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First things first, if you want to excel in Stardew Valley, don’t bother with animals. Yes, I know they’re cute and generate a bit of money every day, but they also waste time every morning and you can’t automate their care. The secret to success in Stardew Valley is using high-value crops to make artisan goods, then selling those goods – sorry, but it’s true.

Unfortunately, you can’t make artisan goods right away, as you need to level up your farming skill to unlock the devices required to make them. So, for at least the first month, you’ll mostly be selling crops raw. Yep: no animals and cold cauliflower. What a life.

For the purposes of this guide, we’re assuming you want to make the most money in the shortest amount of time, with little interest in building friendships, rebuilding the community centre, fishing, and any other foolish unprofitable activities. This is all about cold hard cash.

As such, your days should follow this basic pattern: maintenance in the morning (watering, planting, collecting goods, etc.), mining in the afternoon. Keep everything you gather that isn’t crops or goods – that includes gems, ore, stone, and wood. Everything. In the mines, aim to descend as quickly as possible. You can always come back later if you need ore from earlier floors.

Don’t rebuild the community centre – you get some small perks from it, but getting town upgrades via the Joja Warehouse is much, much faster. Getting a Greenhouse built and the minecarts repaired should be top priority. Tool-wise, focus on upgrading your pickaxe first. The others are non-essential, if handy, but your pickaxe needs to be upgraded to get through the mines at a decent clip.

Without further ado, here’s a quick run-through of the best way to optimise your first year, season by season. Important note: your skills may level at a different pace, which will change how early or late you can do certain activities.

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