tomorrow's calling - studying the world of Animal Crossing

Let Every Man Own His Own Hand:
First Steps to Success

After many (MANY) playthroughs, I've found that there are seven important tricks to navigating Animal Crossing's world better:

Gather Tools First

Buy a basic set of tools--shovel, fishing pole, net, axe, and slingshot--as soon as possible. Nook only carries a few of these items at a time, so it will take a few days to get them all, but don't stop frequenting the shop every day till you get all five of these tools. They are ESSENTIAL!

Shake Trees

Become a tree-shaker--walk up to every non-fruit tree you see and press A to shake it. You might get bee-stung, you might get nothing, but in some trees there are bags of money, and in a couple of trees, there are furniture items! This is a simple (though slightly time-consuming) way to get money during the first few weeks of play, and it's still awesome for getting free furniture later on. (Don't worry about being bee-stung, either; it just means your character looks ugly until you log out and back in again, and some villagers may comment.)

Chat Everyone Up

Talk to every villager (including staffers at various locations) at least once every day. You may be able to help them out delivering gifts to others, picking up something special they want, etc., and in turn they will reward you with stuff you might end up liking for your house. Plus, this also helps build some community and relationships, and you'll find some cool little Easter eggs along the way!

Sell Fruit and Seashells at First

Shake fruit trees and pick up seashells off the beach (the beach forms the southernmost edge of your town). In the early days of gameplay when you haven't got all your tools yet, selling fruit and shells is another great way to make money. Take them to Nook when you're done and sell 'em for a quick cash influx. Which brings me to my next point:

Sell Everything You Ain't Using

Whatever you're not personally using or giving to others, sell it to Nook. He buys EVERYTHING except literal garbage (like tin cans, old boots, spoiled turnips, etc.) Tom Nook is THE way to make money in your town, and he can in turn sell you lots of stuff too. He's running a nice little racket, isn't he?

Dumpster-Dive With No Shame

Along with tree-shaking, be sure to go by your town's dump/recycle bin every morning (early!) and pick up the items left there. No shame in dumpster-diving; that's where I got my first piece of the beautiful Blue furniture series when I first played Animal Crossing for Gamecube way back in the early 2000s! (Just don't pick up pitfalls (the white round item with the red exclamation mark), because you can't sell those.)

Use Letters as Extra Storage

Acquire some stationery early on and write letters to other villagers, or write them to yourself--do anything you can to fill up your portable Letter inventory with 10 letters. You can then put items you need with you all the time in these letters; they will look like "gifts" attached to these letters. This is how I get 10 extra storage spaces to carry around my tools, furniture/outfits I purchase, etc. (Related bonus: if you mail your letters to other villagers with a gift attached, you'll get a gift back! I usually send about 400-500 Bells, or an item I don't need.)