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How Much Does a Tesla Cost?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Tesla Roadster

Teslas are the newest, spiffiest electric vehicles on the block. The first models were priced as luxury vehicles, but Elon Musk promised to make an EV affordable for most Americans by rolling out the Model 3 at an advertised price below $35,000. There is more to the price, however, as we’ll explain.

Musk’s fancier models will cost you a pretty penny — up to $250,000 — along with Tesla’s upgrades. Availability and price depend on the model and the trim you choose. For the whole picture, keep reading.

How much does each new Tesla model cost?

In order of price, Tesla offers five consumer car models: 3, S, X, Y and the upcoming second-generation Roadster, which you can reserve now. It speaks to company founder Elon Musk’s sense of humor that if you put the first models in the order they were produced you get “S3XY.”

*It’s important to note that the advertised prices don’t include a $1,200 destination and document fee, and they do include a $1,875 federal tax incentive and an estimated savings in gas over six years. Neither price includes taxes or registration fees.

What about the tax credit?

Time ran out on the full $7,500 federal tax credit that was available to the first 200,000 new Tesla owners. Customers who have their Teslas delivered from July 1 to Dec, 31, 2019 get a fourth of the tax credit amount, $1,875.  In 2020, there is no scheduled tax credit.

The good news? There are state tax credits you may be able to use for your new Tesla. The following states and Washington D.C. offer incentives like tax credits, tax exemptions and reduced rates for EV charging: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

How much does a Model 3 cost?

The Model 3 is Tesla’s least expensive car. You may be able to drive away in one for a minimum of $41,100. If that amount surprises you, then you know the Model 3 is often highlighted as costing less than $35,000. So why the discrepancy?

The quoted $33,725 price tag is after estimated savings, including the $1,875 tax credit and the fuel savings you would have over six years if you owned a gasoline-powered car. Add those back in and you get to the sticker price of $39,900. Then, tack on Tesla’s standard $1,200 delivery and document fee to get a price of $41,100, not including tax and registration fees.

How much does a Model S cost?

The sticker price for the Standard Range AWD of a Model S is $75,000. For a greater driving range by about 76 miles, the Long Range AWD trim comes in at a $85,000 sticker price. And for a greater performance, the Performance AWD goes from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds, a 64% faster acceleration for $11,000 more than the Long Range AWD.

How much does a Model X cost?

While models 3 and S are sedans, the Model X is an SUV crossover with optional third-row seating. The lowest trim, the Standard Range AWD, has an $81,000 sticker price. The next trim up, the Long Range AWD has a sticker price of $91,000 and will get you 58 miles more in driving range. The top trim Performance AWD for $102,000 will get you from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, instead of 4.7 seconds that the Long Range AWD achieves.

How much does a Model Y cost?

A smaller crossover than Model X, Model Y doesn’t have a Standard Range option. Its least expensive trim is the Long Range at a price of $48,000. The Long Range AWD is $52,000 and the Performance AWD is $61,000.

How much does a Tesla Roadster cost?

The most expensive Tesla model is the second-generation Roadster. A Founders Series Roadster is $250,000; although you could get a base Roadster for $200,000. Given the $50,000 price difference between the Founders Series Roadster and the base Roadster, which is enough to buy a whole other Tesla, the Founders Series Roadster has got to offer something special — and it does. You can go from zero to 60 in 1.9 seconds and from zero to 100 in 4.2 seconds, which is pretty dang quick acceleration.

Can you negotiate?

Most car brands let you negotiate on prices. We even wrote about how to negotiate a car price. With Tesla, however, there is no price negotiation. James Wolf, a senior engineer at LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney, bought his Model 3 in October 2018. He explained, “There is no negotiation when it comes to the price, only your options [can] adjust the price.”

There are no back-and-forth, tit for tat price negotiations on a new Tesla. The price is the price, take it or leave it. The only negotiation on a new Tesla is the one you may have with yourself and your budget: there are plenty of drool-worthy option upgrades, the cheapest of which adds a cool $1,000 to the price tag. More on that later.

