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I am 28 years old, make $65,000, live in upstate New York and work in the nonprofit sector

Introduction: I’m Asian-American, first generation, grew up low-income. My career has been focused on financial wellness and wealth building for low-income communities. I’ve learned alot about finances, but not sure I would’ve sought out the same info at such depth if work wasn't the catalyst.
SECTION ONE: ASSETS AND DEBT
Net Worth: -$2,100
Retirement: $39,000. Before my Master’s, balance was ~$50k, accumulated in 3 years post college. Maxed out Roth IRA and 401k for 2 of those years.
Equity: None. My partner K bought a house for us recently, still under his name only.
Savings Accounts: $650
Checking Accounts: $250
Credit Card Debt: $0
Student Loan Debt: $42,000. $22k federal, $20k owed to siblings.
College: No debt, thanks to a full-ride scholarship I won. I had part-time jobs and spent most of my money on clothes. My brother sent me $1000 every year, and other siblings gifted me money during holidays.
Grad school: All my current debt. I dumped savings and some retirement funds into tuition. Even with a scholarship of $20k/year, I had to borrow 40k. Professional school is expensive, y’all. I had part-time jobs, and all earnings went to living expenses.
Other Debt: $0
Inheritance: Me - none.
Partner – The house down payment was a gift from his parents. He’ll also get a significant inheritance from eventually. His parents grew up poor but aren't anymore, and have always been frugal. The life his parents gave him is what I’d like to give my kids if I have them: set them up well without spoiling.
My parents worked so hard to support my family. When I tried to give them my paychecks in high school, they told me to keep them for myself. When I bought gifts for them during holidays, they told me I should spend for myself. My siblings (including me) who spent the most time in the US, and thus could benefit the most long-term, are all financially stable. My older siblings still struggle and won’t accept help. I remember all the time how lucky I am to have a supportive family.
Other Related:
Before March, I lived in a 2 bed apartment in a big city with a roommate. I planned to visit K for Spring Break but moved in with him instead due to quarantine. We intended for this to happen after my graduation, but the timeline was sped up. We never shared finances before but now he was taking care of all our living expenses. K didn’t mind and was happy to. I wouldn’t have cared if our situations were flipped. But I felt guilty having someone else pay so much for me. And for so long I was a strong, independent woman and it felt like I was giving up some of that.
But I realized that we are partners in many ways, including this. We try to make life easier for each other, and K was doing that for me just as I do for him. Besides, my independence was enabled by the safety net of my family. I aim to provide the same for K, for my nephews/nieces, and for my kids if I have them – and I certainly won’t consider them “less independent” for taking those opportunities. Seriously, this has been a main point of my whole career! Gotta apply it to myself.
Partner’s Net Worth: $200,000+
SECTION TWO: INCOME
Income Progression: I was an English and Classics major who had tried some teaching and considered law school. I really blossomed skills-wise at my first post-college job, and learned so much from many wonderful people. Also, the nonprofit field allows me to be a jack of all trades due to their funding constraints. Turns out I’m a master of none, and that's okay (;
2015 - $15,000 for 10-month term
2016 - $48,000 annual, promotion
2017 - $52,000 annual, promotion
Start grad school
2018 - $40/hour, consultant
2019 - picked up $20/hr for university
End grad school
2020 - $65,000 annual, strategy-related role
After graduation this year I was unemployed for 3 months. In August my current employer offered me a short-term, full-time position and hope to keep me long-term. Crossing my fingers, as I’m very inspired by their mission and impact. Regarding salary, if I stayed in/gone back to expensive cities, I would’ve sought a higher range. I’m now in a low COL town so adjusted accordingly.
Monthly Take Home: $4,481. Taxes taken out, no benefits.
Partner’s Monthly Take Home: ~$7,000. Deductions for health insurance (for both of us), 401k, HSA, all that jazz. This has been his salary for 2 years. Before this, a grad school stipend (~$35k) for many years.
SECTION THREE: MONTHLY EXPENSES
Our finances are joint now and we consult each other on buys at $100+.
