BitLife is almost four years old as we speak, and the game just keeps getting better and better. While the pace of new updates has noticeably slowed down since 2020, Candywriter keeps ensuring that players keep coming back to the popular life simulator game. From the weekly challenges to the big update that allowed Android players to keep up with their iOS equivalents, the company has kept the game’s fans in mind all throughout, but it’s hard to argue with the belief that major updates are what really get fans excited more than anything else.
A few weeks ago, Candywriter finally ended the wait and rolled out the Street Hustler Update, which comes with a plethora of new features, not all of which are related to the actual ability to hit the streets to earn a living. This is one of multiple new updates we could be getting as BitLife draws closer to its fourth birthday, and while this is the first big update we’ve gotten in several months, we are nonetheless grateful for it — we’re sure most of you feel the same way if you’re a longtime player who’s looking for more replay value.
So without further ado, let’s break down the Street Hustler Update in this new BitLife strategy guide — here’s a close look at each of the update’s main features, and what they mean to you if you decide working as a Street Hustler could be your ticket out of the virtual poorhouse.
The Basics of the Street Hustler Update
With the Street Hustler update, you now have multiple ways to (oftentimes illegally) convince people to part ways with their hard-earned money, and if you get good at it, you could make yourself a fortune in a few years’ time. It won’t be as lucrative as being a famous musician or movie star, but you can expect some nice financial rewards if you become skilled.
The most fundamental requirement for all Street Hustlers is that you need to be at least 18 years old before taking on this job…if you could call it a job. Although BitLife does allow players to get their Bitizens into a variety of illegal situations, it also makes sure that these fictional characters are of legal age before they get into all that hanky panky— even movie and pop/rock/rap stardom requires that you be at least 18! But with that being said, what kind of hustles can you get into once you’ve decided to become a Street Hustler?
The first option would be to work as a Scam Artist, which encompasses a variety of scams of different difficulties — everything from bump-and-grab schemes to fake arrests where you essentially impersonate a police officer. You can also choose to be a Panhandler, which pretty much entails begging for money from the aforementioned random strangers. Thirdly, you can entertain passers-by as a Street Performer, which includes performing as a magician, breakdancer, fire-eater, and whatnot.
Lastly, you can choose to become a Busker, which would require you to play an instrument while people give you money, food, drugs, and all sorts of random items — if they aren’t turned off by your playing. You’ll need to own a musical instrument in order to busk, so keep this in mind before choosing this hustle.
Before choosing your hustle, you will be asked to choose a street for you to ply your trade. Streets are rated in BitLife based on three statistics. Traffic indicates how many people pass by that street, so a high Traffic area would mean a greater chance of earning big money if you operate in that part of town. Crime is self-explanatory, but breaking things down a bit further, high Crime areas mean a good chance of getting attacked by potential scam victims, passers-by, and other NPCs.
Lastly, Police is also self-explanatory, with a fuller bar indicating that the street has lots of cops on duty, and a higher chance that you may be arrested. If you’re starting out with the Street Hustler Update, we suggest looking for the street that has the best combination of high Traffic, low Crime, and low Police presence. You can always choose to move to another street if you see fit, or if circumstances are forcing you to ply your trade elsewhere.
You can also elect to choose another hustle at any time you wish — if the money isn’t good enough, if your hustle is too dangerous, or if you’re bored and want to try something new, simply tap on Hustles in your Job menu and pick another one that might serve you better.
There Are Over a Dozen Scams to Choose From
Arguably, the most interesting of the four Hustles is the Scam Artist one, and that’s because there are more than a dozen different scams you can choose from. Initially, only the beginner-level ones will be available, and these include Bump-and-Grab, where you will be stealing items by bumping into people and grabbing whatever they’re holding, Fake Merchandise, which requires you to sell fake items at inflated prices, Fake Monk, which entails convincing people to donate to a phony monastery, and Item Drop, where you will be dropping an item in front of someone, accusing them of breaking it, and asking them to pay to replace it. These are all fairly easy to pull off and master, but they’re far from the only scams you can choose from.
