Keeping the City Treasury Flowing: Making Money in Cities: Skylines


Cities Skylines throws you into the whirlwind of urban planning, tasking you with building a metropolis that thrives. But a thriving city needs a healthy economy, and that means keeping your city treasury from running dry. This guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to become a financial wizard in the world of Cities: Skylines.

Cities Skylines

Early Game: Laying the Foundation for Financial Success

The early game is crucial for setting your city on the path to financial prosperity. Here are some key strategies to focus on:

Controlled Growth: It’s tempting to sprawl your city outwards rapidly, but a slow and steady approach is better for your finances. Focus on creating a small, high-density residential zone with good access to services. This ensures a steady stream of income from residential taxes while keeping service costs manageable.

Education is Key: Invest in well-educated citizens. Educated citizens not only pay more in taxes, but they also require fewer services like healthcare, reducing your overall expenditure. Prioritize building schools and libraries early on.

Balancing Services: Don’t overspend on services you don’t immediately need. While essential services like police and fire stations are crucial, hold off on building extras like parks and leisure facilities until your income allows for it.

Efficient Power Generation: Choose your power source wisely. Early on, wind turbines are a good option due to their low maintenance costs. Once you unlock them, consider geothermal power plants. While they have higher upkeep, their efficiency and high power output can generate significant income from selling excess electricity.

Taxation Strategies: Balancing Income and Growth

Taxes are a significant source of income, but you need to find the right balance to keep your citizens happy and businesses thriving. Here’s how to optimize your tax strategy:

Residential vs. Commercial vs. Industrial: Residential zones are a reliable source of income, but don’t neglect commercial and industrial zones. These zones generate higher tax income per capita. However, be mindful – high taxes can discourage businesses from setting up shop, hindering your city’s growth.

District Specialization (Requires Industries DLC): If you have the Industries DLC, consider specializing your industry districts. This allows for a more efficient supply chain, maximizing tax revenue from all sectors.

Dynamic Tax Adjustment: Don’t be afraid to adjust your tax rates on the fly. If your city is experiencing slow growth, consider lowering taxes temporarily to incentivize businesses and residents. Conversely, if your income is stagnant, you might need to raise taxes slightly to balance the budget.

Advanced Money-Making Techniques: Unlocking Additional Revenue Streams

Once your city has a stable foundation, you can explore additional ways to boost your income:

Selling Excess Resources (Requires After Dark DLC): If you have the After Dark DLC, you can exploit natural resources within your city limits. Forests can be zoned for forestry to generate income from logging. Similarly, mineral deposits can be mined for additional revenue. Be mindful of long-term sustainability – excessive resource extraction can deplete your reserves.

Tourism (Requires Parklife DLC): If you have the Parklife DLC, create a thriving tourist industry. Build iconic landmarks, parks, and entertainment districts to attract tourists. Tourists not only boost commercial revenue but also generate income from park fees and transportation.

Public Transportation Fees: Invest in a well-connected public transportation system. Citizens who use public transport can be charged a small fee, adding to your income stream.

Remember: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making money in Cities: Skylines. The best strategy depends on the map you’re playing, your playstyle, and the DLCs you have access to. Experiment with different approaches, monitor your city’s budget closely, and adapt your strategies based on its needs.

Bonus Tip: Utilizing Mods (Optional):

The modding community for Cities: Skylines is vibrant and offers various mods that can enhance your financial management. Some popular options include:

Tax By Demand Mod: This mod allows you to set different tax rates for different parts of your city. Useful for fine-tuning your tax strategy.

Move It! Mod: This powerful mod allows for more precise placement of buildings and infrastructure. This can be helpful for optimizing the efficiency of your city’s services and utilities, thereby reducing costs.


Cashflow Crisis? How do I Make More Money?

There are two main approaches: earning more and spending less. We’ll cover both!

Growing Your Tax Base: Population is Power!

The more citizens you have, the more taxes they pay. Focus on creating an attractive city with good housing, jobs, and services to make your city boom.

Should I Raise Taxes? Strike a Balance!

High taxes can hurt your growth. Keep them reasonable to incentivize residents and businesses. You can adjust them later as your city flourishes.

Power to the People (and Your Wallet): Sell Extra Electricity!

Build power plants and generate more electricity than your city needs. Sell the surplus to neighboring cities for a steady income. Geothermal power plants are a great option due to their efficiency.

H2O-ld on to Every Drop: Sell Excess Water!

Similar to electricity, you can sell excess water to your neighbors. Water treatment plants are key here.

District Differences: Unlocking Area-Specific Taxes!

Certain districts, like Commercial and Industrial, allow you to set specific tax rates. Experiment to find a sweet spot that attracts businesses without sacrificing income.

Parking Penalty Paradise? Think Strategically About Parking Fees!

District specialization unlocks parking fees. While they can bring in cash, be careful not to discourage visitors or residents.

Frugal Mayor: Prioritize Spending!

Only invest in services and upgrades when absolutely necessary. Analyze your budget and make smart choices.

Building Bonanza? Hold Off on Unnecessary Construction!

Don’t go on a building spree! Plan your city and construct buildings only when needed. This saves money on upkeep and maintenance.

Patience is Key! Don’t Get Discouraged!

Building a financially secure city takes time. Focus on long-term strategies and don’t get discouraged by temporary setbacks.

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