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I've been playing Simcity Deluxe for iPhone.

I can't have more income than expenses. Ever.

I build all three zone types with proper transport services. There is energy and water alright. I immediately build all other services: health, security, education, garbage disposal, etc.

However, all of that is expensive. No matter how big my population and industry get, the expenses are always greater than the income - not even by drastically increasing the taxes or decreasing the funding for the services like education etc. (I can't do it anyway - they all get angry).

How exactly am I supposed to maintain a city without losing money? Well, that, without putting my Sims into utter misery?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have always found that in SimCity games (note: I haven't played on iOS, but your question implies this holds in that version) if you try to front-load the city to be immediately awesome (ie, build all the services up front) you will quickly descend in to unavoidable bankruptcy.

This is because the best occupants to each zone generally won't appear without good ones from other zones - well educated sims won't move in without good jobs being available and better businesses won't appear without well educated sims to come work for them, etc - everything that gets build at the start will be "low quality" and won't earn enough tax to sustain a full set of services.

If you follow the (over-simplified) rule of not building any service that has an upkeep unless you have sufficient budget surplus to cover that upkeep, you should avoid the most serious of financial problems. Exceptions can be applied if the situation is urgent, such as power or water shortages, and for the first few vital services, such as a fire station to avoid early disasters.

Yes, this means your city will start off a bit crappy, with uneducated, unhealthy, unhappy sims - but when has a fully formed city ever been founded from nothing? Over time, as you improve the city, your earnings from tax will rise (as more affluent and higher density businesses, residents, etc eventually move in) forming a positive feedback loop that allows you to improve the city further, and so on.

So, step one is drop some residential zone and get those first people jobs. Improve their lives a little bit once they are paying tax, then expand and repeat. It will take time and effort, but the big sprawling high-rise city full of awesome will eventually come to you.

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Got it. Finally starting to get simoleons. Utopia's mayor thanks you. Not the citizens though :) –  Omega Jul 1 '12 at 20:16
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  • Raise taxes on residential zones to 8%; More than that and Sims get too angry
  • Enable a couple of money making ordinances like parking fines and legalized gambling

If all else fails, cheat. Shake your phone and the game will prompt you to enter a cheat code. Enter the code "i am weak" to make construction free.

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He could try not building a full city before people are living in it as well, IE: add some zones, get some population, add some more zones, more population, add some transport, more population, add some services... health, education, etc. Building everything before money is even coming in (which is the opinion I seem to get from the question) will always result in you running out of money long before you ever break even. At least that's how it has worked in every other SimCity game before now... –  kalina Jun 29 '12 at 7:40
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