People love finding unique ways to spice up The Sims 4, and challenges have always been a solid method of doing that. EA recently began putting out their own formal scenarios, but player-regulated challenges have been a mainstay in The Sims series forever. One of the most popular is rags to riches, which sees you starting with an empty lot and zero simoleons, and you’ve got to build a life from there.
With money and resources incredibly sparse when you first begin, there are certain packs that can lessen the burden of starting with nothing. Whether it’s got helpful gameplay additions or inexpensive furniture on offer, grab one of these packs before your next challenge for a bit of a boost.
7 Dream Home Decorator
While a lot of what came with Dream Home Decorator was meant to be elaborate, it had a lot to offer in the Build/Buy catalog overall – 140 new items, to be exact. Sure, it’ll be a while before you’re messing with the fancier, more innovative furniture, and the career is far from the easiest way to earn money when you’re getting started, but some of the stuff it comes with can prove to be a big help.
Naturally, a building-centric pack was going to be primarily centered on Build/Buy, and in doing so, The Sims Team gave us some wonderful ways to make it through with next to nothing. Can’t afford a whole stove? Grab a set of countertop burners so you can at least make scrambled eggs. Limited space? Bunk bed with a desk, dresser, or couch underneath. There’s even a chair in this pack called the Rags to Riches Chair, too – it’s not cheap, but we love a good nod to the Sims community.
6 Outdoor Retreat
Since it’ll probably take some time before you can build yourself anything resembling an actual house, outdoorsy furniture seems like a natural addition for your challenge. Outdoor Retreat was all about camping, and while there are some more glamorous options included for once your fledgling family has made their fortune, you can cover a lot of ground with the more basic stuff from this pack.
You can get a pretty solid setup to start with it, for instance, and without spending much. There’s a cot for §255, which is uncomfortable, but probably less so than passing out on the ground. For seating, there are plenty of nature-centric options that cost below §100, as well as one-piece picnic tables, too. There’s a very basic shower for §335, a cooler for §145, as well as inexpensive and rustic decor items for once you’ve finally “made it” and can splurge a little on your environment, too.
5 City Living
While there are indeed luxury apartments available in City Living, they’re a pretty far way off for your Sim when you’re doing a challenge like this, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get something from the pack. In it, your Sim can purchase used furniture in a couple of different ways. It won’t be the cream of the crop, sure, but it’s definitely better than nothing.
Secondhand furniture like beds, counters, fridges, and stoves have been added to the Build/Buy catalog. Additionally, City Living introduced festivals, and the Flea Market just might become your favorite one. Head down to the Spice Market neighborhood on any given Sunday for a rotating selection of inexpensive seating, lamps, and trinkets, which you’re occasionally able to haggle down to a lower price, too.
4 Cottage Living
Not only was the Cottage Living expansion highly sought after by Simmers the world over, it’s also an incredible addition for a rags to riches challenge, too. When the point of a pack is starting a farmstead and living off the land, its additions are hard to pass up when your Sim has few other survival options.
There’s a bounty of new crops that your Sim can plant and tend to with the Gardening skill (and some help from the friendly neighborhood animals), and they might even become prize-winning giants, too. You can even raise livestock once you’ve got enough money saved to properly care for them, and not only can you turn their goods into higher-earning items, but you can even win prizes at the Finchwick Fair for especially noteworthy showings.
3 Discover University
What other group of people is stereotyped as being broke quite like college kids, starting their lives with next to nothing in the bank? There’s a reason people hum and ho about their time in college – the cheap furniture, the roommate situation, the amount of instant ramen they’ve eaten – and The Sims implemented it pretty perfectly in this pack. Whether you attend classes is up to you, but you can still make use of the Build/Buy items regardless.
Can’t afford your bills yourself? Take on a roommate, as long as you’ve got a spare bed on the lot. Need an inexpensive way to fill needs? Snag one of the cheap-but-efficient beds, mini-fridges, or even the wall shower that came with the pack. Got enough spare cash to make your house feel like a home, finally? Décor items are economical, numerous, and pretty damn adorable.
2 Eco Lifestyle
This pack, as you can guess from the title, is all about ecological stability and finding a way to make the most out of the least. With Eco Lifestyle, your Sims are able to live pretty much entirely off-the-grid, becoming self-sustainable while reducing their carbon footprint, too. Win-win.
Locate a dumpster and dive on in to see what you can find, then head to one of the maker spaces to see what new treasures you can turn your trash into, either to sell or for your own use at home. Sell back the water and electricity you didn’t use for a steady way to lower your bills. The Freegan trait is helpful as well, since it helps you find better stuff in dumpsters, and your Sims will even enjoy not spending money.
1 Tiny Living
Your first homestead during this challenge isn’t going to be very nice, or very big. When you have to decide between building a wall and eating that day, it’s critical to make the most of the space you do have, and the Tiny Living stuff pack encourages just that. And if you’re not going to be enjoying a lot of room in your hodge-podge house, then you might as well milk what you’ve got.
With Tiny Living, you have items that serve multiple functions, like the TV-stereo-bookshelf hybrid or the Murphy Bed that acts as both a loveseat and a pull-out mattress (as long as it doesn’t kill you). Not only that, but there’s a new lot assignment that boosts your benefits from living in a small space, too.
It’s a sliding scale, but homes that take up less than 32 tiles are considered Micro Homes, and they’re easily the best bang for your limited buck. Your bills are reduced, plants grow twice as fast (meaning you can eat or sell them that much sooner), your relationships rise at double the speed, your skills will increase even faster, and pleasant emotional buffs like comfort and happiness are doubled as well. Since you won’t have a lot to start off with by design of the rags to riches challenge, it’s an excellent way to give yourself a head start when your Sim’s situation is looking sort of bleak.
NEXT: The Sims: Base Game Challenges That Don’t Require DLC