How to Stop Losing Money in Cities: Skylines 2

Can you *really* afford another hospital right now?

by J.R. Waugh
Stop Losing Money Cities Skylines 2
Image: Attack of the Fanboy

When you start your playthrough of Cities: Skylines 2, your first instinct might be to go into a panic about how you can stop losing your money in the game. While we can assure you that all is not lost and your budget will improve over time, you should consider some particular tips and tricks to manage your city’s wealth.

The following is a brief guide on how you can manage your wealth, where your best investments lie early on, and where you can focus while playing. Our advice is to follow these guidelines before taking any drastic measures as you grow your wealth in Cities: Skylines 2!

Cities: Skylines 2 Wealth Guide: How to Stop Losing Money

Image: Attack of the Fanboy

Focus on growing your population first and growing your basic services while not overbuilding at first. Build homes to meet demand as shown on the colored meter at the bottom-left of the UI, and keep your population happy, as this results in more people wanting to live in your city. The following tips will help you stop losing money in Cities: Skylines 2:

Related: How to Grow Your City Population in Cities: Skylines 2

  • Lower taxes as much as possible early on
  • Build just enough power plants, water supply facilities, waste management, and services; these cost a lot to build and maintain
  • Fill out your beginning area before expanding outward, making it easier to scale up your response to zone demand
  • As you build services and level up your city, you’ll get large sums; invest in improving services
  • When building commercial zones, make sure they’re accessible or even directly near residences
    • Pedestrian road access helps here a lot
  • If your population is happy and growth starts taking off, raise residential taxes incrementally

The most common budget expenses that cause you early losses are services and overall upkeep, but these are essential. These costs get mitigated over time as your population grows, with taxes and subsidies making up for this loss. The idea is to be patient and not to try to build everything at once, or else you’ll not have the room to spend on essentials like fire departments when housefires break out.

What Not to Do When Trying to Save Money in CS2

It might be tempting but try not to lower your budget for services like Healthcare or Fire & Rescue anywhere below 80% for too long. Lowering your budget too far can reduce responsiveness, so a burning house could burn down, or crime could increase during this. This will result in lower happiness, more people moving away, and potentially more expenses than what you were trying to cut.

Don’t overtax residences, this will make citizens immediately unhappy, and potentially unable to afford rent. Free up the civilians’ expenses so they can put more into your local commerce. Also, since it’s less unpopular, you can get away with taxing commercial or industrial zones more, but don’t expect as much of a return.

- This article was updated on October 26th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a Staff Writer with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. is streaming his favorite RPGs and other forgotten gems.