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What do you al make?

I've been interested buying a Tesla for a number of years and it looks like once the model 3 comes out I'll finally be able to do that. I was wondering though, how much do you model S owners make?

I ask because I looked at buying a model S myself but quickly realized I could never afford one.

Currently I make around 40-45k a year.

So what does it tale to own a MS?

you must be fun at a dinner party

I don't make enough to have dinner parties...


I didn't mean to bring the party down, I was just asking a question.

a pretty personal question.

Around $70k annually.

It depends more on how well you manage your money than on how much you make. If you manage it well, you should have a decent savings, which can be used as a sizeable deposit on the car (lowering your monthly payments).

You also have to consider how much you spend on gas, how many miles you drive and how much electricity costs in your area. Before I bought the Model S I had watched my fuel usage for a year, and I averaged $200/month in gasoline, and that I would spend roughly 1/4 of that on electricity to charge the car. This meant I could afford $150 higher monthly payment on a Model S than I could on a petrol car (since I no longer spend that much on fuel)

Also, this all depends if you can afford $1000+ monthly for the car payment, taxes, and insurance.

Great answer Haeze

...I make enough

I do wonder why people are so scared to mention what they make, especially on an anonymous web message board.

I'm a retiree. Had a long, moderately successful professional career.
I didn't live like a miser or throw away my earnings like there is no tomorrow.
As a result, my income and savings enabled me to buy an MS85 without any strain.

But like most folks, I'm very reluctant to reveal details of my financial situation to the public.

Good luck.

Ron :)

Here's a variant:
How many could afford their MS outright, cash? (Including those who financed because Alliant etc. offered cheap money, less than personal ROI.)

I can honestly say that I make well over 6 digits and can't afford a Model S. Now, keep in mind, my wife is a stay at home mom, so my income is the family's income. Also, I put 15% of my check into my 401k and 5-6% into my kids education fund. So, I'm down over 20% before I get started. Throw in the 15-20% I have to give to the Fed govt, the ~7% to Social Security, 6% to Georgia, $500 per month for healthcare, $300 a month for property tax, $150 per month for property insurance, $200 per month for car insurance (I have a 16 year old!), $60 per month for life insurance, $800 per month for groceries, $800 house payment (5 more years!), $100 per month for dining out (yep, that's all), $300 for gas, $100 directv bill, cell phones, savings, clothing for 2 teenagers, electric bill, among other misc bills, and at the end of the day, there simply isn't enough money for a Model S.

We honestly live like hermits. We NEVER go out to dinner - a big waste of money IMO. We never take grand vacations. My wife nor I spend any money on clothing. We don't have a boat, 4-wheeler, camper, or any other of those money pits. No lake house. No time share. We really live very tightly.

With that said, I am baffled every time I drive by Longhorn and people are waiting in line to get in, and the parking lot is full of $40-50k SUVs. Where are people getting this money? My neighbor who sold me our life insurance gasped when she saw my salary (on the forms). She said, "Wow, you make more than almost everyone I have written insurance for." And this is the lady that lets us use her lake house every summer because she feels sorry for her "poor" neighbors.

I would just like to figure out how I supposedly make more than most people (according to my neighbor), yet, I can't afford to eat at Longhorn and drive $50k cars. What's the freaking deal? Is there a secret or something?

May be I am insecure or don't care for a lot of knick knacks. Always wanted to keep life simple. Saved, invested and paid for small house in cash. I do have to keep fiscal discipline at home. Saved like you, probably a larger %. With time accumulated and investments helped. Now I wish I had spent more in my younger days, done more traveling, etc. I bought the P85 with surplus cash. Why not? In a few years I will kick the bucket, and it have seen how heirs spend!

I am glad Elon is on a mission and he has passion. I can see it in the Model S. Don't see that in the Volt!

I don't think its so much how much you make, as what you are willing to give up. The richer you are, the less you have to sacrifice. Most adult Americans make enough that they could buy a Model S, but it isn't such a high priority for most people that they would be willing to sacrifice the necessary things to get it.

