Animal Crossing

How to make millions from Animal Crossing money trees with time travel

by Isaac McIntyre
Nintendo

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Turns out, in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, money ⁠(read: bells) — and lots of it ⁠— really does grow on trees. In fact, you can even wipe away your mountain of debts to Tom Nook with one simple time-bending trick.

Money trees have long been a part of the Animal Crossing franchise. It came as no surprise then that New Horizons saw the glorious return of the rare bell-making scheme that defies the age-old saying “money doesn’t grow on trees.”

For most, planting their 10,000 bells and digging it up three times that days later is second nature in New Horizons. It’s an easy way to make a little extra cash, and finance that much needed extra bridge. But you can dream even bigger still.

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Here are the basics: every day there will be a glowing spot hidden somewhere on your island. Dig it up to find some bells ⁠— often just 1,000 ⁠— but don’t fill the hole in! If you bury 10k bells in this new hole, you’re well on your way.

A few days later, your tree will be fully grown, and you can snag 30k bells for your efforts. But what if you could reliably turn your simple 30k money tree into a 100k money tree without the fear of losing bells? Here’s how.

Money trees are a surefire way to make a few extra bells in Animal Crossing.
Nintendo
Money trees are a surefire way to make a few extra bells in Animal Crossing.

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How to make millions with Animal Crossing money trees

Money trees are always good for a little extra cash. As your island continues to grow though, your ambitions become bigger ⁠— like terraforming your entire village ⁠— and you’ll need every last bell in the bank.

The problem is, money trees have a risk factor to them. Planting 10k bells is safest, because you will always get 30k in return. Some Animal Crossing fans live on the braver side, burying up to 99k. They often lose their bells.

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There is a solution though ⁠— time travel. Mucking around with your Switch’s date settings is a surefire way to guarantee your 99k bells get turned into 297k:

  1. Find a rare glowing dig spot for your money tree.
  2. Bury 99,000 bells, and confirm a sapling has sprouted.
  3. Go to the home screen and close Animal Crossing.
  4. Head over to System Settings and select “date and time.” Turn off the “synchronize clock via the internet” option here.
  5. Set your time and date to 40 years in the future, e.g. If you are doing this on April 22, 2020, make sure you go to April 22, 2060.
  6. Open Animal Crossing back up and check your tree. It should have a guaranteed 297,000 bells waiting for you!

You'll be rolling in Animal Crossing bells before you know it with this money tree trick.
Nintendo
You'll be rolling in Animal Crossing bells before you know it with this money tree trick.

Consequences of time travel in Animal Crossing

Be warned, using the time-traveling glitch in New Horizons doesn’t come without its dangers too. You may not get in trouble for “cheating” the game, but there are a few things that could happen to your island you may be wary of.

Firstly, you could lose your Nook Stop Streak Bonus. If you time travel too far into the future, these free miles could easily disappear. Secondly, your turnips may go bad, leaving you with no way to make money in the Stalk Market.

There are a few gross results too. Cockroaches may appear in your home because you have been away. You’ll have to stomp these little critters away. Weeds may also grow across your island, and in your home as well.

Lastly, your mailbox will be piled to the brim. You may have vanished into the future to bag those free bells, but the world continued on without you for a while. And you’ll wake up with a bedhead ⁠— maybe the worst consequence of all?

Making big Bells fast means you'll have to wave goodbye to some neighbors and be ready to pull some weeds.
Nintendo
Making big Bells fast means you'll have to wave goodbye to some neighbors and be ready to pull some weeds.

Of course, this method may leave a sour taste in some player’s mouths. It’s technically a bug or “cheat.” Plenty of fans are keen to stick to more lawful ways of making lots of bells in their Animal Crossing adventures, and that’s fine too.

If you’re going to avoid the time travel glitches, we recommend only planting 10k for each of the money trees you uncover. It’s the safest way to avoid losing cash, and 20k profit for just finding a rare digging patch ain’t bad either!