103R | The Apprentice

Captain DIY returns to recommend some accessible projects for the beginning DIYer, Jonathan highlights two recipe and meal organization apps, and several messages from the ChooseFI community.

  • Brad made the best of Black Friday and his local community to pick up a ping pong table for his family.
  • ChooseFI community member Olga recommends the Paprika app, which is helping Jonathan to plan his recipes, groceries and track his calorie consumption.
  • Paprika app is 50% off until Nov. 30, 2018.
  • Review of Monday’s episode with Captain DIY, who suggests that regardless of the changing job market, trade jobs are not going away.
  • The type of learning that occurs in a college classroom may not be the answer for everyone – hands on learning and working appeals to many people.
  • Connor is currently an apprentice electrician and will earn $22 an hour when he graduates with his electrical associates’ degree in a few months.
  • The certification process takes about 4 – 5 years in total.
  • If someone began studying and training right after high school, they’re set up for earning an above average salary before age 25.
  • For some people, the side hustle can be the same thing you do for your W2 job.
  • When starting a side hustle, Tinian recommends working with what you have: only take the jobs that use the tools and the skills you already have, and then choose to expand at your own pace.
  • Build up a network of people who can use your services.
  • Tinian is back to recommend DIY projects the average person can tackle on their own:
    • Raised Garden Bed
    • Compost Bin
    • Bench or Adirondack chair
  • Are people who build their own furniture happier with it?
  • Electrical and plumbing projects should be attempted with extreme caution.
  • Beginning projects inside:
    • Painting a room
    • Replacing doorknobs
    • Refinishing a cabinet or cupboard
    • Changing your own oil
  • Thanks from Tasha to the FI community, for helping her along her FI path.
  • The ChooseFI Educators group has completed the 3-5th grade curriculum – thanks to those who have contributed.


Links mentioned in this episode:

Plan to Eat (50% off until Dec. 2, 2018)

“Get Rich with Compost” – Aardvark Advisor


“Tools Every Homeowner Should Own” – DIY2FI

“50 Ways to Improve Your Finances By 1%” – ChooseFI.com

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4 thoughts on “103R | The Apprentice”

  1. Interesting episode. I think you got a little carried away with the amounts somebody just out of a trade program could make, but maybe that’s just my limiting belief!

    • Yeah, they most certainly did. Very few people will enter the trades and start up their own company. Most will trade their time for money the traditional way, and make modest but genuine money. The real trick here is that you can start in high school when you are 16, and save almost everything you make. By the time you graduate, you are probably making $12-$15/hour, and supervising new guys. Once you are free to go full-time without school in the way, you will likely be up to $20+/hour by year 5, and it’s off to the races.

      I don’t see any young journeymen earning $100k+, even full-time union prevailing wage work, unless they are elevator mechanics or steamfitters in the Bakken oil fields. You need to take on hazardous work for that, and/or have family in the union that helps you out. Most people are earning $100k+ though, by the time they are 25, as long as they are not laid-off, or the economy slows. It also definitely depends on the region you live. A carpenter journeyman in Baltimore earns $32/hour, while one in Seattle earns $47/hour.

      Here is one way to hack this trade thing: sign up to work in a war zone or Antarctica. There are contracting companies looking for skilled people to work in Afghanistan, North Africa, and Antarctica, and the pay is normally well above $90k/year to start. You support the infrastructure in those areas, like building HVAC units in the desert, or refurbishing old Soviet bases for modern terrorism warfare. As long as you stay out of the USA most of the year, your pay is tax-free.

  2. One auto repair everyone should DIY – change your own cabin air filter! It’s usually behind the glove compartment. You can see how your car’s cabin air filter is changed by searching for it for your car model on YouTube. Amazon and others sell them – in my case it was either buy for $8.99 and DIY or pay the dealership $60.00. Easy!

  3. The first project that I would tackle DIY to build skills is to make a saw bench. A saw bench is a short stool-looking thing that you use to saw boards. It is about the height of just below your knee, so you can pin the board down using your knee, while sawing. There is also normally a kerf cut from the middle (or use two boards and leave a gap), for ripping boards down their length. This is an old-school shop tool used with hand-saws. Pick up a hand saw from a garage sale, or buy a proper on online (avoid all big-box store wood working tools). You will use this saw bench to make house things like a shelf, a planter box, a bench, etc. Your next project will be an actual work-bench, and that will also necessitate some type of saw bench to prepare the boards for.

    More info:

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