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How to make money in Cities: Skylines (Ultimate Guide)

How to make money in Cities: Skylines (Ultimate Guide)

If you want to be the mayor of an exquisite city then Cities: Skylines is the game for you. But running a marvelous metropolis can be quite taxing on the local budget and you will constantly be looking for new ways to make more money. Luckily, there are many ways to make money in Cities: Skylines and pour it all into the prosperity of your municipality.

To make money in Cities: Skylines you can apply some general tips like building city layouts, strategic zones, tourism upgrades, exporting goods, and some other neat strategies like managing both big and small businesses and handling tax bumps. You can also resort to the ultimate solution; Mods.

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General Tips to Making Money in Cities: Skylines

Some tips that you need to follow in Cities: Skylines to build a thriving city. These are essential as they provide a foundation for the city to flourish.

City Layout

City Layout - Cities: Skylines Money

Before you start building, it’s important to have a clear plan for your city layout. This will help you ensure that your zones are well-connected and that essential services are located in the right places.

Strategic Zones

Strategic Zones - Cities: Skylines Money

When zoning your city, it’s important to take into account the needs of your citizens and businesses. For example, you should locate residential zones near commercial and industrial zones so that citizens can easily access jobs and services.

Zone Mix

Zone Mix - Cities: Skylines Money

To attract a diverse population and generate more revenue, it’s important to provide a mix of zones for residential, commercial, and industrial use. You should aim for a balance of these zones to ensure that your city can support a variety of different businesses and that citizens have access to the services they need.

Upgrading Zones

Upgrading Zones - Cities: Skylines Money

As your city grows, it’s important to upgrade your zones to meet the changing needs of your citizens and businesses. For example, you should upgrade residential zones to higher-density housing as the population grows, or upgrade commercial zones to higher commercial classes as businesses thrive.

Transportation Infrastructure

Transportation Infrastructure - Cities: Skylines Money

Good transportation infrastructure is essential for connecting your zones and making them accessible to citizens and businesses. Building roads, buses, and airports will make it easier for people and goods to move around your city, making your zones more attractive to citizens and businesses.

Exporting Goods

Exporting Goods - Cities: Skylines Money

Another way to make money in Cities: Skylines is by exporting goods and resources to other cities. You can do this by setting up production chains that turn raw materials into finished goods and then exporting them to other cities.

Taxes and Fees

Taxes and Fees

One of the most straightforward ways to generate revenue in Cities: Skylines is by collecting taxes and fees from your citizens and businesses. The more developed your city is, the more taxes and fees you will be able to collect.

Tourism

Tourism

Building landmarks and recreational areas will attract tourists to your city. Tourists will spend money on hotels, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment, which will generate additional revenue for your city.

Policies

Policies - Cities: Skylines Money

Use the game’s budget and policies to control expenses and boost revenue. For example, you can implement policies like “Tax breaks” for specific industries, “lowering the crime rate” or “encouraging the development of renewable energy” which can also have a positive impact on the city’s economy.

Some policies that will lead to monetary benefits are:

  1. Low Tax Policy: Low taxes can help attract businesses and citizens to your city, which will increase revenue from taxes and fees.
  2. High Tax Policy: High taxes can also be used to generate more revenue for your city, but it’s important to balance the taxes against the happiness of your citizens, or you could face a population decrease.
  3. Education Policy: Investing in education can help attract educated citizens to your city, which in turn will help attract businesses and generate more revenue.
  4. Health Policy: Investing in health care can help keep citizens healthy and happy, which will make them more productive and more likely to stay in your city.
  5. Public Transportation Policy: Investing in public transportation can help reduce traffic congestion and improve the flow of goods and people in your city, which will make your city more attractive to citizens and businesses.
  6. Renewable Energy Policy: Encouraging the development of renewable energy can help reduce pollution and make your city more attractive to environmentally conscious citizens and businesses.
  7. Crime Policy: Lowering the crime rate in your city can make it more attractive to citizens and businesses and can also help boost your city’s economy.

Essential Services

Essential Services -Cities: Skylines Money

Essential Services: To keep your citizens happy and healthy, you will need to build and maintain essential services such as power plants, water treatment facilities, and garbage dumps.

By providing these services, you will be able to keep your city running smoothly and avoid costly disasters. Additionally, make sure to upgrade these facilities as your city grows to keep up with the demand.

Monitor and Adjust

Keep monitoring the city’s economy and citizens’ happiness, and adjust accordingly. For example, if some zones are not generating as much revenue as you expected, you may need to adjust the zone’s density or mix.

It’s important to keep in mind that a balance should be maintained between the city’s expenses and revenue, and also to keep the citizens happy. Try to keep the city’s economy growing, but also pay attention to the happiness of citizens, which will ensure that they want to stay and continue to contribute to the city’s economy.

