I’d love to say all of these are my ideas, but they are not. They are the result of someone asking the question “Has anyone ever been able to go from absolutely broke to making a comfortable living”. It was asked on Reddit and I’ve read every single answer to find the best ones.
I was living in my car …
I was living in my car when someone broke my window and took all my clothes. I’m making a little over $100k now, but this is 15 years later. I had no credit, but somehow was approved at Target for a $200 store credit card. I used that to buy shoes/clothes and went on to job interviews. I landed a job working at a 24-hour call center overnight for some insurance company. I put allot of overtime and started with the basics. (I never paid the store credit card, but I did go to a junk yard to get a new car window.) I started a bank account for direct deposit on my pay, used my first $250 for an apartment. (Shitty studio, with no bedroom.) I had no furniture except for what other tenants thru away. I started one class of community college a semester, added more as I could afford to pay them in cash. I took 4 years to finish an associate degree with a focus of study in business. I landed a better job, continued to a 4-year degree … and just kept bettering my skills and resume. (Government Grants, not loans.).
I own my own home, have a fully paid car, and live a comfortable life now. I was lucky enough to not ever need a hospital. Luck and planning … don’t live a wistful life, use every little thing you have to its fullest. (I still eat ramen every now and then.)
Don’t live a wistful life, use every little thing you have to its fullest.
Dead broke at 21 …
Dead broke at 21, lowest credit score possible, no car because repossessed, no license because suspended for nonpayment of speeding tickets. Homeless, sneaking into girlfriend’s house to sleep.
Spent my days at the library when my gf worked, reading about great people, changing your life, etc. Used their computers and internet to send or print free resumes. Got into the only, yet likely best occupation that will take a person like that and offer real opportunity for a hard worker, commissioned sales.
Sucked for weeks, awkward, stuttering, not knowing the product well. To be completely honest I cried the first two days I came home, for the first time since I was a child. Just felt hopeless and a huge failure, but I resisted the urge to no show and went to work the following day and the day after.
Each week I got better, started making sales, within 6 months I was pulling in $2000+ weekly commissions.
I just outworked everyone else, I came in early 6am to make calls overseas, stayed late to make calls on the west coast, answered emails at home.
I left within the first year to start my own company, I had learned exactly what the company was doing and realized I could offer the same services. It wasn’t easy, but it’s 15 years later and I employ 17 people, I earn all different amounts as the owner but never under $600,000 and on good years quite a bit more.
I was a fuck up my whole life OP, took an extra year to get out of high school, no college, destroyed any credit line given to me, quit jobs for no reason, or just not show up because I was tired.
You can wake up a year from now in a completely different life. You might have to jump around to a few opportunities, but keep your expenses dirt cheap, game plan, exploit any advantage to save money safely as in don’t live in a crack den, but a trailer is fine.
You sound like you have good self-control, which is more than I had, and it took me many years to get my impulses under control.
You can wake up a year from now in a completely different life
I was hopeless and desperate …
I sold everything I owned, left the state where I used to live with $600 to my name (about to be evicted, and $30000 in debt), in a 12 year old car with expired plates, a wonky transmission, and a bad u-joint, drove halfway across the country to move in with my brother and his wife and their kids, with no prospects and no idea what I was going to do. I was hopeless and desperate, a complete failure at 40 years old. I looked for work for a few months as I taught myself to code, and finally got a contract job for six months, which was extended, and finally after 18 months was offered a full-time job. I moved into an apartment.
It’s seven years later, my debts are paid, I’m at a different (better) job, making $90k a year, and my gf and I are buying a house. I had no hope and no prospects seven years ago. It slowly got better by taking a chance, working hard, and having good people around me that I could rely on. Don’t give up.
It slowly got better by taking a chance, working hard, and having good people around me that I could rely on.
It’s a lot of work and not hanging out with friends …
Started learning programming on YouTube at 18 while working retail and totally broke, $40k programming job at 19, $50k at 20, $90k at 21, $110k at 23, $120k at 25. Own a house and all that jazz. Programming is one of the few things I see a lot of nerds getting 6 figure salaries without a degree. Echoing what everyone else has said, it’s a lot of work and not hanging out with friends, but worth it. I’m definitely happy with my current lifestyle, keep your head up.
Programming is one of the few things where I see a lot of nerds getting 6 figures without a degree
Got kicked out, dropped out of school …
Yep. 2 years ago, I was a broke college student living with family. Got kicked out, dropped out of school, and started jockeying for more hours at my almost-minimum wage job. Today, I make about 50k, and I still work for the same employer. I’m not a rags-to-riches story like others in this thread, but I just bought my first house, I’m financially secure, and I live pretty comfortably. Granted, I’m a single guy with no kids, but I’m sure you could live comfortably on that kind of money too.
Here’s what I did:
I bettered myself. On my own time, and sometimes with my own money, I got certified as a wine sommelier, a forklift operator, and got my CPR/AED/First Aid certifications. When promotion time came around, I wrote an eloquent letter of interest highlighting not only my unique skill set, but also my initiative in acquiring said skills without being prompted to do so. Don’t think that going back to school is the only way to educate yourself. Find something that provides incontrovertible proof that you’re going to work your ass off to keep getting better at what you do if they pick you for that promotion.
I took an interest in general leadership. I had no formal management experience, but when a management position opened up, I highlighted my experience with student government in college and being an NCO of Marines.
I worked on my credit. Gained 80 points in 2 years, paid off some collections, kept my nose clean. You need to take care of that shit with your mom. She screwed you by kicking you out and endangered her grandchild’s future … so if I were you, I’d start prioritizing your kid over your mom. When your credit is dogshit, the first step to improving it is having some awkward conversations with your creditors. That’s part of being a man, I’m afraid.
I kept living like a broke college student even after getting pay raises. I highly recommend subscribing to /r/frugal and /r/MealPrepSunday for some inspiration on how to live simply and economically.
Also … buy a slow cooker. It will pay for itself many, many times over even within the first year you have it.
I kept applying for jobs I didn’t think I could get. They kept giving them to me anyway. I worked hard on my letter, I prepped for the interview … and sometimes, other people didn’t bother applying and I didn’t have much competition. You don’t have to be the perfect applicant; you just have to be the best one who bothered to put themselves out there.
Don’t think that going back to school is the only way to educate yourself. Find something that provides incontrovertible proof that you’re going to work your ass off to keep getting better at what you do.