After reading the not wasting money thread, I thought it might be good to impart some of the lessons we have learned to the younger crowd. I'm a relatively young guy compared to a lot of the old timers on here. I am 52 and have been building hot rods since I was 12. I still have my original hot rod. It has been through 3 renditions and will be undergoing one more before I die. Let's get started. The most important thing I feel that I can pass on, is understanding your desire. Ask yourself "what kind of era do I most enjoy?", if you really love muscle cars, then building a 1930's era speedster may not be your bag. Research the era, read magazines covering that era and learn as much as you can. Become an expert on the car you are building. Be true to your likes/dislikes. Don't buy parts or cars based on fads. Buy what you like, regardless if everyone else thinks it's cool. Get a vision and stick with it. I keep folders on my desk at work that house my ideas. I start a word document and I list out what the finished product will look like. Everything from the color, interior, wheels, stance, bumpers or nerf bars, power plant, transmission and even what type of suspension. Your mood can alter your decisions. Don't watch American Grafitti or 2 Lane Blacktop and then try and use it for motivation for your Honda Civic. It will end badly. Keep folders with your tech info. I make contact with people through the years that have similar interests or are vendors for specialized equipment. I keep that info in the folder that I mentioned above. That way, I don't have to bother them until I am ready to buy. Example: I had Bullet Cams in MS design me a cam for the 390 Caddy. I didn't have the $ to pull the trigger, but they gave me a reference number. I called back a couple of months later to buy that cam. Easy peasy. Trust me, you will be saying to yourself, "what did he say about that inner fender?" or "what was that guys name we met at the swap meet?" It happens, trust me. Don't mix your eras. You can like multiple eras, but stay true to one only and don't mix them up. That rarely works in the end. ZZ Top Eliminator stripes on a 1930's style Gow job is just wrong. Build an 80's styled rod or a 30's styled rod, but try and keep the 2 world separate. Compartmentalize your build. I try and focus on one area at a time. I start with the chassis and work my way up. I try to get a complete roller, before moving on. Sometimes that can be difficult, if you need reference points with the body on. Be organized. I am OCD, literally. However, one of the byproducts of that is mass chaos. I have to force myself to box things and label them, because if it gets too messy in the shop, it becomes overwhelming and I tend to give up and walk out. I like to use the black and yellow boxes that they sell at the Home Depots and Lowes, type of stores. I buy the 27 gallon and label them. They are stackable, so that helps. Learn to do things yourself. Take class at VoTech on Auto Body or welding, upholstery etc. You can tie up big money if you have to pay everyone. Be methodical in your build. Know what you want and don't waiver. This goes along with knowing your true love. Be a master of your particular build. Hang out with old guys. These guys know what's up. They were there and they lived it. Ask a lot of questions. Knowledge is power. Join a forum that specializes in what you like to build. These forums tell you what is the correct part for your application, what good prices are and helps you to build a network of like minded friends. I can't tell you how many hambers have stayed at my house over the years. We have relayed parts, helped stranded folks and even spent vacations hanging out with other guys that I met, right here. Find a local guy to help keep you motivated. A shop buddy helps keep you moving forward. It helps when you are searching for parts also. Carry a notebook for color codes you like. I have one I use that has 20+ cars in it. If I see one I like, I write it down, go home and research it until I track down the actual name of the color, the years it came on and the color code. Search youtube for folks that have a channel. I recently found Iron Trap Garage, because of the HAMB. I have enjoyed watching his channel. It keeps me motivated when it's 6 degrees outside. Only build one project car at a time. I am guilty of this one. The problem is if you have $2500 in tax returns and you have 6 cars, then each car only gets $416. That doesn't go very far on any of them. Focus on one and get it done. Take pictures as you disassemble things. Some things are not included in any parts manual. Trust me on this one, I use my phone religiously. Be nice to people. You would be surprised at what people will do for you if you aren't a dick. I'm sure there are tons that I have missed, but maybe this might help someone just getting started. Feel free to add to the list.