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  1. #1

    Default Low income builders

    Just looking to hear from others and their stories of getting into chopping with a low income. I got a great job, Im getting 8.25 an hour, I get 36 hours at least every week. Something I've always had a problem with is saving my damn money. I know if I save a little each time it'll eventually become a lot, but for the life of me I can't save hardly anything paycheck to paycheck. I guess I'm really looking for motivation from some builders, but I know it's as simple as just saving my money. One thing I need to do is go to school and weld like I had planned, but like takes its turns. Then id probably not be making this post. Anyone have a story of making something from not much? Looking for motivation, to keep me from spending my money when I could be saving for 2 wheels.

  2. #2
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    In some Barrios,
    It's commonly refred too as Growing up.

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    If you are only working 36 hours a week, you need a second job or a different job. Nobody ever succeeded by working only a 40 hour week, and you ain't even making that. Budgeting is hard and requires discipline. So, you have some work to do, on yourself. Get after it, you ain't gettin' any younger.

    There, I hope that helps you out.

    Jim

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    No, working 36 hours a week at $8.25 an hour is moped money.

    Focus on getting a job that pays more and work more hours, then you won't be wondering about cheap builds.

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    You can take welding (and other trades, look over what local trade schools have to offer) as a degree program payed for by a Pell grant (and Lottery money if your state has it) and break even or sometimes turn a tiny profit. Auto mechanics is a very reliable way to make money (I've never met a good mechanic without more work than he can do in a lifetime) and the skills translate to many other jobs. Entry pay isn't great but it's steady work.

    Get thy butt down to your local college Financial Aid office because students are what fund THEIR jobs and they know all the ways to get you funded. Focus on getting skilled because toys are just TOYS while ability and tools make you money.

    The economy on the lower end will be fucked for sometime but the Air Force and Navy are two ways to instant disposable income and an instant career with a nice benefit and retirement package the economy doesn't fuck with. (Gleefully retired AF fighter fixer here. Don't even consider Army or Marines as a career and ALWAYS put "career" above everything else lest ye fuck thy life up.)

    Life is a shit sandwich and the more bread you have the less shit you'll taste. Choppers are toys, they're fun, but for transportation the smart choice is modern-ish, mostly stock, and reliable above all. He who makes his project his main ride will often be a pedestrian.

    You'll work just as hard or harder for shit money so get skilled NOW and don't waste time. What seems OK when you are young turns to shit later on so the best thing you can do is go full adult, get skilled and get experience in the workforce. Learn to be versatile and make ALL your interests (except food and pussy) technical and mutually supporting. Adult education rocks and the instructor career path is Very Nice. Many schools promote from within and have excellent benefits. It's a well-kept sort of secret.

    Do this right like many here have and you'll be wallowing in toys far sooner than you think but never be in debt to do it.

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    I agree with all of the fellows above. What is your great job you mentioned? I see you are in VA, as am I. My advice is to get into the trades. Despite the covid economy there are still big contracts at va tech and other sites close to you and more projects are going out for bid. Yes, this will slow down, however, current backlogs must be met by contractors. Iam an industrial electrician and all of our major competitors are still hiring. My point being, there are opportunities out there if you look. Your future depends on you and only you.

    If you apply yourself and are willing to put in the time you can make great money in most of the trades, but get ready to earn it.

    In my neck of the woods 50-60 hour weeks are nothing. Success will require commitment. End of sermon.....and goodluck

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    Oops, i just reread your profile for some reason i thought i had seen you were from roanoke.....nevermind....

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    Its gonna be real hard doing anything with only working 36 hours a week. Id recommend getting into a trade as an apprentice. Or joining the military for a few years and getting some experience and travel. Then use your GI Bill to pay for an education when you get out.

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    Might be a little late for the military, I think OP is pushing the upper limit and basic is no picnic when you are in your late teens or early 20s, would be a real bitch after 30, lol! I also recall that the DIs busted on the older guys a lot harder then the young ones. Harder to breakdown a guy who is already starting to figure out who he is and all.