The Intermediate scams include a few rigged games — a Craps Game with loaded dice, and Shell Game and Three-Card Monte, where it will be up to you to move the right shell or card elsewhere after your victim guesses where it is. You can also cut open people’s bags and steal stuff via the Bag-Cutting Scam, organize fake charities via the Charity Collections Scam, pretend to be seriously hurt with the Fake Injury Scam, and sell an ultimately worthless gold ring with the Gold Ring Scam.
Lastly, the Advanced scams include four different schemes, starting with the aforementioned Fake Arrest, where you will pretend to be a cop and arrest people on made-up charges, Fake Weed, where you will (obviously) dupe people by selling them phony marijuana, Nightclub Promoter Scam, where you will be asking people to pay you money in order to get information on an underground nightclub that doesn’t really exist, and VIP Ticket Scam, where you will be selling fake VIP tickets to an upcoming concert.
Don’t be disheartened if at first, these scams don’t appear to be very lucrative. As long as your Skill bar is still in red or orange territory, you’ll be lucky if you get more than $100 per victim, but as you continue pulling off successful scams, your Skill level will increase, and so will your Street Smarts, which is essentially your reputation stat as a Street Hustler. Speaking of that Street Smarts stat…
Your Street Smarts Can Take Two Steps Back for Every One Step Forward!
Generally speaking, pulling off a successful scam as a Scam Artist results in a 4 percent increase to your Street Smarts. Your success rate will depend largely on your Skill, which gradually increases if your scam works and gradually decreases if it doesn’t, which could mean the victim demanding their money back, the victim turning out to be an undercover cop, or any instance where the person you approach sees through your scam.
So it may be hard at first to build up your Street Smarts, especially when starting a new scam, changing streets, or hitting the Age button — that’s because you will be asked to do up to five straight scams of the same type, and decide whether to target the potential victim or not. Pulling off all those scams without getting busted can be really, really hard!
The reason we mention that is because you will be getting the equivalent of a double whammy in most instances where the person you’re scamming doesn’t think you’re on the level. You lose about 4 percent once you get found out, and another 4 percent when you react to them by insulting them, ignoring them, or attacking them. The only instances where you won’t get docked twice are when you insist that they pay you what you’re asking and they agree, or if you choose to move to a new street to avoid the person you unsuccessfully tried to con.
Oftentimes, the best thing to do here may be to quit the game and restart it each time your would-be victim notices that something might be amiss. That would allow you to redo the scam (or series of scams) from the start without losing any Street Smarts or seeing your Skill in a certain scam diminish.
Avoid Scamming Cops, and Be Wary of Those Working Undercover!
Depending on how much police presence your street has, you may encounter at least one police officer while you’re making the rounds in your street and pulling off a series of scams. While it is possible that every once in a while, you may be able to fool the cops and con them out of a few dollars, they will far more often than not arrest you on fraud charges if you even as much as try and pull your scams on them!
As such, we strongly advise you to pass on police officers when plying your trade as a Scam Artist, and never manually choose them when reviewing the people on your street (more on that later) and choosing someone to individually scam.
What happens when you try scamming a police officer and they arrest you? In most cases, if it’s your first arrest, you will be facing three years in prison for fraud, which isn’t much, but could ultimately dull your scamming skills if you even end up serving a reduced sentence after pleading guilty. You can, of course, use your Scam Artist earnings to get a high-priced lawyer, but it might not be worth it at the end of the day.
In addition to the men and women in blue, your street may also have an undercover police officer posing as an average denizen of the BitLife universe, disguising themselves as anything from a famous novelist to the ever-present blind and deaf men who don’t act as blind or deaf as they are purported to be.
