Red Dead Redemption 2 guide: making money

Rockstar Games via Polygon

Making money, like a lot of things in Red Dead Redemption 2, is rarely a fast process. A lot of what you do will only earn you a few dollars at a time. There’s no real best way to make money, but there are a lot of ways to earn a few dollars here and there. This guide will list our favorites.

Play the main story missions

While it feels like money is hard to come by for a long time in the beginning of the game, at a certain point — around the end of Chapter 2 — you’ll get a windfall for well over $1,000. As you continue playing the main story missions, you’ll continue getting substantial payouts, and money will no longer be a problem.

Do the optional missions

Starting in Chapter 3, gang members will occasionally offer optional missions like home, coach, and bank robberies. These are usually well worth the time (and bullets) you have to invest.

Later, shady Postmasters will give you tips about wagons you can rob. These are quick tasks that will earn you some cash, but they don’t pay out nearly as well.

Bounty Hunting

Sure, bounty hunting is a little hypocritical, but $40 is $40.
Rockstar Games via Polygon

Ten times over the course of the game, you’ll happen across wanted posters in Sheriff’s Offices and Post Offices. When you pick up the poster, you’ll be able to go retrieve the criminal and deliver them to a sheriff for a (relatively) easy payday. These aren’t going to earn you new horse money, but you’ll get $25 to $100 or so.

Loot everyone (and check their horses)

We’ve been saying this since our Red Dead Redemption 2 beginner’s guide, but loot everyone and anything you can. You’ll pick up plenty of ammo and consumables, but you’ll also grab cash and valuables. You can sell valuables — like jewelry and pocket watches (so many pocket watches) — at a Fence.

We always go the Fence in Van Horn so we can interact with this man’s beautiful haircut.
Rockstar Games via Polygon

While you’re looting the people you’ve shot, don’t forget about their horses. If you track them down and approach them, you can search its saddlebags — just make sure you pat them a lot and calm them down first (we’ve gotten kicked in the head more often than we care to admit). You’ll usually find useful consumables and cash in the bags.

Sell (stolen) horses and wagons

While you’re killing bad guys and taking their stuff, don’t forget about their rides. You’ll unlock a Wagon Fence during Chapter 2 and a Horse Fence during Chapter 3. Once you’re done looting corpses, grab the bad guys’ wagon or horse and go pawn them. Stolen horses will earn you about $10 or so (that increases a lot if you’re bonded to the horse) and wagons earn you a bit more.

Hunt smarter

While you’re hunting, you’re going to pick up a lot of stuff. You can sell it to Butchers for (a little) cash. You’re going to have to do a lot of hunting to earn respectable money, though. If you’re careful about hunting, you can make hunting a lot more efficient.

Red Dead Redemption 2 guide: Perfect Pelts
To get the most money for your time or to craft anything, you need to obtain Perfect Pelts. There’s a lot confusing about what goes into determining the quality of the pelt you get off of an animal. This guide will break it all down so you can get the best pelts every time.

Look for lockboxes and chests

Stumps are like safe deposit boxes.
Rockstar Games via Polygon

Scattered around the world, there are about 75 lockboxes. You can usually find these in strange places like abandoned buildings, stumps and rock walls. You’ll find useful items inside and the occasional gold bar (which you can sell at a fence for $500).

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