25 Best Stardew Valley Tips and Strategies For Beginners

25 Best Stardew Valley Tips and Strategies For Beginners
The farmer reads a guidebook of useful tips.


So you’ve decided to try out Stardew Valley. Well, you’re in for countless hours spent grinding and decorating your farm. However, the game can feel quite overwhelming to beginners. The game is filled to the brim with content and identifying what’s important for progress and what isn’t can be tough. Luckily, I prepared these 25 best Stardew Valley tips and strategies for beginners. They will help you make the most out of your first playthrough. 

 

25. Don’t buy the backpack too early

Hold off on buying the backpack.

One of the common mistakes in Stardew Valley is buying the backpack too soon. It makes sense if you think about it. You just started, see an expensive item, and decide to save up money for it. But this is a waste. Early on, you can make do with just 12 slots. It’s all about storing the items you don’t currently use in chests. Reinvest all the money you earn in seeds to increase your profits.

Believe me, the backpack is not worth it, at least not right away. Once you get to summer, you can buy the first upgrade. But I’d still lay off the final upgrade until the middle of Fall. 

How it works:

  • Prioritize buying more seeds
  • Build chests to store your items
  • You can survive without the 1st backpack upgrade until Summer

 

24. Get the Workbench asap

Stay organized with a workbench.

The Workbench is very easy to overlook for new players. However, it will make your life so much easier. You can buy it from the Carpenter for 2,000g. It’s much better than rushing the backpack. It connects the inventories of adjacent chests and lets you craft items. This will save you a lot of time rummaging through every single chest to find what you’re looking for. 

You can place up to 7 chests around your workbench, which is more than enough for crafting. Well, technically, you can place 8 but that will block off the workbench. You should buy this item towards the end of Spring.

How it works:

  • Wait for late Spring of Year 1
  • Save up 2,000g
  • Buy the Workbench from the Carpenter
  • Place 7 chests around it and enjoy easier crafting

 

23. Don’t skip days

Don't go to bed before 12:00 AM.

We’ve all been there. It’s 8 PM and you’re out of energy. You may think there’s nothing to do but there is. If you can’t do anything else, you can just walk through the map and pick up forageables. You can either eat them or give them to villagers for some friendship. You can also clear weeds since using your scythe doesn’t count any energy.

Whatever you do, don’t skip days. Even talking to villagers has some value. Make the most of each day. But that said, you should try to go to bed before midnight. Otherwise, you recover less energy the next day.  

How it works:

  • Avoid skipping days when low on energy
  • Pick up forageables instead
  • Eat food to recover energy and make the most of your day

 

22. Save at least a couple of each item

Always keep one of each item.

You never know when you’re going to need a given item. You need to ship every item for Perfection. Some are used for recipes. Others in Community Center Bundles. Villagers may even ask you to deliver them something. The list is endless.

Long story short, keep at least 3-5 of each type of item in a chest. This will save you a lot of frustration when the game suddenly asks you for it.

How it works:

  • Villagers may ask you for some items
  • A lot of items are needed for Perfection
  • Store at least a couple of each item in a chest

 

21. Use the Training Rod

The Training Rod makes fishing a lot easier.

The number of people complaining about fishing in Stardew Valley is unreal. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is allowed to dislike certain aspects of the game. I’m personally not fond of SV animals because they take a lot of work. But fishing is different. The main reason why people struggle with it is a lack of knowledge.

The key is using the Training Rod. It costs a laughable 25g and increases your fishing bar size to the equivalent of level 5. What’s more, it only allows you to catch easy fish. It’s practically impossible to fail using it. Once you get to level five, you can swap to a better rod. But until then, enjoy very simply fishing!

How it works:

  • Get the Training Rod from Willy for 25g
  • Use it to fish for easy fish
  • Only swap to a better rod once you get to fishing level 5

 

20. Always give villagers gifts on their birthday

Give people a gift on their brithday whenever you can.

Birthdays are important days in Stardew Valley. Giving a villager a loved gift on their birthday will give you two hearts. That’s much more than you could get in a single week otherwise. But it doesn’t have to be a loved gift – a liked one will do just as fine. 

Befriending every single villager is required to reach Perfection. It can be a very long process so I recommend working on the villagers right off the bat. 