Mortgage: $700
Property Taxes: $800
Home & Car Insurance: $45
Savings & Investment: Whatever’s left after expenses.
Debt Payments: $0. I'll funnel all my earnings into this (after Roth IRA). But it won’t be enough before the grace period expires and interest is capitalized on my federal loans. Anything left owed to the feds will be covered by K’s savings and paid off before 2021. Then I’ll focus on paying my siblings back.
Donations: $625
Gas/Electric/Heat: Unknown, these bills are lying around somewhere.
Trash: $15
Wifi: $50
Phone: $0. K is on a family plan, and I’m on one with my siblings.
Groceries: $600 average
Subscriptions: Amazon Prime $10. Netflix and Hulu 0, using family plans. Google Play Music Family $15.
Gym Membership: $60 for K's membership. Will get mine once we’re comfortable going again.
Pet: Unknown, haven't summed up all the cat things.
Miscellaneous (eating out, hobbies, gifts, random purchases, etc.): $200 average
SECTION FOUR: THE DIARY
Day 1, Sunday
8:45 am After waking up and going back to sleep a few times, I finally just get up. I do my morning routine: wash face, brush teeth, take pill, contacts, ring, brush hair, moisturizer.
My partner K is playing with the kitty, and I join. We adopted her not long ago, so she’s still acclimating. K calls her a scaredy cat because she’s skittish about everything. She's now in her carrier, in catloaf position (paws tucked and hidden, so she looks like a bread loaf) and not budging.
9:20 I check on my plants and do some planty things. I decide I want crepes for breakfast, and defrost 2 leftovers in the oven. As I wait, I scan through old starred emails. One is from Chase, offering a complimentary Shoprunner one year membership. Why not? The website tells me I already have an account, of course. But I don’t know my password and have to reset. I’m hungry and will get back to this.
I eat the first crepe like normal but everything falls out, so the 2nd gets the pancake treatment. With apples and maple syrup, they’re delicious.
Shoprunner finally works. I haven’t been spending much online, but if I do I’ll get free shipping (I never buy online without it).
12:00 pm We eat defrosted pizza for lunch. We’ve been watching Brooklyn 99 during meals, but today we watch Adventure Time. I give him my crusts as usual, since I don’t like them. Afterwards, K asks me to crack his back by standing on it. I manage to do so without totally breaking his back. Then I putz around while he packs for a work trip. I make him coffee and give him his daily portion of cookies (he asked me to hide and portion them). K leaves to finish up work at his office. I play Tetris on the Switch.
4:15 I take a shower. Fall weather hit one day last week with zero transition, and it’s been much cooler since, and the toasty water is so nice. K gets home and finishes packing. We drive out to his company lot so he can get the rental car. We hug goodbye. It feels like our long distance days again ); I've gotten very used to seeing him all day every day thanks to quarantine. He calls me before I get home - his car wasn’t delivered due to some miscommunication, so I have to drop him off at the rental center.
7:40 I feed the kitty and finally start cooking. I make pork chops seared in a cast iron pan, finished in the oven. I flavor it with salt, pepper, thyme, coriander, dill, and sage. I love cooking and being able to experiment so much. Sometimes it turn out a bit funny but hey, that's how I learn. I eat a pork chop with leftover jasmine rice.
My favorite Youtube channel has a new video. I don’t follow many but enjoy Safiya Nygaard’s content so much. The new one is about acrylic pour art. I think I'd feel bad about all the paint, but the finished pieces look so cool! I actually like her “bad attempts” more. I should try acrylics; I've mostly used watercolors but might be missing out on a medium I'll like.
9:30 K texts that he’s reached the hotel. It’s not that long a road trip and unlikely anything bad will happen, but I still worry. I’m glad he arrived okay.
9:45 I cut my fingernails. They grow like weeds, so I snip them every week otherwise they poke my eyeballs when removing contacts. I play Hearthstone on my phone during this. Then bedtime. My nightly routine: brush teeth, mouthwash, rotate fittonia plant, ring off, contacts out, lip balm, lotion.
