How I Scored a Tesla Model 3 100% Free (Sort of).


Taking my first Tesla test drive in 2013 gave me a new life mission: to become a Tesla owner. A more recent overnight test drive of the P90D Ludicrous Model S did nothing to change that mission.

Spending $144k was just a bit out of my budget to say the least, but fortunately the new Tesla Model 3 will be closer to $25k-$30k after tax incentives. My wife is the most frugal person I know, reusing scraps of soap and napkins, but she finally agreed to let me get a Model 3 as long as I could “find the extra money.”


She wouldn’t even let me use our savings. She said “savings isn’t savings if you just go off and spend it.” If there is one thing I have learned, is you can’t argue with a woman when she’s right. I had to find the extra cash we weren’t already pulling in, and I only had 18 months to do it.


Since I don’t get paid overtime, and I enjoy watching TV far more than thinking about working a second job, I hopped on the internet. I found I could open new credit cards and score some free perks. Benefits ranged from 50k frequent flyer miles, to gift cards, to cash. Since I already had budgeted money for family vacations, and had a use for Amazon and Home Depot gift cards, the benefits turned into real money for me.


My wife and I signed up for 14 new cards over the course of a year, for a total benefit of $5,000. Update…while typing this article I signed up for one more card, bringing the total to 15 cards, and $5,500 in benefits. This took “zero work”, and only 5 minutes per card to sign up for online (including minimal time to cancel some later on). Good grief that’s more than $4,000/hr! Another side perk was our credit score actually dramatically increased with the extra credit cards.


We also signed up for a new checking account with Chase for another $350 cash bonus, and transferred some IRA money between brokerages for another $1,300.


I switched our cable provider and cell phone provider, cashing in on their incentive plans to shave another $1,600 off our planned spending, upping my total to $8,900.


I figured the cost of my dream Model 3 would be about $32k after taxes, tax credits, and registration, which meant even after 3 hours of “nonwork”, I was still a painful $23,100 short.


Then, one night I was complaining to my wife about all the thankless hours I was spending at my job, and how the company only gives 1% raises in a good year. That’s when my wife suggested I ditch my job for another, that pays better.


Grrr, I hate writing cover letters more than going to the dentist, but I could close my eyes and smell the new interior of my Model 3…so I spent 80 hours polishing up my resume, writing cover letters, applying to jobs, and interviewing.


OMG, I couldn’t believe it. I landed a job that pays significantly more, complete with a fat signing bonus. These perks easily covered the rest I needed, well before Elon builds my new set of wheels. In fact, I can afford to buy a new Model 3 every couple years just with the salary bump.


Although technically I do have to “work” at this job, I don’t have to work any harder than I was previously working. The new job is actually a bit easier, less stressful, and requires fewer hours (which is pretty nice too).


So thanks to about 83 hours of “nonwork”, I already have enough extra money in the bank set aside for my dream car!


Look for more articles to come.


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