Other Strategies To Make More Money

Below we have listed some strategies that you can apply to squeeze some money out of your unsuspecting citizens. All these strategies are quite detrimental if you overuse them so be extra vigilant when applying them.

City Policies

City Policies

Using the game’s policies mechanic will help control expenses and boost revenue. There are multiple policies that you can implement to raise the population’s well-being and in turn make your city more profitable.

We will go over some policies that you can utilize for the most economic impact.

Small Business Enthusiast & Big Business Benefactor

Small Business Enthusiast

The Small Business Enthusiast policy in Cities: Skylines is a policy that can be implemented to encourage the growth of small businesses in your city. This policy will give small businesses a tax break, making it more attractive for them to set up shop in your city.

When you activate this policy, small businesses (businesses with less than 2,000 employees) will have their taxes lowered. This can help small businesses thrive and grow in your city, which can generate more revenue for your city through taxes and fees. Additionally, small businesses can also provide jobs for citizens and contribute to the city’s economy.

While Big Business Benefactor provides the same benefits for larger businesses (with more than 2,000 employees).

Do keep in mind, both these policies have an Upkeep cost attached to them (as seen in the picture above). However, a reasonable size city will more than cover these somewhat meager costs with sufficient sales. A good implementation of these policies will boost income by twice the amount.

Industrial Space Planning

Industrial Space planning

To get the most out of the previously mentioned policies, you should also opt for the Industrial Space Planning policy. This policy works best if you have properly planned industrial zones. It doubles the number of goods produced in said zones. Just look out for the Upkeep cost and you are good to go.

The policy’s implementation can help you balance things out. It is perfect for the changes in the way your goods work with the Small Business Enthusiast and the Big Business Benefactor policies.

Toll Roads Stacking

Toll Roads Stacking - Cities: Skylines Money

Stacking toll roads refers to the practice of building multiple layers of toll roads on top of one another in a single location to increase the capacity of the road network and reduce traffic congestion.

This can be a good strategy for generating making money and reducing traffic in Cities: Skylines, but it also comes with costs such as construction, maintenance, and potential citizen dissatisfaction.

To stack toll roads in the game, you need to first build a standard road and then place a toll booth on it. Once you have done this, you can then build another road on top of the existing one, and place another toll booth on it. This process can be repeated multiple times to create multiple layers of toll roads.

You can place toll booths on the main highways, expressways, or any other place where you might experience them in the real world.

On the other hand, you can go absolutely bonkers and create an elaborate toll road loop/s, as seen in the picture above. This will trap your citizens in an arduous commute where they have to constantly pay tolls. Just be careful not to overdo it as it can easily backfire.

Park Life Exploit

Park life - Cities: Skylines Money

For this money-making strategy, you will need the Park Life DLC. With this DLC you have the ability to build parks and you can charge people a modest amount to enter and enjoy said parks. But did you know that you can cheese this game mechanic?

By placing park areas, park paths, and a park gate or two in a high footfall area, your citizens will now enjoy their walk to work, maybe a walk to some mass transit, walking the dog perhaps, or even just taking their morning constitution on their favorite path but they will also now be paying you for the privilege of walking and breathing that fresh air.

Although it sounds very despicable nobody will complain because they know that you, the fine upstanding mayor of the city, will be using those funds to improve their fine city.

Taxes Bump and Drop

Tax bump - Cities: Skylines Money

This trick is pretty simple in its execution and quite crafty in its money-making ability. Go to the Economy tab of your city and you will find yourself on the Taxes screen. Most of the time you will likely have your tax around 12% to 13%.

Now just push things to the limit. Put your game on 3x speed and slide all the taxes up to the maximum, that’s right 29% for everybody. But what about the citizens?

Your citizens may feel slightly disgruntled with your attempt to pocket some extra cash for the city and some may even leave. But there is a slight delay between making loads of cash and too many people leaving your city.

To counter this exodus and loosen your grip around your citizen’s neck, once you’re near the minus one thousand mark on your citizen weekly change figure simply change the tax rate back to normal. The citizens will very quickly forget your penny-pinching antics.

If you are feeling guilty then just build a park for them as an apology. (and charge them for entering).

Unlimited Money Mod

Cities: Skylines Unlimited Money Mod

Although this is somewhat of a cheat if you want to just build to your heart’s content and not be bothered by the money-making aspect of the game then go this route.

Just head on over to the Content Manager option from the main menu and go to the Mods category and enable the Unlimited Money – Money never runs out mod. This will give you an infinite amount of cash and you will never have to worry about nickel and diming all the time while building your dream city.


With a bit of planning from the general tips we have given above and using the cunning strategies provided, you will in no time be filling your pocket the city’s treasury and making tons of money in Cities: Skylines. All you have to do is properly manage all these actions otherwise your citizens will panic and start to exit the city. Good luck Mr. Mayor!