Basically, anyone who is willing to live like someone who makes ~$18,000 per year less than them for 5-6 years and has good enough credit to secure a loan can technically afford a model S. Since the poverty line for a family of 4 is $24,000, its reasonable to assume that anyone making over $42,000 could get one without putting their family into poverty, so I could call that the floor. Realistically, most people have different priorities, and usually need to have significantly higher incomes than that before they feel the tradeoff is worth it.

All I would have to do to afford a model S is either put off purchasing a home and starting a family by 4 years, stop saving for retirement for 5 years, or some combination of the two. I'm not willing to do either, so I'm not going to get one.

I wish I could look forward to an $800 a month house payment though. A 4 bedroom here is probably going to be more like $3500/month plus $1000 a month in taxes, and will likely cost as much as my entirely current yearly expenditures.

I don't mean to sound condescending, or nitpicky... but it all comes down to each individual person's point of view. Each person's value in a dollar is skewed by their econimic situation, and their past experience. Someone who has been poor for most of their life can look at a $20 bill and see a world of possibilities, while a person who has been wealthy all their life can drop it and debate whether it is worth their time to even bend over and pick it up. Also, a poor person is willing to make more sacrifices to save money, such as car pooling, using coupons, not splurging on non-essentials like a new, bigger/better TV when the existing one works just fine. They are also more critical of what services they pay for, like $100/mo for television when the basic $30/month plan plus a $20 netflix subscription will do the same (or better) for less money (some like me just forgo the cable TV all together, and stick to Netflix only).

You say you live like hermits, but you spend $900/month on food ($800 on groceries and $100 on dining out)... That is VERY far from "hermit" status. Most poor families of 4 can survive on $200/month for food. You also said later in your post that you never eat out, but $100/month is pretty expensive for something you don't do.

You also mentioned $300/month for gas. How much of that is used by the primary car ? Because with an electric car, that amount can be cut by 75% or more.

Also, many people find a large chunk of their paycheck goes to credit card bills, which are primarily interest. If you are paying interest for anything but a house, car, or student loan, you are simply wasting money (and by now the student loan should have been paid off anyway).

Personally, I just look closely at what money leaves my account on a regular basis. If I deem it isn't worth the benefit of whatever I bought, or if something else would be more valuable than that, I stop buying whatever that lesser valued thing is. I bought a house that isn't quite as nice as the house I want, I don't get cable TV, I buy things I need when they go on sale rather than only when I run out so I can get better prices on them. That is how I afforded a Model S. (A $74,500 S85, since I saw no reason to spend frivolously on the Performance inverter, and I got the $13500 credit on my taxes).

Just from the things you mentioned in your post, if you were to scrutinize your grocery purchases more, you could save $200-$300/month. You could save $150-$200 in gas a month by driving electric as your primary car. You could save $50/month by ditching channels you don't watch on DirecTV. Right there is $400-$600 of the typical $1000 monthly Tesla loan payment.

With your means, it is easily possible... it just depends how much you wish to sacrifice to get there.


I have been running some numbers lately.
I currently lease a Honda Odyssey 2012.
Managed to negotiate a pretty good $415 a month for 3 years with 15k a year, By the way i am already out of warranty(36k) after 20 months!!
So.. after 3 years this would be my out of pocket cost:
$2000 down.
$14940 payments.
$11666 gas for 60000 miles(my expected mileage) @ 18 m/gal @ $3.5 per gal.
$4500 -15000 over mileage charge @0.30 cent a mile per contract.
Total over 3 years $33106

Estimated Tesla Model s 85 kwh + tech Package financed for 6 years.
$5000 down out of $79900.
$5000 - Estimated Taxes and fees in Florida.
$39200 - 36 payments based on $1088 a month @ %1.5 from Aliant.
$2163 electricity based on Tesla calculator of 0.036 cents per mile @ $0.11 kwh and 60000 miles over 3 years(NOT deducting free cost of supercharger charges).
-$7500 Federal tax refund.
-$50000 Estimated resale value of 3 year old Tesla with 60000 miles(probably much higher based on today's Used price sale figures).
$38,343.08 - loan Balance after 3 years.
Total over 3 years $32206.08 !!!

These numbers are for Tesla Model S 85 kwh WITHOUT Tech package!