How it works:

  • Give each villager a gift on their birthday
  • It gives 2 (or more) hearts
  • You need to befriend all of them to ‘finish’ the game

 

19. Check the TV every day

Check the TV daily for important news.

You should make it your habit to check your TV right as you leave your bed (in Stardew, not in real life!). Initially, you’ll be able to check three channels.

The first one is Weather Report. This one is pretty straightforward – it just shows you what the weather will be like tomorrow. Thus, you can plan your day. Rain in the early game means more free time. You should spend rainy days chopping wood around the map or exploring the Mines.

The second one is the Fortune Teller channel. This one tells you your daily luck. Daily luck affects several aspects of the game. However, what you need to care about initially is mining. Daily luck affects the spawn rate of ladders so mining on good luck days is always a good idea.

The third one is the Queen of the Sauce. This channel teaches you a new recipe every Sunday. Make sure you watch it since you need all the recipes for Perfection! You can catch up on missed recipes each Wednesday by watching the re-run.

The final channel is Livin’ Off The Land. This one gives you some general tips about the game. You can watch it each Monday and Thursday.

How it works:

  • Check the TV channel every day
  • Watch the weather report to plan your day
  • Check your daily luck to know when to run dungeons
  • Watch the Queen of the Sauce to learn all recipes

 

18. Take care of your pet

Don't ignore your pet's needs.

Eventually, Marnie will bring you either a cat or a dog that you can adopt. While the pet is mostly there to be your cute companion, it does have a hidden feature – it gives you an extra point for Grandpa’s Evaluation that happens at the beginning of Year 3. To earn that point, you need to max friendship with your pet. 

To do that, simply pet it and fill its water bowl every day. Eventually, you will get a message saying that your pet loves you. This indicates you hit the max friendship with it. Once this happens, petting is optional since your friendship won’t decay.

How it works:

  • Pet your cat or dog every day
  • Fill its water bowl every day
  • Do this until you get the message saying that your pet loves you

 

17. Save up for Starberry Seeds

Buy Strawberries to make a lot of money.

Strawberries are arguably the most profitable Spring crops. However, you can’t buy them from Pierre’s. You need to buy them at the Egg Festival which happens on Spring 13 every year. Each seed costs 100g which may sound like a lot. However, they sell for 120g if they’re of regular quality.

Although you only get two harvests after the festival, they’re still profitable. You also have a small chance to get more than one per plant.

How it works:

  • Save up a lot of money for the Egg Festival
  • Purchase as many strawberries as you can
  • Prepare the soil before the festival and try to plant as many as you can

 

16. Use Fertilizers early

Use Fertilizers early to make more money.

At the start of the game, you can realistically mass-produce only two types of fertilizer – Quality Fertilizer and Water-Retaining Soil. I’ve tried to make the Water-Retaining Soil work, I did but… it’s just useless. The 33% chance for the soil to stay watered is just low and I don’t recommend making it.

However, the Quality Fertilizer is a godsend. It’s extremely easy to make since you only need sap. You can get a lot of this resource just from chopping down trees. Better quality crops sell for more so always fertilize them if you can.

How it works:

  • Gather a lot of sap
  • Make as much Quality Fertilizer as you need
  • Fertilize the ground on the day you plant your seeds

 

15. Keep your first Prismatic Shard

Save your first Prismatic Shard.

One of the worst things you can do is donate your first Prismatic Shard to the museum. I know I did it in my first playthrough. But you gain very little from donating it to the museum.

You should instead use it to get the Galaxy Sword, which is the best weapon in the game. To get it, you’ll need to unlock the desert by completing the vault bundle. Then, simply enter the spot between three pillars in the desert while holding the shard.

How it works:

  • Hold on to your first Prismatic Shard
  • Use it to unlock the Galaxy Sword
  • Take it to the three pillars in Calico Desert

 

14. Complete Help Wanted quests

The quests give a lot of money and friendship points.

You will have a tough time making money in the early game. Luckily, you can use the Help Wanted quest for extra income. The rewards are pretty generous, and you can rely on them to maximize your profits, especially in your first spring. Some also give friendship points with the villagers. And even if you fail to complete the quest, there isn’t any penalty.

