I've noticed my Sims seem to earn a lot more money when gardening than they do at their day jobs. After crunching the numbers, I found out this wasn't just an illusion - depending on the crop of choice, a Sim can earn money two to three times faster with gardening than they can at an entry-level day job with roughly the same amount of player effort. If the player has time to devote to constantly refreshing crops that have shorter growing cycles, much higher rates are easily possible!

Of course, the Sims do advance in their careers and so can earn more money with their day jobs. But, by the time that's achieved, the player can just as quickly have reached a level where even higher-yield low-effort crops are available.

So, where's the real incentive for the Sims to get a job? Is it just a matter of player preference and role-play, or are there other benefits in the game's mechanics that I'm just not seeing yet?

  • 1
    This sounds quite a bit like a, "Why did they design it that way?" type of question.
    – Frank
    Sep 18, 2013 at 12:22
  • 4
    @fbueckert No, it's a simple matter of "Am I missing something?". Either there are other incentives provided via in-game mechanics, or there aren't - which is it and, if there are, what are they?
    – Iszi
    Sep 18, 2013 at 13:27
  • 4
    Agreed. Put another way, "Is there a benefit to having a job, as opposed to simply gardening?" Sep 18, 2013 at 22:47
  • @fbueckert That was my initial impression too, from the title and first paragraph. Reading it through twice was required to correct my first impression. I think the intention is to be cute, but it could use an edit to make the cuteness sound less like a "why design?" question. Sep 19, 2013 at 0:35
  • This is a question many people ask themselves every day in real life.
    – Zibbobz
    Jul 24, 2014 at 13:26

5 Answers 5


You are correct in that past updates of the game gardening, baking and certain hobbies were much more efficient in payout rate than careers. However, with the most current update (version 5.12.0) after all of the milestone quests and challenges, careers finally make as much, if not more, money. Here are the numbers to back this up.

Here are the rates for gardening and baking, sorted by highest to lowest rate per minute. This is assuming you purchase seeds and ingredients at the grocery store to procure the lowest price.

Bell Pepper: §8.00 / minute
Carrots: §5.80 / minute
Corn: §4.50 / minute
Watermelons: §2.53 / minute
Potato: §2.17 / minute
Zucchini: §1.75 / minute
Onions: §1.61 / minute
Beans: §1.36 / minute
Hamburger: §0.63 / minute
Garlic: §0.36 / minute
Pumpkin: §0.35 / minute
Chilli Pepper: §0.18 / minute

Hot Cross Buns: §1.50 / minute
Cookies: §1.00 / minute
Heart-Shaped Chocolates: §0.75 / minute
Pancakes: §0.60 / minute
Apple Pie: §0.45 / minute
Muffins: §0.43 / minute
Choc Pudding: §0.25 / minute
Cheesecake: §0.17 / minute
Gingerbread Sims: §0.14 / minute
Caramel Slice: §0.12 / minute
Croissants: §0.10 / minute
Danish: §0.10 / minute
Turkey: §0.08 / minute
Pumpkin Pie: §0.03 / minute

This doesn't include transgenic crops or bakery items, which have a failure rate of somewhere around 50%, so in the long run those don't necessarily pay off. The quickest crops and baked goods in general have the best rate.

At the highest level (5), here are the equivalent rates for working at a career, sorted by highest to lowest pay rate.

Actor: (5 hours) §6.20 / minute
Real Estate Agent: (5 hours) §5.08 / minute
Athlete: (6 hours) §5.00 / minute
Musician: (7 hours) §4.17 / minute
Teacher: (5 hours) §3.48 / minute
Politician: (6 hours) §3.39 / minute
Artist: (7 hours) §3.00 / minute
Scientist: (8 hours) §3.00 / minute
Fire Fighter: (9 hours) §2.78 / minute

The added benefit to having a career comes when there are particular goals that are career related (such as, send 5 Sims to work, or start a career as a politician) or in order to fulfill life-dreams for orbs. In the case of orbs, career life-dreams are much more efficient than many of the other life-dreams, and still enable your Sim to have time to partake in other hobbies and/or gardening or baking when they're not at work.

As you can see, the careers aren’t necessarily much more time-efficient than gardening, however, unless you want to spend 30-second intervals gardening, you are better off having your sims go to a career. They will also make more money at a career while you’re sleeping than doing a several hour gardening task.

All of this information is subject to change with future game updates.


When your sim works they gain work experience and that can promote your sims to get more money, it requires less simoleons because you need simoleons to garden, it depends if you counted the money it costs, or without the cost, or by buying the seeds at the grocery store.

  • I've lost track of the spreadsheet I used to calculate out everything, but I do believe I was factoring in seed cost.
    – Iszi
    Jul 24, 2014 at 14:07
  • @Iszi is correct, planting and certain hobbies (at least before the updates, hobbies like fashion were amazing at generating money) are definitely more time-efficient than careers. Not only that, if you purchase seeds at the home store, you get value toward your town value, and a discount on seeds.
    – lemontwist
    Mar 14, 2015 at 13:10

The time the jobs starts and yes, XP and salary. If you get up early and work in the morning with no phone access or time constraints (real life), the 6 a.m. athlete may be easier to get to work on time for you and so on and so forth

  • I don't follow how this answers the question at all. Gardening is much more flexible than jobs that are on a fixed schedule, so this does not demonstrate any benefit of having a job over gardening.
    – Iszi
    Jul 24, 2014 at 14:08

The real benefit comes when you build the Competition Center. If no one has a career, you'll have to sit out about every other day.

  • Can you elaborate a bit?
    – DrFish
    Dec 31, 2014 at 9:04
  • The competition center holds events where Sims can compete on various skilled items related to hobbies, not careers. For example, your Sim who is fully leveled up on diving can compete in a diving competition. A competition lasts one day, and the highest prize is 3 LP. So, it has nothing to do with careers, plus it is not always worth it to spend an entire day for the possibility of receiving 3 LP. In my opinion, the competition center is the least useful building on the map.
    – lemontwist
    Mar 14, 2015 at 13:08

The advantage to having a job is that you dont have to do so much gardening.

  • 4
    Thanks, Cap'n!
    – Iszi
    Sep 19, 2013 at 3:59
  • 1
    no, really! if you coordinate and fast forward time, having a job means you can make money much faster, not in sims time but in real world time. Maybe you can do better with gardening per work-hour of your SIMS' life, but a job will make money on fast forward.
    – jzn
    Sep 19, 2013 at 10:27
  • 1
    All useful details which should have been included in the answer. Regardless, I'm not looking for something to help me cheat better - I'm looking for an actual, by-design benefit to having a job instead of gardening.
    – Iszi
    Sep 19, 2013 at 13:15

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