  10. #10

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    Thanks for all the feedback y'all. I'm going to setup an appointment to speak with a counselor at a local community college to take on a future career. I know I'll get back into welding but at the same time I'm going to plan to also seek another career along with that. Just going to make the most of it while I'm still pretty young. Thanks again for the feedback, it was a good eye opener that I need to get this done if I want to do the things I want in life.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pliers View Post
    I agree with all of the fellows above. What is your great job you mentioned? I see you are in VA, as am I. My advice is to get into the trades. Despite the covid economy there are still big contracts at va tech and other sites close to you and more projects are going out for bid. Yes, this will slow down, however, current backlogs must be met by contractors. Iam an industrial electrician and all of our major competitors are still hiring. My point being, there are opportunities out there if you look. Your future depends on you and only you.

    If you apply yourself and are willing to put in the time you can make great money in most of the trades, but get ready to earn it.

    In my neck of the woods 50-60 hour weeks are nothing. Success will require commitment. End of sermon.....and goodluck
    I picked up a job at a local gun store and it's been great. Pay isn't the best, but it beats working a shittier job and it keeps me happy with a little spending money for the time being.

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    Non-Army/USMC (you don't want those as careers anyway) basic ain't shit nowadays (and hasn't been in decades) and it's worth actually verifying current enlistment age maximums. Beware of assumptions and look for every way to get paid.

    Note that welding is only going to pay well in a few select ways. If you can qualify to pass shipyard tests that skill level will certainly make you money. Otherwise most of the money is on the road (and highly intermittent) so before deciding discuss it with experienced professional weldors who do different jobs because you do NOT want to make the mistake of ending up a MIG monkey (they don't call wire welding machines "glue guns" for nothing) for peanuts in some fab shop with no upward career path.

    You should post a "should I become a weldor and how do I know if it's a smart career choice?" thread in the Junk Pile and on welding forums like Weldingweb.

    Electricans, mechantronics and HVAC techs are much more versatile than weldors so just because you like to weld doesn't necessarily mean you should do it for a living. People pay you to do what THEY want you to do so that is what to get very good at even if it's not what you do for fun. Welding complements those fields though. Also look into local industry apprenticeship programs via Financial Aid because some of those offer work/school combo programs (which vary by employer of course).

    Either push HARD while you're relatively young or be utterly fucked when you get old. If small change looks good right now it's time to find a smarter peer group. I look for folks far sharper than I at what I'm interested in and learn from them.

    If you get set up in any program be aware of fallback degree programs so you can switch within the allowed window and not miss a semester. Treat it dead serious but remember American educational standards are such utter shit most of community college should be called "high school review" except for the core courses so don't sweat that. If you want to stand out, volunteer to help after class for more welding (or whatever) time.

    Employers often contact instructors for recommendations and those go to students who are team players.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Don’t even consider Army or Marines as a career.
    I agree with almost everything that’s been said except this. The Marine Corps was very good to me, and it opened a lot of doors. The Marines paid my way through college, gave me the money for my first new motorcycle, and helped me move into other work after. I also stayed in the reserves for a while, and that was more money.

    It’s also never too late to change directions if you’re willing to take chances. At 41 I gave up a secure government job (and pension) to go to law school. Now I’m making more money than I ever thought I would when I was younger. (But now I ride an old home-brew chopper, though, because, unlike my younger self, my older self has a wife and I can’t get away with spending half my income on motorcycles and shit.)

    Anyway, get hungry, get a decent plan, and see it through. That’s the difference between simple and easy. Success is fairly simple, but it sure takes a lot of hard work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Non-Army/USMC (you don't want those as careers anyway).
    Quote Originally Posted by TomK View Post
    I agree with almost everything that’s been said except this. The Marine Corps was very good to me, and it opened a lot of doors. The Marines paid my way through college, gave me the money for my first new motorcycle, and helped me move into other work after. I also stayed in the reserves for a while, and that was more money.

