Teslas have quickly become the new dream cars for a lot of people, and it’s easy to see why. With its electric engine, drivers never have to pay for gas again. It also has all of the same perks of driving a luxury sports car with its and sleek style, not to mention features like its self-driving mode. The one and only downside is that they can be very expensive if you buy them brand-new. Many people believe a Tesla is out of their price range, but it could actually be more affordable than you think.
According to Lending Tree, the average American car payment is $554 per month for a new car, $391 for a used car, and $457 for a lease. Believe it or not, it is possible for you to get a Tesla for the same or even less than the average payment. Here’s how.
18. Take Advantage of Tax Rebates
Whenever a car manufacturer builds a new electric vehicle, the first people who buy the car directly from the factory get a tax credit. For the newest Tesla Model 3, that tax credit extended to January of 2019. So, unfortunately, that is over. But the good news is that the US government has decided to extend the tax credit to the first 400,000 buyers when it was just 200,000 before.
This tax credit is also available to any electric car, not just a Tesla. The government wants to give the tax credit as an incentive for people to get cars that are good for the environment. So if you can’t afford to buy a luxury electric car just yet, consider taking advantage of the tax credit with a more affordable vehicle.
17. Sell Your Current Vehicle For Down Payment
If you’re planning to buy a Tesla, it only makes sense to sell the car you are currently driving. A lot of people choose to trade in their vehicle at the dealership because it’s a lot less hassle compared to selling it themselves. It seems easy to just hand over your keys to the car dealership and let them take care of the paperwork for you. However, if you take the time to sell your car by yourself, you’ll make thousands of dollars more than giving it to a dealer.
Check out Kelly Blue Book to see what your current car is worth. Make sure to sign the title over to the new owner, and notify your insurance company. After you have the cash on hand, this can become your down payment for your Tesla. The higher your down payment is, the lower your monthly payment will become.
16. Search on Carvana For Amazing Prices
Carvana is a website that allows you to buy a car online. Sure, the thought of buying a car sight-unseen may be a little bit scary, but their website gives you a 360-degree view of both the outside and inside of the car as well as close-ups of any potential damage. They’ll deliver the car to your doorstep and allow you to drive it for a week for free while you decide if you want it. If you choose not to buy the car, you’re free to change your mind without getting charged.
In the example shown in the screenshot, this is a used 2013 Tesla Model S. On Carvana, it costs $34,600. When searching on their loan calculator, they estimate that if you had an “excellent” credit score and came prepared with a $3,000 down payment, your monthly payment would be just $487 per month.
15. Check Out Local Auctions For Used Teslas
Ever wonder how used car dealers make a profit from selling their vehicles? Most of the time, they get amazing deals at car auctions, fix their problems, and flip them for a profit. If you’re looking to find a used Tesla, check out your local car auction or nationwide chains like Copart. Most auctions expect you to pay in cash, and you may even need to hire a broker to bid on your behalf. So always read the rules carefully, and call your local area auction for any questions.
Keep in mind that most of these cars are being sold by insurance companies after they have been in an accident. If you buy a car from an auction, there is a guarantee you’ll need to get repairs done. Usually, the listing will tell you exactly what’s wrong with the car. You can also find out the VIN number ahead of time and find out what happened to the vehicle during the accident. Then you can estimate the cost of repairs.
For example, at the time this article was written, a 2014 Tesla Model S sold in New York for $15,000. It had front-end cosmetic damage that cost a couple of thousand to fix, but the car was estimated to be worth $40,000.
14. Calculate Your Potential Gas Savings
Considering that Teslas run on electricity, you’ll save a tremendous amount of money on gas. This is especially true if you live in an area where you can charge your car for free. According to US News, Americans spend an average of $386 a month on gasoline, which would equate to $4,632 per year. If this sounds accurate to you, calculate that in the total monthly upkeep for your car. For example, if your car payment is $300 a month, but you spend $300 a month on gasoline, that’s really more like a $600 budget. And as we mentioned in a previous entry, it’s possible to get a Tesla for less than $500 a month. You would spend $0 on gas and actually save $100 a month.
