help!
    Somber (sims 3 name)
    4th July 2014 12:51pm
    sims3fan235 says...
    How do you lock a door on Xbox 360 without deleting the door and putting it back?...
    29th June 2014 1:30pm
    Helping a simmer in need says...
    Are you in build mode while trying to lock the door? If you are you should get out of build mode and click on the door there should be an option to lock it. I hope this helps! (I don't play ts3 on Xbox 360 so I'm not sure if it works let me know!)
    6th May 2020 2:50pm
    Hannah Carney says...
    violet its because u need to go to cell phone and press move but alot of the house are about 150 000 so u need alot of money
    24th May 2013 10:41pm
    Izzy says...
    The most popular trick that people keep telling me about is the testingcheatsenabled true, since it can totally alter your game and make it more enjoyable, but when I open up Ctrl Shift C and type it in, it doesn't work. Can somebody please tell me if I'm doing something wrong, or how to make it work? =(
    14th June 2014 4:40am
    Kate says...
    When you enter the command, it will not say anything. If you want to make sure it works, press Shift and click on a Sim or the mailbox. New options should appear. Keep in mind that you will have to type "testingcheatsenabled true" every time you start the game for it to work.
    22nd August 2017 12:10pm
    Muffin says...
    I play the Sims 3 on ps3 and it crashes when I play with genetics I'm cas. Also my save data files get corrupted all the time. Is there anyway to stop the crashing and prevent getting my data corrupted?
    1st November 2015 4:12pm
    Ellieeee says...
    There is a way to raise the handiness skill while having fun - the Classically Cool Fixer-Upper (premium store item I think) raises the Fun need and you can sell the fixed car for 30000 simoleons or so :)
    4th December 2015 2:12am
    Sadieeeee says...
    I have the sims starter pack, but I cannot figure out how to download it because of Origin. Please help! Thx in advance :D
    6th April 2014 11:05am
    Nicolette says...
    You've probably already figured it out by now, but if you open the Origin app, you can select "My Games" and then mouseover the title you want and select the orange download button.
    8th July 2014 7:36am
    jasmine says...
    i had the same problem my mom helped me tho
    8th October 2015 12:32pm
    fernan estricomen says...
    i to game this sims!!!
    19th August 2014 7:22am
    Shayna says...
    Hi:) Whenever my sims has/adopts a baby, it will be invisible, even when i try "testingcheatsenabled true" then "resetsim - -". Why is this and how can i fix it?
    27th July 2014 7:46pm
    Simon says...
    Lol my username is Simon but ima girl

    Do you have any cc installed?
    13th August 2014 11:01am
    Georgia says...
    How do you stop the lunar cycle?
    8th July 2014 7:02pm
    Jeannita says...
    that's easy go to you options look for icon of moon click it look at bottom where see how many lunar cycle you want or click right beside it it was set moon settings i like full moon or waxing moon..
    22nd July 2014 4:08pm
    rachel says...
    when cooking food do not press the make pancake or other food as it only makes one for your sims press serve pancake as it creates food for more people
    19th June 2014 1:02pm
    Bonn Appitie Babbe says...
    Nerver mind becuse I bout it but it was espensive so I used my momma crdit card with her permissib and I made a sim called Jackib. I'm only 6 years old but I have a sister named Delilah. She's 12
    6th February 2018 7:17pm
    Tiana says...
    Aren't you a tiny bit young for this? 6? Not trying to be rude, but how in the world did you think it'd be 12 dollars!?
    10th April 2018 10:59am
    PwPrntd says...
    I got it for $4.99 from Steam. They have lots of expansion packs. The game and the EPs are normally $19.99, but they go on sale. I just got Season for $4.99.
    14th September 2018 3:08am
    Michaela Ward says...
    Hi im new to the sims, im just wondering if there is anything I cando with the time. For example by the time my sim is awake it needs to go to work and dont get chance to eat shower etc, I know about the fast forward button but although it does it faster it still takes the same amount of time on the clock so il stil be late for work or miss breakfast. Or not have time to do anything after work as my sim needs food showet clean sleep, then it will go to bed and it be the same again next day. If I fit reading etc in then I carnt do anything else it needs to do.

    Hope this makes sense

    28th May 2013 4:20am
    Zam says...
    First of all, you can cancel actions by clicking on them in the queue. Also, as your sim gets promoted in his/her work, their working hours and days with work will go down.
    29th July 2013 9:47pm
    Prince gif says...
    Try going to bed no later than 8:30. This way your sim should wake up about 3:00 ish. Plenty of time for breakfast, shower and chill out before work. Also, make sure your sim dosnt have the couch potato triat.
    13th August 2013 6:23am
    Sonu says...
    Michaela first press ctrl + Left-SHifT + C Then type "testingcheatsenabled true" ....
    then there should be a mail box outside ur house......
    Click on it by Holding "Left-Shift"
    NOw u Get a lot of options.....
    First select .." Make Needs Static"....
    It Should clear Most of your Problems.....
    6th January 2014 5:38am
    Tio says...
    That is life, get used to it :D haha, just kidding.
    There is a mod for changing the speed of ingame time.
    5th April 2018 3:54am
    dankplayer says...
    motherlode is a good cheat. It work’s for the sims 3 and 4. it get’s you 50,000 in-game money. Useful for anything from get a dream car to paying university tuition
    21st June 2019 3:25am
    Spice says...
    I'm on PC and mine plays good at first and then after an hour or two it turns black and my computer restarts, What do I do?
    18th May 2019 3:28pm
    Playalot says...
    I can't really give you computer advice but perhaps you'll find something on the forum pages I've linked you to that will help:
    18th May 2019 11:31pm
    Emily says...
    It might have just added more than the pc can take, Sophia. Other than a better system there are a few things you can try, reducing downloads, lowering graphic settings and avoiding places with to many sims. Late night is a good ep, If I were you, first I'd reduce the settings, make sure nothing else is running in the background,put all the downloads in a different folder for now. Then as a last resort remove late night.Sims 3 is a pretty old game and not as efficient as things are made recently.

    the sims 3is a very demanding game. If you are having problems you can try things like reducing downloads, lowering graphic settings and avoiding places with lots of sims, other than that you just need a better pc.
    12th October 2018 7:56am
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