Tesla fees and options

As with any car purchase, there will be unavoidable fees and some enticing options you could add to the vehicle. Both will increase the final price.

Can you avoid the destination and document fees?
No. Of the $1,200 fee, $1,000 is the delivery fee, which is charged in the U.S. and Canada regardless of delivery method or location, even if you pick it up hot from the factory floor. Why? It’s government-mandated. The delivery fee, also known as the destination charge, has to be separate from the MSRP and clearly disclosed. The remaining $200 is the document fee.

How much do options cost?
The least expensive upgrade is getting a black and white interior in a Model 3, rather than the all black. The most expensive is adding autopilot after you buy the car for $7,000, instead of ordering it for $5,000 when you get the car new.

**For Models S and X the interior options of Black and White, and Cream are available for purchase on the two lower trims only. The Black and White option is available for no up-charge on the top trim, but the Cream is not available on the top trim.

How much is tax?

Property tax. Vehicle property tax depends on your state and your county or city of residence. It varies pretty wildly, so check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website for more information.

Sales tax. If you’re lucky enough to live in state without sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, Oregon, New Hampshire), you may not have to pay taxes on the car’s purchase.

For the rest of the country, state sales tax applies. You may also have local sales taxes to contend with. The highest average combined state and local sales tax rate is in Tennessee at 9.46% as of July 2018. The lowest is Alaska at 1.43%. And the average in California is 8.55%.

Is tax included in the final amount I pay for the Tesla? If you live in a state where Tesla has a sales license, the applicable taxes you’ll have to pay will be included in your total. If you live in a state where Tesla does not have a sales license, taxes will not be included in the total, but you will have to pay them when you register the car in your state.

Do I have to pay California sales tax? If you pick the car up in California and you live in a different state where Tesla does not have a sales license, Tesla, by law, has to charge California sales tax. For further information on this, see a tax professional or talk to a Tesla representative.

Where does Tesla have a sales license? Tesla has a sales license to directly sell vehicles in about half of U.S. states. Different states have different automotive sales laws. You could see a thread on the Tesla Motors Club website with a map on Tesla sales licensure.

Financing a Tesla

If you’re not paying cash, you may be able to get a loan through Tesla or another lender. It does not hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one lender, as long as you do so within a 14-day window. It’s always good idea to shop around for a car loan just as you would for the car itself — only talking to one lender is one of the common mistakes people make when they need an auto loan.

Tesla financing and leasing. Once you create a Tesla account, which you may do here, you can submit a credit application online and hear back from Tesla within 48 hours. Tesla financing is only available in these states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

Financing with your own lender. If you have your own lender, you’ll need to provide the name of the lender, the exact dollar amount of the loan and the lender’s address and phone number to Tesla. In turn, the lender will want the VIN, which you can find in your Tesla account.

How much does a used Tesla cost?

Despite it being a relatively new car company, there are used Teslas available for sale. Some models are almost 10 years old, as the first generation Roadster came out in 2008. It’s these older models that are the least expensive Teslas you’ll find, priced in the upper $30,000 range. Tesla itself offers used models that passed a rigorous inspection and come with a warranty. You can also find used Teslas for sale off third-party car buying sites, such as AutoTempest and CarGurus.

Because they are used, you won’t have to pay the $1,000 destination fee, which only applies to new cars; unless, of course, you’re getting the car shipped to you specially. If you buy the car from a dealership rather than a private person, you will still face all of the typical dealer fees. And no matter how you buy the car, you’ll need to pay the appropriate taxes.