There is no rock-solid way to determine which random passer-by is actually an undercover cop, so if you get busted by one while scamming, the option is always there to quit BitLife, restart the game, and redo your scamming attempts. (Bonus tip — It would seem that undercover cops become more likely to bust you once your Street Smarts are at the 70 percent mark or higher. With greater scamming power comes greater danger!)
Know When to Stop Pushing Your Luck!
During those times where you’re scamming a series of people, you may have those moments where you’ve pulled off two, maybe three successful scams in a row. Your Street Smarts are increasing and so is your Skill in that particular scam.
Unfortunately, the next scam you pull is not successful, and as a result of the jig being up, you’ve lost a chunk of Street Smarts and your Skill level isn’t any higher than it was before you started that string of scams. That means it might not be too smart to keep pushing your luck when you’re on a hot streak.
Of course, it’s not at all advisable to do a bump-and-grab or sell fake merchandise to a cop, but personally, we recommend stopping at three successful scams in a row to be on the safe side. You can also take context clues from the reactions of the people you interact with. If there’s something suggesting that they’re not in a good mood, it may be best to avoid them and move on to the next potential victim.
But if they’re too preoccupied playing BitLife on their phone, as is sometimes the case, there’s a good chance they’ll be distracted enough to give you some money so they can get back to their game. This isn’t 100 percent accurate all the time, but reading into the reactions of the people on your street can be helpful in increasing both your chances of improving your scamming skills and success rate.
You Can Pull Off Individual Scams Through the People Sub-Menu
The People sub-menu in the Job menu can be quite useful you’re trying to earn some extra bucks and improve your Skill in a certain scam before you hit the Age button. Each person has a visible Money bar that indicates how much cash they may end up giving you if they fall for your scam, and their occupations are also listed next to their name.
These people are also divided into two categories. Regulars include beggars, sex workers, cops, and other people you’d typically see on the street on a regular basis, while Passers-By is just that — people with varying occupations and varying wealth.
Tap on any person in the Regulars or Passers-By section and you will see some of the usual options you may be familiar with from previous BitLife updates — Attack and Insult, to be specific. But there are some interactions that were added for the purpose of the Street Hustler Update, and these include Kick Out, which allows you to kick the person off your street (not really recommended, as this often doesn’t yield any positive results), Panhandle, which allows you to beg for money from the person, Scam, which lets you choose a scam to pull off on the person, and Serenade, which lets you sing a popular song to the person That also doesn’t come with high recommendations, unless you don’t mind losing some Happiness after the person insults you for being untalented and awful.
Panhandling — A Lower Risk, Lower Reward Hustle
Next up, we’re going to discuss Panhandling as the second type of hustle you can choose as a Street Hustler in BitLife. The best way to describe this would be the lowest-risk type of hustle, but also the one with the lowest reward. And that doesn’t really take into account the meager earning potential you may have during your usual runs.
After you choose Panhandling as a hustle, you will see four different sections, with a number of options available to choose from in the drop-down box. First, you can pick a prop that could help you elicit sympathy from the people on your street — it can be a straw hat, a matted poncho, a walker, or any other accessory that could serve the purpose of making you look more down-and-out than you really are.
You can then pick the message for your sign — what’s in it for the passers-by after they give you money, and what’s in it for you? Are you going to use that money to get back on your feet, or are you going to prank their bully as a token of gratitude? That sign may also explain why you took to panhandling — maybe your family ghosted you or something.
Next up, you can choose to receive your money in a dog bowl, broken purse, or various other collection boxes. And lastly, the game gives you the choice of panhandling strategy — will you panhandle next to an ATM, at a parking garage, or at a bingo hall where there may be a lot of gullible seniors?
Similar to how your choice of weapon, getaway vehicle, and costume seems to be irrelevant in determining your odds of a successful bank robbery, your choices of panhandling tactics don’t seem to be relevant in terms of determining how much money you may earn. It all boils down to personal preference, though you can go to the Strategy sub-menu at any time and make any changes you see fit.