How it works:

  • Accept quests from the Help Wanted board in front of Pierre’s. 
  • Complete the quest for extra income and friendship points.
  • Don’t be afraid to take the quest – you lose nothing even if you fail it. 

 

13. Grow Forageable Seeds

These seeds cost nothing to make!

In the beginning, you won’t be able to buy a lot of seeds. Luckily, you can make your own. Forageables seeds cost 1 of each type of seasonal forageable to make and produce 10 seeds. This allows you to multiply them exponentially. I recommend relying on these seeds in your first spring and summer.

How it works:

  • Pick up one type of each forageable
  • Craft seasonal seeds
  •  Plant them to multiply your profits

 

12. Rush Sprinklers

Sprinklers will make y our life a lot easier.

Sprinklers will automate your crops production (for the most part). With them, you will only need to harvest and replant your crops. However, the first set of Sprinklers you unlock is worthless. They only cover 4 tiles which is laughable. Wait until you get to farming level 6 and grind a lot of Iron Bars, Gold Bars, and Refined Quartz. Quality Sprinklers cover 8 tiles and will make your life a lot easier. 

How it works:

  • Farm Iron Bars, Gold Bars, and Refined Quartz
  • Rush farming level 6
  • Craft a lot of Quality Sprinklers

 

11. Don’t choose a difficult farm type if you’re new

Stay away from the beach farm if you're new.

If you’re new to the game, choose the standard farm. It has the most tiles out of all types. This gives you a lot of freedom in how you want to design it. If you want to choose another farm type, you can. But I recommend staying away from the Wilderness Farm and the Beach Farm. Wilderness Farm spawns monsters every night which can be frustrating if you’re new to combat. Beach Farm makes Sprinklers unusable except for a small patch. Again, this can be off-putting to new players.

The Riverland Farm is also not the best since it doesn’t have much space for buildings and crops. 

How it works:

  • Choose an easy farm for your first playthrough
  • Stay away from the Beach and Wilderness Farms
  • Choose the Standard Farm

 

10. Don’t open Omni Geodes

Save all your Omni Geodes.

Opening Omni Geodes is a common trap for new players. While it’s true that they can contain items found in all geodes, this works against you. It simply means that the sample size is much larger. Thus, you’re less likely to find the items you’re missing from the museum collection. If you need a certain mineral, get Geodes, Frozen Geodes, and Magma Geodes to increase your odds.

Save your Omni Geodes and exchange them for Artifact Troves. Artifacts are generally tougher and you can rarely finish them without using Artifact Troves.

How it works:

  • Hold on to your Omni Geode
  • Find missing minerals in common geode types
  • Save your Omni Geodes for Artifact Troves which you can buy from the Desert Trader

 

9. Don’t be afraid to pass out

Passing out isn't as bad as it sounds in Stardew Valley.

You shouldn’t pass out in your first Spring since the energy penalty is huge. However, it becomes less of a problem as the game progresses. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t lose items for passing out, only for losing HP. Passing out simply makes you lose 10% of your money capped at 1,000g. That isn’t an issue and those extra two hours of work are often much more valuable than 1k gold. 

How it works:

  • Passing out isn’t as bad as people make it out to be
  • You only use 10% of your money capped at 1,000g.
  • The extra time can help you finish your daily activities. 

 

8. Check the Travelling Cart every Friday and Sunday

The Travelling Cart sells a lot of useful goods.

Completing the Community Center can be a handful if you’re new to the game. What can make your job easier is the Travelling Cart. You can find it in Cindersap Forest left of Marnie every Friday and Sunday. The lady sells random items each time you find her. Sometimes, she may have items you need to complete the Community Center. If you’re lucky, you might even finish it in Year 1!

How it works:

  • Check the Travelling Cart every Friday and Sunday
  • See if she sells something you need for completing the Community Center
  • Buy all the times you need if you can afford them

 

7. Upgrade your Tools

Rush your tool upgrades as soon as possible.

When you start the game, you have very weak tools in your inventory. They’re slow and consume a lot of energy per use. Luckily, you can upgrade them. Each upgrade is more expensive than the last and costs rarer metal bars. 

You should prioritize the upgrades in this order: Axe, Pickaxe, Hoe, Watering Can, and Trash Can. You can also upgrade your fishing rod but that one you just buy with gold. 