The bottom line

The least expensive new Tesla will cost you $41,100 before taxes and before any available tax credits. You can’t negotiate on the price of a Tesla, but you can pick and choose options that suit you. If you’d like to see what else is out there without leaving your couch, you could look at the best online car buying sites for 2018.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jenn Jones
Jenn Jones |

Jenn Jones is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jenn at [email protected]

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How To Lease an RV

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

How to Lease an RV
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You can’t lease an RV, but you can rent one. In the auto world, leases last years whereas renting usually lasts days or weeks. But it’s possible to rent all types of recreational vehicles — motor homes to pop-up trailers to camper trucks — for months. Perhaps you’re interested in RV ownership, but want to try before you buy. Renting an RV, long or short term, may be a great idea as RV prices and ownership costs tend to be high. But you should be aware that RV rental costs vary and you may have to plunk down a deposit before going on a road trip.

Why rent an RV?

Renting an RV may be a great option to only pay for an RV when you use it, rather than buying it and using it occasionally or buying it only to find out it doesn’t suit your needs.

RVs typically cost a pretty penny. The average price of a towable RV is around $35,000 with motor homes running around $100,000, according to Kevin Broom, spokesperson for the RV Industry Association. And besides the sticker price, you’ll have to pay for maintenance, insurance and, most likely, taxes and registration fees. So if you know you’ll only use an RV for a couple weeks out of the year, why pay to have an RV for the whole year or multiple years? Rather than committing to thousands of dollars, you’ll probably commit a few hundred by renting an RV.

There are dozens of RV types and brands, along with tons of layouts and styles. If you are new to the RV lifestyle and don’t know if you’d rather drive or tow one, how much room you need for your family, how well you can handle driving a large or small one or you just want to experiment with a new model, renting may be a smart option so you can figure out what you like before you consider buying one.

Why can you rent but not lease an RV?

Depreciation is the wrench that stops RV leasing from being feasible. Most vehicle leases are of new vehicles; very few people want to lease used. And like most new vehicles, RVs lose value sharply.

Most RVs lose about 20% of their value in the first year. Given how much RVs can cost, 20% could be a lot. Depreciation slows after the first year, so the RV may have lost a total of 28-40% of its value by the time it’s three years old. For a $100,000 RV, a 30% depreciation means you would have paid $30,000 in three years to lease it, plus taxes, which could put your monthly payment around $900, and you’d walk away with no equity.

Some of the reasons RVs depreciate so sharply include:

  • Short warranties. Some RV companies only offer a one-year warranty on their products.
  • Wear and tear. Both living in and driving an RV around might make a new RV feel used quickly.
  • Low resale price. This is what really determines depreciation; something is only worth as much as people will pay for it.

What’s the cheapest way to rent an RV?

The absolute cheapest way to rent an RV is to do a relocation rental, which is when an RV rental company needs to transfer inventory and rather than pay a professional driver, they are willing to rent it out for close to dirt-cheap so you could drive it to the new location for them.

What are the pros of RV relocation rentals?
You could net some serious savings doing an RV relocation rental rather than doing a regular RV rental.

Price. While a price around $120 a night is normal for typical RV renting, RV relocation rental prices trend at $1 a night.
Fuel allowance. Some relocation deals have a $100 fuel allowance to offset what you spend on gas or diesel.
Popular sites. The RV rental company is probably transferring inventory to a popular location, which may mean that your route has some noteworthy vistas and stops along the way or at the destination itself.

What are the cons of RV relocation rentals?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so the saying goes. The cheapest way to rent an RV does have its downsides.

One-way trips. Unless you find a second RV relocation deal that lets you go back the way you came within the window of time that you’ll be at the drop-off point, you’ll need to find your own way home.
Additional costs. You will probably have to pay out of pocket for things like transportation to and from the RV pickup and drop-off sites, as well as extra mileage fees, campsite fees, extra insurance and add-ons such as linen kits.
Short notice. Many of the best deals are only posted a few days ahead of when you would need to take your RV vacation, which could make it harder to plan.
Limited time. Of course, the RV needs to reach its destination in time. Depending on the deal you choose, you may or may not have any extra days built into the time in which you have to transfer the RV.

What are other RV rental considerations?

Where could I find an RV rental service?
RV rental companies that offer both regular RV rentals and relocation RV rental deals include Imoova, Apollo, Jucy,Road Bear and Cruise America. You could also check out peer-to-peer sites, such as RVshare, where private owners rent out their rigs. Kampgrounds of America, the world’s largest system of public campgrounds, offers a directory of RV rentals by state.