11:30 Okay, I’m still awake, browsing online. I set my alarm for 7:30 am and sleep.
Total $0
Day 2, Monday
7:30 am Alarm wakes me. Snooze. Alarm again. I get up and feed the cat.
7:55 I put on a work outfit: green pleated maxi skirt and a mint green top with an orange, pink, and green floral pattern. Pink cardigan too since the office is cool.
My style is the most "feminine" and "loud" at this office - lots of colors and patterns, and silhouettes that are stereotypically feminine. Sometimes I wonder if I should tone myself down. Whether people might take me more seriously professionally if I wore more pants, muted colors and patterns. But this is what I enjoy, and if people underestimate me based on how I dress, that's on them, not me. I'm fortunate that previous coworkers have shown confidence in my abilities (even when I had little confidence) that I never had to "tone down” myself to get more respect.
8:00 Pack for work using a swag bag they gave me, which I know is cheesy but fits all my things well. Grab Greek yogurt and spoon for breakfast. I need to attach a voided check to my direct deposit form, so I add that. Got badge and mask. Mist my maranta. Shoes on – I pick Sketchers since my maxi will hide them mostly. But no one will notice my shoes, per the wise words of Gustav in Ever After!
8:10 While backing out, I spot trash bags on my neighbors' curbs - it's trash day. Usually my partner takes out the trash, so I debate waiting until next week. Then I tell myself the trash will get gross and stinky, even if in plastic bags, and also to be an adult. I roll the can to the curb. Upon arrival at work, I find a parking spot where I don't have to back up to get out. I'm always paranoid about hitting things/people, even with plenty of lot space. I haven't actually hit anything/one (that I know of) but still.
8:40 My coworker responds about the office book club. They've been reading White Fragility. I stop by her office and get the book, yay! The group is meeting again next week so I need to catch up. I then eat my yogurt. As my boss walks by me, she compliments my skirt (:
10:00 Meeting with boss and person she's been waiting to chat with for awhile, via phone. Person is shocked and unhappy at our update, and ends the call fast. Me and boss chat about a realization I had this morning, that will likely change one of the main things we want to do for my project. Whether this is a good thing or not is TBD. I go refill my tea at the hot water dispenser, so far away at the other end of the office. Note to self: bring own mug and stop hogging this office one. Then I find a thing that could be a big breakthough, maybe. If other things go a certain way, perhaps.
11:45 I head out. I'm doing half days remote because I don't feel like prepping lunches to bring. Also I feel bad about leaving kitty alone all day (dunno if she cares). It's sunny but chilly outside. I'll definitely want all remote when it gets colder.
12:00 pm Wegman’s pit stop. They stock new plants every week or so. I debate a cute succulent for $5, but as I put it down, accidentally brush against a leaf and break it. Now I have to get it! I also buy a huge cat grass for $4, to distract kitty from eating my ponytail palm.
12:20 I drop into a local flower shop for the first plant I’ve ever ordered, a rattlesnake calathea. So pretty (: There are more leaves than expected for this size pot and price. This florist sells small plants for only $5 and take orders. (Very dangerous, but I limited myself to one plant...for now.)
Going home, I have to do a loop because the main road has one-way sections, arg. I think I have a lot of driving anxiety, probably because I spent 8 years using mostly public transportation and walking.
12:35 Instant ramen and diet grapefruit soda for lunch, classic adult meal. I think that the best standard brand is Mama ramen, and my favorite flavor is the creamy shrimp tom yum. The best spicy ramen are the Samyang spicy chicken ones. I usually add dried seaweed, but not feeling it today.
I later set up work in our office room. It’s so nice to have my own desk. I was using K’s since he no longer works from home, but prefer mine with my own pictures and knick-knacks, like my squishy stress bunny. I try to access files through remote desktop but can’t. IT puts me on hold. Is it worth driving back into work? Now the line tells me to leave a voicemail; I do, but I’d rather just keep holding.