We did say earlier that panhandling is a low-risk, low-reward endeavor, and to expound on that, you really shouldn’t expect a plethora of financial rewards with this hustle — think $20 or less per passer-by that decides to drop some money in your collection plate. Fortunately, though, you can earn thousands of dollars per year after hitting the Age button, as the game will automate your panhandling activities over the course of a year. Think $20,000 a year on a busy street, though that value may be much lower if you’re located in a street that isn’t quite as filled with people.
Busking is Like Panhandling, But Much More Rewarding
The third choice of hustle in the Street Hustler Update is Busking, and as we mentioned earlier, you can only choose this hustle if you have a guitar, trumpet, or any other easily portable musical instrument in your possession. We will explain this later on in this guide, but you did read that right — it is now possible to buy, sell, and play musical instruments in BitLife.
Assuming you have a portable music instruments that you can take with you on the streets, you’ll see another four drop-down boxes when you choose Busker. First drop-down box allows you to choose the instrument you prefer playing while busking (you need to actually own these items), the second lets you pick the type of music you will be playing (everything from classical music to heavy metal is available here), the third lets you choose your busking wardrobe, and the last drop-down box, again, lets you choose the type of collection box you wish to use.
Much like the strategy for busking and the strategy for robbing banks we mentioned above for the sake of comparison, it doesn’t seem relevant which genre you choose, which props you bring, and which pieces of clothing you wear. What is relevant is your skill in playing the instrument you choose to bring along with you while busking.
The better your knowledge is of your chosen instrument, the more money you can bring home with you as a busker, and that’s good news. You won’t earn that much while actively busking before tapping on the Age button, but when you hit the button, you should see a windfall of cash drop in if you’re particularly skilled in your busking instrument.
Once again, the bulk of your earnings here will be passive, so focus more on practicing your busking skills and overall skills at your instrument — you can do the former in the job menu, and do the latter by playing your instrument after selecting it in the Assets section or taking music lessons.
There Are Many Ways You Can Become a Street Performer
Last, but definitely not the least in the list of broader hustles in the BitLife Street Hustler Update is the Street Performer hustle. Here, you can choose from a wide range of acts, including, but not limited to, Flatulist (i.e. someone who makes music by passing gas — you heard that right), Sword Swallower, Breakdancer, Mime, and Juggler.
It’s pretty much like the circus but only on the streets, with a fair number of street-specific acts such as Breakdancer thrown into the mix. Aside from choosing your act, you can also pick your own attire and collection plate, though those two don’t really influence your earning potential in this hustle.
Just like Panhandler and Busker, you earn the bulk of your income passively as a Street Performer, with the income depending on how skilled you are in your chosen act. As such, it may be advisable to master one before starting another, and if you’re looking to improve your skills in a certain act, all you have to do is choose the Practice option in the job menu, much like you would as a Busker.
Still, being a Street Performer is a more financially sound choice than panhandling. It’s going to be hard to improve your craft (as opposed to Busker, where having Music as a Special Talent could help), but if you work hard at it, this could make you some easy money as a Street Hustler. But is it really that easy?
Being a Street Hustler Comes with Risks, Especially for Certain Street Performers
By looking at the examples of Street Performer acts in the above tip, you can probably tell which acts we are referring to here. Being a Street Performer is more physically intense than busking or panhandling, and that means there is a risk of getting injured — for example, you may suffer a sprain or tear some ligaments while breakdancing, but things could get even worse if you decide to perform as a Sword Swallower.
Naturally, you can expect several untoward injuries to happen while practicing as a Sword Swallower, and if you aren’t careful, that accident during practice might end up killing you! So while it may be all fun and games to choose such an act for your street hustling Bitizen, it may not be the best one to choose if you want to live a long and productive virtual life.