When should I look for an RV rental?
The most popular time for RV rentals is in the summer. If you are considering a traditional RV rental, that’s when prices will probably be at their highest due to demand. If you are considering doing an RV relocation rental, that’s probably when there will be the most opportunities.

What should I consider when renting an RV?
Whether you do a relocation rental or not, here are some things you should think about when selecting an RV to rent.

Size. Depending on how many people are traveling with you, you may only need an RV that can sleep two or an RV that can sleep six.
Drivers. How many people will drive the RV? Will a couple of drivers take turns? If more than one person will drive, there may be an extra fee. And some RV rental companies require that all drivers be above 21 or 25 years old.
Pets. Check to see if you are allowed to bring your pet along with you on your RV trip. If you are allowed, an extra cleaning fee may apply for any mess caused by the pet. If not, you may need to find a pet boarding service or a pet sitter while you are away.
Campsites. Do you want to pay to use an RV campsite that could offer full hookups and Wi-Fi or will you boondock and depend solely on the RV’s resources like the water reservoir and electrical generator? If you want to boondock, you need to make sure the RV you select is capable of it. If you plan to stay at an RV campsite or park, you’ll probably want to make reservations ahead of time.
Add-ons. Will you bring your own things from cookware and sheets and towels to RV-friendly toilet paper, or will you need to pay for them as add-ons to your rental?

Is a long-term or short-term RV rental better?
The more time you spend in an RV, the more it’s going to cost, of course. RV rental companies and campsites typically charge per day. But the answer to this really depends on your budget and where you want to go. If you have never used an RV before, we would suggest a shorter trip of a few days before you sign on and spend the money to use an RV for a few months.

What’s the cheapest way to buy an RV?

If you think RV ownership is a better bet, but still aren’t ready to commit to a big sticker price, the cheapest way to buy an RV is to buy used. And if you need an RV loan, you should shop around for the loan, just as would shop around for the RV. Potential lenders could include your bank, credit union or online lender. It does not hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders for a loan any more than it would to apply to one, as long as you do so within a 14-day window.

The bottom line

Leasing an RV is not an option, but there are plenty of ways to rent one. The cheapest way to rent an RV is to sign up for a relocation rental as daily fees are extremely low and possible added incentives like fuel reimbursement. When choosing an RV rental, keep in mind of additional costs, such as transportation to and from the RV pickup and drop-off sites. If you’re ready to buy an RV, do your research and shop around for an RV loan so you get the best deal.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jenn Jones
Jenn Jones |

Jenn Jones is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jenn at [email protected]

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Ways to Save for a Car

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Ways to save for a ar
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Car prices are more expensive than ever, but not one wants to give up their daily coffee in order to save for one. There are many ways to keep small (or large) splurges and stockpile a healthy down payment. Doing so could lead to a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments and probably lower stress levels. Whether you want to save money fast, over the long term or continuously, here are some ways to save for a car.

Set a reasonable goal

Go ahead and drink your daily coffee. Changing your entire lifestyle to be more frugal may not necessarily lead to the highest rate of money-saving success. Set a reasonable goal for how you’re going to save money as well as a reasonable goal of how much money to save.

How much should you save for a car? Depending on your situation, you probably don’t have to save up the car’s entire purchase price in cash before you can get it. The old rule is that you should save up 20% of the car’s price as a down payment, but you could do less or more as you wish, or what your potential lender requires.

A down payment of at least 10%, however, is a good way to prevent becoming “upside down” on your loan, which happens when you owe more on your car than it is worth. But even that adds up — with new car prices averaging around $37,000 and used car prices around $20,000, a 10% down payment equals $3,700 and $2,000, respectively.

How much should your car cost? Smart financial advice is to aim for a reliable used car rather than the most expensive new car you could possibly afford. Dave Ramsey, a personal finance author and radio show host, recommends capping your car price at half your annual income. So if you make about $20,000 a year, you should aim to get a car priced around $10,000.