    It’s also never too late to change directions if you’re willing to take chances. At 41 I gave up a secure government job (and pension) to go to law school. Now I’m making more money than I ever thought I would when I was younger. (But now I ride an old home-brew chopper, though, because, unlike my younger self, my older self has a wife and I can’t get away with spending half my income on motorcycles and shit.)

    Anyway, get hungry, get a decent plan, and see it through. That’s the difference between simple and easy. Success is fairly simple, but it sure takes a lot of hard work.
    Same here man. I’m going on 18 years active duty Army. I’ll be retiring in 2 years. Lots of great opportunities in the Army and USMC. I’ve spent my whole time in communications which has set me up for a very nice transition to the civilian side. Like Tom said, the Army has been good to me too. Paid for my undergrad, tons of travel, and good money. I’ll be using my GI bill to finish up grad school after I’m out. I highly recommend taking a serious look into the military. Not saying you gotta do 20 years but it’s will get you setup with a career and work experience to fall back on.

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    While you can do well in the Army and USMC, for quality of life it's no contest. As they say, there are many ways to serve. The benefits are the same (and doing 20 goes by quickly while retirement is magnificent and the same for all of course), but decide how much hassle you want to go through to get them. My Marine and Army friends warned me well away, I saw no evidence during my career to (including three years at Pope which is now part of Bragg) question that, and I've worked with MANY prior Army, USMC and Navy (but zero Coast Guard, those folks are both few and apparently quite happy) who crossed over to the Air Force.
    It's NOT a matter of bagging on those forces due to rivalry, it's a matter of holding out for the best deal including comfortable working conditions, working with high ASVAB scorers, and far better deployments. A bad day in the Air Force is when the air conditioner in your tent breaks, and the five star hotel meme is real (Kuwait Hilton in my case when a jet broke at the airport).
    Post retirement careers are Very Nice (comms in any service opens doors to GS and contractor jobs, medical opens so many civilian gigs due to the aging population retention is a problem) and your bro network will help you get them.
    Either way remember you can take ASVAB practice tests and should to score higher. Welding/machining in the AF is combined into aircraft structural maintenance (if you work on anything make sure it has wings or wires, not wheels) but is hard to get into because it's tiny. It's also a screaming deal because that career field is comfortable, clean and generally has enough time for school. Navy has the best welding schools (for obvious reasons, a considerable part of any ship is weld filler) and the AF send their folks there to train. They have many more weldors and with the projected expansion that will mean more civilian jobs for those guys when the separate or retire.
    Suck varies by specialty so talk to folks who actually do what may interest you and never go in general enlistment because if ya let the service choose your job you're guaranteed to get those no one wants. (In the Air Force avoid Security Forces and Transportation, the cops get burned out guarding gates in sandy shitholes and Trans tend to get stuck augmenting other services on deployments while aircraft are far more interesting to work on, I fixed fighters for a living.)
    Drones/UAS in any service are the way forward if you're a gearhead since working on the longest lived systems means the longest careers and more civilian careers. My fellow maintainers who got in the drone program then gone civilian lead well paid lives and often at tasty bases including Europe and Asia.
    The economy is overdue for another crash (they're periodic and inevitable, you'll live through quite a few large and small) so pick a gig that's recession-proof. The .mil world qualified.
    I'd rather have done a career in ANY service than be a civilian and have to scramble or starve. Few civilians get to retire in their forties and an instant career with high disposable income, thrift savings program and no overhead lets ya do things few civilian careers will. The benefits are even better now than when I was in (retired 2007).
    Don't ignore Guard and Reserve because those let you have a civilian and military career simultaneously and use the military benefits towards school.

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    Copy that. My buddy joined the Navy strait out of High School, spent 20+ year in the Pacific, is now retired and happy, I'm still bustin' hump for a another 5+ years before I can retire. My youngest son is in the USMC and compared to his brothers, has got a pretty good life and stable future. Not sure I'd chose the Corps. My pop was Navy, "kitchen and bed follow you" he'd tell me. But to each his own, but any branch of the Armed Services is a good opportunity.

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