That isn’t to say there aren’t any other dangers across other Street Performer acts or other types of hustles — the NPCs on the street tend to be chippier than usual, and that means they may be more likely to fight back if you attack them. Hustlers with collection plates (i.e. everyone except Scam Artists) can also receive food from passers-by, though not all of the food is good, and some of it may be tainted, thus resulting in a trip to the hospital for food poisoning.
Animals can also pass by while you’re performing, and they may bite you if they don’t like your performance (or if you react the wrong way). But random injuries are seemingly unique to the Street Performer hustle, so be wary of them — and don’t be afraid to quit the game and restart it if the injury is serious, but non-fatal! (Fatal injuries, of course, will kill your character, and that can no longer be undone by quitting and restarting.)
You Can Customize Your Appearance as a Hustler, But It’s All Cosmetic
One neat thing that applies to all hustles and not just one or two in particular is the ability to customize your appearance as a Street Hustler. Finding your look too clean-cut for the world of scamming, panhandling, and busking? No problem — you can opt for a grungier appearance, longer or weirder hair, or get some facial tattoos or bandages, depending on your preference. This, once again, applies to all hustles, and you can choose this by going to the job menu, tapping on Image, and choosing a new appearance for your character.
At the moment, we can’t seem to find any tangible benefit to changing your appearance and “curating your image.” We would think that this could help in throwing the cops off your scent and allowing you to keep scamming, panhandling, busking, or performing without the involvement of the law. It’s also possible that looking more disheveled could make more people show sympathy toward you and consequently give you more money.
However, this doesn’t appear to be the case, as this feature might have been added solely for aesthetic purposes. Still, it’s a cool way to change things up and go for a more authentic look than the one the game assigns you — or the ones you can choose at the salon or barbershop!
New Feature — You Can Now Buy Musical Instruments and Play Them to Get Better
Moving beyond the Street Hustler Update, let’s look at some features that debuted on the update that aren’t directly connected to it. The first of these is the ability to purchase musical instruments via the Shopping sub-menu under Activities. Tap on Shopping you will see right between the Jewelry Stores and Real Estate Brokers a new section labeled as Music Stores.
There’s only one at the moment, but once you access the store, you’ll see various musical instruments — guitars, drums, pianos, trumpets, and many others — that may differ in price depending on their finish and their status, or whether they’re new or used and how used they may be. Tap on any instrument and you’ll see all the pertinent info — the instrument’s price, finish (i.e. the material they’re made from), and status.
After buying an instrument, you will be able to view it in the Assets menu, along with its current condition. The menu upon tapping on the instrument is similar to that for your boats, planes, and other items you can purchase in the Shopping section, but with specific commands that are unique to musical instruments. Just as always, you can discard it, donate it to charity, polish it to make it look shinier and newer, or sell it.
However, you can also play the instrument and get better at playing it as you keep on using it — the improvements to your Skill level won’t be as evident as they may be if you actually took lessons, but there will be some improvements, and you won’t need to spend a single dime. Tuning the instrument, in theory, makes it sound better, but as far as BitLife goes, this is simply another way for you to improve its condition.
Just as you can expect if you’ve been playing a musical instrument with a lot of intensity, or doing so quite frequently, instruments can get damaged in the BitLife universe! Older or poorer quality instruments (those made out of cheaper materials) are more likely to get scratched or damaged in any other way than newer ones, but in any event, you can use Polish or Tune to improve their condition. Still, if your instrument gets damaged while you’re playing it, your Skill won’t improve, so that may be another one of those things where quitting and restarting may be advisable.
New Feature — More Hairdos for Male and Female Bitizens!
Now this is a feature that’s always been more cosmetic than anything else, but it’s welcome nonetheless. You can now choose from a wider range of hairdos when creating a male or female character or trying to change your look at the barbershop/parlor! This applies to any character of any age group, though of course, you won’t be able to change your hairdo at the parlor if you’re younger than 12 years old.
Still, if customization is your thing and you’ve got God Mode to make almost all the changes you want, you can definitely try these new hairdos while trying to change the looks of your NPCs.