Pay off other debt

Do you need that new car right now or could you wait? Waiting and paying off old debt before adding new debt could help in several ways. First, by paying off a debt early, you would not pay as much in interest to the lender. Second, all the money you had been putting toward that payment could go to a savings account for your new car. And third, paying off your debt could help you get better loan terms for your car — lenders favor those with lower debt-to-income ratios.

You could check out our ultimate guide to paying off debt for tips and tricks.

Use financial tools

You don’t need to sit down at the kitchen table with a pen, paper and calculator to start saving for a car. There are plenty of more high-tech tools out there that could help you meet your goals. You could also use one of our auto loan calculators to help you figure out how much car you can afford.

Budget apps. With that price point in mind, look at your budget (or set up a budget). There are several budgeting apps out there, including some free ones with good ratings, that could help you maintain and understand your spending.

Saving apps. There are free apps that could help you save by rounding up your regular purchases and putting the extra into savings. We rounded up the best money-saving apps for you to review.

Separate saving accounts. It may be helpful to have a separate savings account that is dedicated just to collect money for your new car so you can track it more easily, rather than all of your savings being lumped together. You could do this for free or very cheaply through your current bank, credit union or online lender.

Spend less

Any way you want to spend less is up to you.

The big spends. You may find it easier to make a big change rather than several smaller ones. For example, getting a cheaper apartment that’s $300 less than what you normally pay a month could make a big difference — in one year, you’d save $3,600, or about enough for the 10% down payment on a new car that we discussed earlier.

The recurring costs. Look at smaller things you have to pay for monthly.

  • Phone. Could you get a better (cheaper) deal on a phone plan from a different provider?
  • Media. Could you split the cost of a Netflix or Hulu account with a friend?
  • Exercise. Could you work out to music or exercise videos on YouTube in your own home for free rather than pay for a gym membership?
  • Subscriptions. Perhaps that $25 a month dog treat subscription box isn’t the most necessary expense.

Alternatives. Look for free or cheap alternatives to things you buy. Depending on your tastes and what’s available to you, replacing a night out with a night in could help you save money.

  • Get generic brands. If a generic brand has the same active ingredients as the name brand, it can do just as good of a job in many cases. Compare ingredients labels on everything from medicine to laundry detergent.
  • Buy used. Buying things used or “thrifting” can be a great way to get name-brand things for not name-brand prices.
  • Use public services. For example, Audible charges $14.95 a month for one audiobook a month, but your public library could have an app that lets you download up to 20 titles at a time, free.

Sales deals. Pay attention to sales and use coupons. Grocery stores still use newspaper circulars and clearance sections might have a few gems. There are also coupon apps such as Honey, Groupon, RetailMeNot and SavingStar, which are all free.

Make more

We do not recommend money laundering. Instead here are other, legal methods that you could use to save money for a car.

  • Get a gig. Could you drive for Uber or Lyft? Tutor kids, take surveys or freelance? There are tons of ways to earn spare money in your spare time. Upwork and TaskRabbit might be good places to look.
  • Sell your stuff. You could sell stuff you already own or make stuff to sell on sites ranging from Craigslist to Etsy.
  • Use social media. If you have a passion or some serious chops in a particular subject and the inclination to share your knowledge or skills with others, consider sharing it on social media and earning potential income from it.
  • Earn interest. If your money is just sitting in an account, it may as well sit there and earn more money for you in interest. There are online savings accounts, which could help you to compound your savings.
  • Invest in stocks. This is perhaps a riskier move, but you might make money in stocks.

The bottom line

You could spend less, make more or both. You could use all types of financial apps on your phone or you could just make a plan with pen and paper. However, you want to come up with ways to save money, and do what suits you. But have a plan to get to a reasonable goal. And once you get there, check out the three common auto loan mistakes people make so you can avoid them.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jenn Jones
Jenn Jones |

Jenn Jones is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jenn at [email protected]