Haha yeah i started the same exact way you did. I was mowing lawns and babysitting to get my first build just a couple of months ago. I still babysit and mow just for upgrades and stuff. But yeah i got impatient with saving up so i blew $500 on an emachines with some good stuff and it's been running strong to this day... although i've upgraded the crap out of it, it's not really even an emachines anymore lol.
AMD 64 3200+ Newcastle@ 2.2Ghz
1GB (1x1GB) OCZ Performance Series
ATI X700 Pro 256MB OC\'d 475/525
OCZ Modstream 520W
Samsung 914v 19\" 12ms LCD
SB X-Fi w/ Logitech Z 5300e