According to Tesla’s website, people typically save $1,199 per year on gasoline once they switch to a Tesla. This number seems very low, but it may be accurate for the average Tesla customer who was driving a hybrid like a Toyota Prius before they made their switch. For anyone who has to commute a long distance to work, the savings may be even higher. Add up your gas receipts to calculate your own numbers.
13. Take Advantage of Free Charging
Some people make the argument that buying an electric car might cost just as much as a gas vehicle if they’re using their own electricity. If you have a plugin your garage, this might be true if you’re taking power from the grid. Luckily, there are plenty of places that will happily give away free electricity to people with electric cars. Tesla has their official charging stations all over the United States, and some cars qualify for unlimited free supercharging.
You can also find other electric charging stations on PlugShare. Most of these free plugs are located at universities or retail shopping centers. So it would be possible for you to plug your car in while you shop, or explore the campus library. If you coordinate your weekly schedule to fit in with these free charging stations, it can be easy to keep your Tesla fully charged without ever having to spend a time on energy.
12. Shop Around For the Best Financing
The financing you get directly through Tesla is just 3.75%, which is very low. If you are planning to purchase a brand new vehicle, it would make the most sense to buy directly from the company rather than getting third-party financing through a dealer that’s likely to charge you much more in interest. However, if you’re considering purchasing a used Tesla from a third-party dealer, you’ll most likely have to shop around for a loan.
Instead of trusting a car dealer to find a loan for you, do some research of your own. Whenever a car dealership searches for a loan, they might query multiple places at once. That will make your credit score drop. If there’s a bank or credit card company that you have a positive reputation with, go to them first. They’ll already have a history with you, and they are likely to give you a low-interest rate. Once you have your financing in hand, you can use it to buy a car from a third-party dealer.
11. Sell Unused Big-Ticket Items
Do you have an RV or a boat sitting in your backyard? You might enjoy those things one or two weekends every summer, and then they sit and collect dust for the rest of the year. Ask yourself how much happiness driving a Tesla would bring your life versus the joy that these other expensive items give you.
If you feel as though you’d rather have a Tesla, go ahead and sell that RV. Once you have the cash in hand, use it towards your Tesla. In some cases, an RV can still resell for tens of thousands of dollars, and that can put a serious dent in purchasing the Tesla of your dreams.
10. Share the Tesla With Your Partner
In the United States, it’s common for nearly everyone to own a car unless you live in a city. Considering that public transportation isn’t very reliable, it’s almost always necessary for every adult in the family to have a car. However, in some cases, it may be possible for couples to adjust their lifestyle to have just one car instead of two. If two people are spending $400 a month on their cars, that’s $800 total for the household. The payment on a Tesla may be closer to $500 to $600.
So, how can couples manage sharing a car? One partner may decide to stay at home with the kids, and they only need a car for errands. Or the working partner may have the option to get dropped off at the train station to go to work, instead of commuting in and out of a city. It’s not going to work for everyone, but some people may be able to make sacrifices to achieve their dream of owning a Tesla and actually save money overall.
9. Replace Your Second Car With A Cheap Vehicle
We already mentioned the idea of how partners can try to share one vehicle in order to get a Tesla. However, there are plenty of households out there where it is completely necessary for both people to have a car. After all, stay-at-home moms need a vehicle to go grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and helping the kids while the working spouse commutes. Another solution is to trade in one of the household vehicles for a cheaper car.
There are loads of car dealerships that sell vehicles for just a couple thousand dollars. If you’ve already owned your car for years, you may be able to swap for a cheaper one. Suddenly the monthly payments on your second car have disappeared. Whatever you were spending on the second car can go towards the payment for the Tesla.
8. Consider the Cost of Lifetime Ownership
Many people never stop to consider the cost of owning a car over its lifetime. This’s the total cost of gas, repairs, insurance, and maintenance over the number of years you expect to own the car. According to Liberty Mutual, the average cost of car repairs for Americans is $817 per year. If you own the car for 5 years, that’s $4,085. Compare that to owning a new Tesla under warranty, you would not have to pay anything.