Regarding @buddyroe, as @Haeze said, it's in everything you buy. You mentioned a couple things that didn't have any values attached to them--cell phones and clothing for teenagers. Many cell phone plans from the big providers are ridiculously expensive and have the 2 year contract upgrading treadmill with the newest expensive $600 or $700 phones. And no, it WASN'T just $99! They are collecting the other $500 of the cost of that phone in the inflated monthly payments over the next two years. Many families are paying $200 to $300 a month on cell phone bills. You probably could look into some of the cheaper reseller providers and probably cut that in half. (Plug for here) Ours run about $80 for the three of us.

Then clothing for teenagers? Hmm, how much do you give them for that? You may not have actually been tracking it. That can be done either pretty reasonably, or ridiculously expensively, or somewhere on the spectrum in between.

Also, sometimes people or families are ATM-ing themselves to death and don't realize it. The bills may not look that bad, but some cash comes out here and there and here and there, and you don't notice where it's going. Latte much? Going out to eat for lunch most days at work? Maybe those things aren't you, but they're some place to look.

We've been doing financial and budget counseling for years, so this is kind of our thing. You make over two times the national average household income, so the money is going somewhere.

I do beleive some of you are missing the point.
Saving on expenses, cutting on budjet might not even be needed.
My above numbers show that out of pocket cost of tesla model s 85 kw is about the same as a competitive lease on a 32k car like honda oddyssey EX-L.

Here is a thread with an income poll over on Tesla Motors Club...

There were two people (0.53%) with incomes under 40k.
There were twelve people (3.19%) with incomes between 40K and 60K

Keep in mind income does not always paint an accurate picture of wealth. I have a few friends that had trust funds and technically had a small income from them, but they were ridiculously wealthy. Those people can do a lot more with their income than others.

It is interesting to see what the demographics are and where you fit. It doesn't come down to how much you make, but how much you can afford within your budget.

If I was single and made 40-45K I wouldn't do it (but clearly could make it work) and with a family I wouldn't even consider it.

Sure for some of us we can just write a check and drive away. But most people can't, and those that can most likely couldn't always do that.

@Haeze - you must not live in America if you think a family of four can eat on $200. that's $1.67 a day per person. No freaking way. I mean, I live in South Ga and my wife uses coupons and buys sales items. We don't eat the expensive organic meat or anything, and we spend $800 on groceries. We have occasionally been able to get it down to $680-700. You show me EXACTLY what you eat, and what you pay for the food for a family of 4 (2 adults, a 13 and 16 year old) to be able to eat on $200 a month and I will eat THAT for 5 years, give you 10%, and go by me a Model S . I can guarantee you that you CANNOT eat on less than $500 (family of four). If you can, tell me what you're eating. An no, I'm not eating Ramen (sp) noodles every meal.

And as far as eating out for $100. That is what we budget. We never go to sit down restaurants, but you will always find yourself in situations where you are out of town or some other reason where you have to eat fast food. $100 doesn't go very far. Especially when I see most people eating $60 and $70 meals at steak restaurants. We don't always use the full $100, but that's what we budget.

Do you even have a budgeting software? I doubt you really know what you spend on groceries if you think a family of four can eat on $200. Even food stamps for a family of four are over $500. I have YNAB budgeting software and I can tell you by month exactly what I spend on EVERYTHING - right down to toilet paper and deodorant. I mean everything.

Oh, there is NO SUCH THING as a basic cable package for $30. This ain't 1988 any more. And my $100 actually includes ALL TV and movie entertainment. It includes our BASIC satellite package, renting movies on amazon, etc. We haven't been in a movie theater in 20 years.

If you people are eating Ramen noodles and living in a tent just so you could get wealthy and buy a car, I feel sorry for you. I guess I'm not quite the hermit I thought I was. I do live a LITTLE. What's the point if you don't? I don't want any car that badly.

While a bit uncouth to ask, I find this topic interesting.

The truth is what folks above have said - income is not an indication of financial healthy at all. I bought my first house 11 months after college, having saved almost 10k for closing costs in those 11 months while my income was a cool 40k. That's WITH massive student loan payments and living on my own. (Well, with roommates.)

