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Recently, I’ve heard a lot of hype about Tesla. Tesla stock prices are going through the roof from $100/share to almost $500 share this year. Personal finance bloggers like Mr. 1500 bought Tesla stocks.
Tesla as a car model is becoming increasingly popular among personal finance bloggers and techies. Mr. Money Mustache has written about his wish to buy a Tesla. YouTuber BeatTheBush not only invested in Tesla stocks but also bought a Tesla Model 3 himself.
The famously frugal YouTuber Graham Stephen boasted about buying a Tesla for $78 per month. The list goes on and on.
And the latest case of the Tesla hype? Mr. FAF is longing for a Tesla of his own. I am not joking. Mr. FAF has casually dropped hints about wanting a Tesla for the past year. He talked about about how the parking lot at his tech company is filled with fancy cars such as Tesla.
Recently, someone on his team just purchased a Tesla. Mr. FAF and his two colleagues went to celebrate the new car by eating out at a steakhouse and going to a car dealership to testdrive a $120,000 Tesla Model X.
In the weeks leading up to meeting up with his colleagues, Mr. FAF was excited.
He talked about test-driving the car, taking photos with the car, and wishing to own one in the future. He spent days picking out what clothes to wear to look good in the photos. He made sure to get grocieries for the family at Costco and Great Wall before taking off with his colleagues in a Tesla Model X.
I could feel the excitement from his voice.
Mr. FAF’s dream car
Our Toyota Corrola
We are a one-car family and currently own a Toyota Corrola we bought new in 2015 for $18,000. We should have bought it used and learned from that experience.
Mr. FAF and I often talk about how fuel-efficient and easy to maintain the car is. It’s not fancy and doesn’t indicate any social status by any means. We just like that it works and hope that it will run well for the next 15 years if not longer.
One time, Mr. FAF was driving early in the morning and hit a car in the neighborhood. One side of the Toyota was badly dented. But it was mainly cosmetic, so we didn’t take it to a body shop and still love it the same.
Mr. FAF did buy some spray paint from Amazon and fixed the dent by himself before we went to see some friends in another state. I didn’t care, but I guess he didn’t want to look too shabby since we hadn’t seen our friends for two years.
Long story short, our Toyota Corrola works well, and we love it (at least I do). For me, a car is just a vehicle that takes me from point A to point B. If someone decides not to be friends with us because of our car, then maybe our friendship shouldn’t last either.
For the past two years or so, Mr. FAF has often talked about retiring early. He said that he has achieved everything he has ever wanted in his life: a wife, two kids, a house, a car, and a job.
He wants nothing more and nothing less. He wants to retire and be a stay-at-home dad. I said if we can make and save enough to take care of ourselves and our parents in the future, and I have no issue with his wish.
It wasn’t until he test-drove a Tesla that he seemed to have changed his mind. Mr. FAF came home that day feeling tired from test-driving for two hours. But he was excited. All he talked about that whole weekend was how much he liked the experience and the Tesla.
He said it was like a spaceship inside the car. Pretty much everything was automatic and modern. Then he asked, “Can I get a Tesla?”. I had absolutely no interest in getting a Tesla although I have to admit that it looks nice.
I wouldn’t mind driving one, but I don’t want to drop $50,000 or more on it. I said, “You can if you think we can afford it.” Technically, we could buy a Tesla if we wanted to. But the question is “Is it worth it?”
We are saving up to purchase a bigger home for ourselves and our parents. For the next house, we want at least five bedrooms and three full baths. Our budget for the next house is around $700,000 and definitely less than $1 million.
We would like to put down as much cash for the downpayment as possible. We have paid off our current home and would like to pay off our next house as well.
I know it might sound like a lot of cash tied up in real estate. But we also have company stocks that we can sell, not to mention our cash savings and 401K investment.
We can save ourselves from paying thousands of dollars in interest rate and have peace of mind that even if we lose our jobs, we won’t be stressed about paying the mortgage.
As I expected, Mr. FAF knew that getting a Tesla is not our priority or our goal at the moment. Our goal is getting the next house. He decided on the next best thing to do and told me “I will work harder to get a better package.”
For the past few weeks, Mr. FAF has been getting up early at 5:30 AM and studying for the technical interviews to get a better-paying job and a better package to buy a Tesla.
He gives himself a year of preparation before reaching out to recruiters. I have never seen Mr. FAF so motivated ever since he started his current job three years ago.
I am curious how long his motivation will last. But I’m glad Mr. FAF is taking action to improve himself and his career prospects. The motivation could be more honorable like self-care and self-improvement. But trying to get a Tesla works for me too.
What can we do to drive a Tesla?
1. Work harder, make more, and save more
The least expensive Tesla model is $35,000, so it’s not completely out of rich. It might not come with all the bells and whistles like the more expensive models, but it’s still a Tesla.
I don’t advocate getting this car on a loan. I think it’s best to save up and pay cash for the car and even a used model if possible. And we can do that by making more income at our 9-5 and with side hustles.
2. Rent a Tesla on Turo
Turo is a car service that lets you rent cars from other people. You can rent a Tesla and drive it around for a couple of days to see if your interest wanes or stays. Mr. Money Mustache has indeed rented a Tesla from Turo and documents his experience on his YouTube channel.
3. Lease a Tesla
I don’t advocate leasing cars, but I want to put it here as an option since it’s possible. You have to pay a steep price of at least $500 a month and has to lease the car for at 36 months.
I initially thought about this as an option for Mr. FAF. But after doing the math, I realized it’s not a good financial option.
4. Test-drive a Tesla at the dealership
You can go to a dealership, give them your driver’s license and start driving a Tesla for real. At least, that’s what Mr. FAF did, and he loved it. He did it only once just to see what it’s like.
It seems like it will be a while until Mr. FAF can have his dream Tesla. From now until then, he knows that he needs to work harder and make more money.
I told Mr. FAF we need to get a bigger house with a garage to store his Tesla. We can’t just park his expensive car ouside in the rain and snow. And he seems to agree.
As for me, I think that when you drive an expensive car, you tend to worry about every piece of dirt or tiny scratch on the car since it’s so expensive. To me, it’s more like a headache that we don’t have to deal with when it comes to our Toyota Corrola.
In fact, our 5-year-old car just had its first car wash a few weeks ago. If you have read my post about our weird saving habits, you know we just let the rain do the car wash for us.
But I am glad to see how motivated Mr. FAF is to work harder to achieve his personal goal. After all, I like the action that comes out of Mr. FAF’s Tesla dream.
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