How it works:

  • Upgrade your tools if you can afford it
  • You can charge your Hoe and Watering Can for AoE tilling and watering
  • Better Axe and Pickaxe work faster and can break tougher obstacles

 

6. Keep your first Dinosaur Egg

Don't donate your first Dinosaur Egg.

Much like with the Prismatic Shard, people tend to donate their first Dinosaur Egg to the museum. But this is a mistake. You should instead place it into the incubator in your coop to hatch a cute little Dinosaur. Once it grows up, it will produce a Dinosaur Egg every 7 days. 

How it works:

  • Keep it instead of donating it.
  • Hold on to your first Dinosaur Egg
  • Use it to hatch a Dinosaur in your coop.
  • Keep multiplying your Dinosaurs since Dinosaur Mayonnaise sells for a lot. 

 

 

5. Don’t throw trash away

Don't throw trash away.

And when I say trash, I don’t mean trash items – I mean literal trash. Get the recycling machine instead. Not that eco-friendliness is a thing in Stardew Valley but trash produces valuable items when recycled. Recycling Broken Glasses and Broken CDs is great for farming Refined Quartz. The other trash items can give you coal which you can never get enough of either.

How it works:

  • Hold on to trash and recycle it.
  • Get several recycling machines to farm valuable resources. 
  • Store excess trash in a chest.

 

4. Chop down weeds when you can

Destroy weeds and debris if you can.

Weeds are those tiny little bushes that spawn on both your farm and outside. Those on your farm can be very dangerous since they spread. And as they spread, they destroy surrounding items permanently. Make sure you chop them down or you may lose valuable items such as Kegs and Sprinklers.

Weeds also drop Mixed Seeds. Mixed Seeds can grow into several crops based on the season. If you don’t have anything else to plant. You can use your Mixed Seeds for pure profit. Just don’t plant them too late into the season or they may not grow to maturity.

How it works:

  • Chop down weeds for Mixed Seeds
  • Plant the Mixed Seeds at the beginning of a season for free crops.
  • Never throw them away, always store them in a chest.

 

3. Focus on tapping as many Oak Trees as you can

Oak trees are great for making a lot of Kegs.

An Oak Tree orchard is something you should be rushing as soon as possible. The Tappers will produce Oak Resin every 9 days. You’ll need this product to make Kegs, a piece of refining equipment that turns fruit into Wine. Wine is the best-selling product in the game. Once you get it, your income will rise considerably.

How it works:

  • Grow Oak Trees on your farm or outside it.
  • Tap the trees to get Oak Resin.
  • Use the Oak Resin to make Kegs. 

 

2. Plant your first Ancient Seed in your Greenhouse

The Ancient Seed is the best thing to plant in your Greenhouse.

The ancient seed is a rare artifact. Once you get it, you’ll get a growable ancient seed. The common mistake is planting it outside. Although it grows through seasons, it dies in winter. But if you plant it in the Greenhouse, it will grow all year round. During your first harvest, place the Ancient Fruit into a Seed Maker to get more seeds. Keep doing this until you fill your entire Greenhouse and you’ll soon be making a lot of money. You can do the same with your Ginger Island Farm once you unlock it. 

How it works:

  • Donate your first ancient seed to the museum. 
  • Plant the seed you get as a reward in your Greenhouse.
  • Keep multiplying your Ancient Fruit plants by using the Seedmaker.

 

1. Don’t ignore the salmonberry/blackberry seasons

Berries recover a lot of energy.

The salmonberry and blackberry seasons spawn berries on bushes across the entire Stardew Valley. How many you get depends on your foraging level. But it’s always a good idea to pick them up since they recover a decent amount of energy. You’ll struggle with energy a lot early into the game and these berries are not worth selling anyway.

How it works:

  • Bushes drop a lot of salmonberries and blackberries.
  • Salmonberries spawn in Spring 15-18 and Blackberries in Fall 8-11.
  • Don’t sell them, use them as a source of energy. 

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Gamer Since: 2009
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:Joe Devers Lone Wolf HD Remastered, Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna, Dear Esther


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DarthRevan501st 1 year 1 month ago

Great article and information. Glad i read it this morning.

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