Meanwhile, I know plenty of middle aged folks with decent paying jobs who couldn't save 10k in a year if their lives depended on it.

Also, some people's entertainment budget alone if given up could theoretically make up the difference in cost between a 35k ICE plus gas and a Model S. So if you know you can swing it without your necessities suffering (housing, food, debts, RETIREMENT, emergency savings...) then your actual income level doesn't really matter.

Most people I know who drive a Model S spent more on their Model S than on their last car. Meaning they stretched their budget to buy it. I guess it happens if they really like the car.

"I do wonder why people are so scared to mention what they make, especially on an anonymous web message board."

it is only an annoying question if you don't make much money

I have never seen a rich person having issues saying how much money they make, hell, they usually tell you without even asking lol

I make pancakes.

@buddyroe, well done for using YNAB. I've heard really good things about that budgeting system. I do agree that unless you're going really really low (tuna whatsit casserole or Ramen or something), $200 a month on groceries for four people isn't very reasonable, but there's probably a level somewhere before it gets to $800.

We had lived on hardly anything when my wife and I got married at the start of our fourth year of college, so we were very careful and tight with our money. Then, we graduated, got real jobs, and our income went way up. It was like we had been holding our breath and let it out. Toss the budgeting that felt like a straight jacket and do whatever--lattes at work most mornings, don't feel like cooking again, so we'll go out for dinner for the third time this week, etc. etc. Basically we got pretty lazy and careless with it, but it was easily affordable because it was just the two of us, and we made a little over $100K. We then did get convicted about how bad our financial behavior was getting (Dave Ramsey class), so we decided to tighten the screws back to our college habits partially to prove we could do it if we had to. So we cut stuff back, lived on about $40K and paid off $60K in debt in less than a year.

Since then, we've loosened up a good bit because we're also at a higher income and are investing and giving more, but we have kept some of those better habits. We generally drove paid for used cars or $20K new cars, so the Tesla was a decision about when do we want to use our money. Have a bunch when we're old? I'd rather use some of that on a lifelong dream car that I can use now, every day, for the next 20 years and have a bit less in retirement.

I make enough to afford a $500.00 a month car payment. Buying a Tesla is by far the most expensive vehicle I have purchased. I made a hefty down payment and then factored in fuel savings and savings on ordinary ICE vehicle service. I drive a lot of miles so fuel savings is significant. Car pool lane access also highly important. All told, the effective cost of ownership equals a typical car payment for a decent vehicle with the added joy of driving a Tesla.

Fun discussion. I admire you, Buddyroe, for not living your life in debt, like those you see with the big SUVs parked in front of fancy restaurants.

We're newly retired, frugal, no debt, will pay cash for our Model 3, which is what we can afford.


Pulled out my old Sprint phone, dusted it off and activated a spare line on last night, porting my number from another prepaid provider. Thanks for the free plug! :)

As far as income levels go...
Should someone choose to answer the OP's question, I think the answer would be a good bit more beneficial if it were accompanied by a zip code where the given income was earned. For example, earning $75k/yr in zip 10950 is worlds apart from earning the same $75k/yr in zip 94027.
It's not only how much you make, it's also how much is left after all the bills are paid. Unfortunately, most people are only concerned with their dti when applying for a loan.
At the end of the day, two people earning the same living can fall into two completely different financial categories based on their geographical location alone.

College student, currently working a full time internship making around $30k a year. College is stupid expensive, something like over half my salary. But I still live at home, so I am able to save some money for a Model 3 :). And once I get out of prison I won't have any student loans and will most likely get a big promotion if I decide to stay. My goal is to be in a good enough financial situation to pay out of pocket for the Model 3 once it comes out. I think I am very lucky to have a job in this climate, let alone a job in my field of study. I see so many people who graduate with six figure debt with no guarantee of a job...

College is a scam that preys on the middle-class. Maybe one day the taxpayer will throw young people a nickel and make college free instead of spending all of it on social security, medicare, and our military, all of which help the old at the expense of the young. Of course that would be socialism and we can have none of that.

More likely Soylent Green. 70 yrs old? Report to the food bank.

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