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Red Dead Redemption 2 guide: making money

Earning money for new hats.

Red Dead Redemption 2 guide to making money Rockstar Games via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

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

Picking up a wanted poster at a Sheriff’s Office.
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.

Visiting the Fence in Van Horn in Red Dead Redemption 2
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.

  • Perfect Pelts are worth more than good pelts (which are worth more than poor pelts). While you’re at it, make sure you’re using the right weapon for the animal you’re hunting.
  • Entire (perfect) carcasses are worth more than twice what a perfect pelt is.
  • Animals that are rare in an area sell for more than common animals — you’ll earn more for an alligator skin in Strawberry than in Saint Denis.

Look for lockboxes and chests

A lockbox in a stump.
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).

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.