Once you have made a budget over the cost of owning a car for five or 10 years, you’ll see just how much you may potentially save by owning a Tesla for the same length of time. Even if you still pay more to buy the luxury electric car, you might realize that the benefits it brings to your life far outweigh any savings you may or may not get.
7. Take Advantage of The Tesla Referral Program
Once you own a Tesla, you can take advantage of their referral program. In the past, Tesla owners could get back a cash bonus every time they recommended one of their friends. It was a bit too expensive for the company, so they switched up the program.
Now if you refer a friend, you get 1,000 miles of free supercharging. This may not be as valuable as cash, but it will help you save money on fast charging at official Tesla superchargers.
6. Calculate Annual Repairs
When you own a car, you also have to pay for maintenance and repairs on top of the monthly payment. If you are buying a used vehicle, you may find yourself spending a few hundred dollars a year in upkeep. Eventually, you may reach a point where the cost of repairs is so high that it’s no longer worth keeping the car. Tesla offers a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty that even includes roadside assistance.
Whenever an older Tesla needs repair, it’s notoriously expensive and difficult to find a mechanic who knows how to work on them. Early adopters had to spend thousands of dollars on what would be easy fixes for other cars. However, according to people who’ve learned to do repairs themselves, it’s one of the easiest cars to work on for DIY repairs. If you are only planning to lease a Tesla or keep it for a few years while still under warranty, you’re likely to not have to repair the car at all.
5. Business Tax Write-Offs
Do you own your own business? If so, you can write off the interest payments for your car loan on your taxes, if you use that car for work. You can also write off the depreciation in the value of your car. This is true for any vehicle, not just a Tesla. But it makes the prospect of owning the car seem much more affordable.
On top of that, you can also write off the miles you are driving for work-related commuting and trips. The standard tax write off for mileage is calculated based on gas vehicles. So you would actually get even more savings compared to the average person.
4. Cheaper Car Insurance
At the moment, insuring a Tesla may be more expensive than your current car, but that is not always the case. According to NerdWallet, there are some states that offer discounts for electric vehicles, so you may actually get away with paying your current cost to insure your Tesla. Check out your car insurance website, where they will offer you an estimation calculator of how much it would cost to insure a car on your policy.
There’s even more good news because Tesla is planning to offer insurance coverage to their customers that would be more affordable than anywhere else. So, one day, you might be able to save even more every year by switching over to Tesla.
3. As Demand Rises, So Will The Supply of Affordable Teslas
The Tesla Model 3 was $35,000, making it far more affordable to people in the middle class. As the years go on, there will be used Model 3s floating around that will make it even cheaper to own one. According to Gear Patrol, Tesla is the dream car in 20 states in 2019. The hype is mostly concentrated on the East and West Coasts.
The Midwest is still lusting after Range Rovers and Jeep Wranglers, which is completely understandable considering the terrain. There are also very few places for people to charge a Tesla for free in the center of the country. However, the more people get used to never paying for gas, the more common it will become.
2. The Million-Mile Battery
In April of 2019, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would eventually have a battery that lasted for one million miles on one charge. This would be completely revolutionary for a number of reasons. First, it suggests that the car itself may last for the entirety of that million miles.
Most conventional vehicles only survive for around 200,000 miles. In the future, you may be able to buy one Tesla and keep it for the rest of your life. This may cost more upfront, but it will help you save money throughout your lifetime. According to Dough Rollers, if you own vehicles for 50 years of your life, that adds up to $443,800. So if you could buy just one Tesla and be set for life, that’s actually a great deal.
1. Replace Your Truck For Towing
There are some people out there who swear they need a pickup truck powerful enough to carry heavy loads. You may need to tow a boat, trailer, or camper. Many people have both a family car and a truck in order to maintain that lifestyle. Not many people know that Teslas can actually tow a tremendous amount of weight. There was even a demonstration showing that a Tesla Model X can tow an airplane.
You would no longer need a minivan or truck to tow your camping trailer or anything else. If you’re considering keeping a second vehicle for that reason, you may be able to sell your truck or minivan and get all of the same benefits from your Tesla.