2:55 An IT person calls me back. As I’m telling him what’s wrong, I realize I never logged into remote VPN, so of course I had no access. I apologize to him, feeling bad I wasted his time. This must be like the jokes about people not plugging things in yet expecting them to work. IT sends an email saying the ticket was resolved. My silliness is documented for eternity.
Meat stick (prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella) for consolation. Back to work, more munchies so I eat an apple too.
5:40 K and I chat and agree to play Don’t Starve Together later, which we started a few days ago. Dinner is pork chop, rice, defrosted mixed veggies. My friend and I talk over the phone as I eat. We grew up in the same hometown, and she's been my bestie for a long time. I can’t recall a time when we weren’t friends! (She does - when we were very young. I just have bad memory.) She’s recently had very exciting things happen, and I love hearing her life updates. She's one of few friends I'm close enough with that we speak very candidly about everything.
7:30 Kitty joins me on the living room couch. Her sudden epiphany: she can knead my blanket, and does for a long time. I pet her while she kneads. Then dinner for the cat. I also check on my new plants and water them.
As I go outside to repot a plant, I see a small package on the porch. Addressed from a friend and labeled "fragile". It’s a ring dish! So lovely and thoughtful, and I was just thinking about getting one. I text my friend many thanks and place it in the bathroom.
8:40 K and I play Don’t Starve Together on our computers. About 5 minutes in, we’re suddenly attacked by scary dogs and I die ): I’m a ghostie for awhile as he attempts to revive me, but it’s a struggle. We decide to play Stardew Valley next time, since this game more difficult than we thought it’d be. I play Animal Crossing afterwards. A new neighbor moved in, a cute koala named Alice!
11:30 Okay, time for bed. Ugh, I keep browsing instead of sleeping.
Total $15.10
Day 3, Tuesday
8:00 am Alarm goes off. I push snooze. Then I remember kitty is waiting for food, so instead get up and feed her. I eat yogurt and get work started.
9:50 Break time! I drive to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore nearby. I haven’t gone in the past two weeks, but we got some amazing furniture deals here. Like our beautiful 10x13 living room rug for only $50. The thrift stores around here have actual thrift store prices. Our friends recently got a coffee table from here that was exactly what we're looking for. I’m happy they got it but also kind of jealous.
I find a pretty glazed square saucer ($0.50, plus another 25% off), an adorable panda mug ($1.00), and a mug painted with a lovely floral pattern ($0.50) but a chip on the lip. Doesn’t matter since these mugs will be pots.
10:40: Home and work, more research on how to do all the things. I get a meat stick and prep ramen. I am so cold‼ I wrap our living room blanket around me like a shawl. This was an Amazon gift last year from K. He searched “softest blanket” and said everyone recommended this one. It is indeed incredibly soft, and I love it so much. I’m shall walk around and sit like this. Thermostat says it’s 64 degrees. Hmm, maybe my body is just rebelling against adapting to lower temps.
12:40 I finally eat lunch. I got distracted by work. The ramen warms me up some, but my fingers and feet are still cold. It’s far too early for me to break out mittens, right? My new succulent’s plastic pot fits perfectly into the flower mug. Panda mug is less of a home run; it’s a large sphere but the opening is just a bit too small. I’ll just repot another plant directly into it. I replace the dining plate under the grass with the square saucer. I check my money tree. I tend to ignore it, as it does pretty well left alone. Its new leaves got so big!
1:30 I use Teams chat for the first time. A colleague tells me some people who received my earlier mass email were confused about a certain line and emailed her assuming a more positive future outcome. I send out a clarifying email that the news is indeed as bad as it sounds...and people are not happy about that now. I just feel guilty I can’t make things better.
4:00 The itchy bumps on my finger are multiplying. I have some isolated eczema. Years ago, it was all over my hand and severe, but with medication slowly receded and now pops up in small spots. A similar bump on my leg that keeps coming back (only when I scratch it…I know, I know). I put on medicated ointment.
4:20 Someone replied all to my clarification email, pointedly questioning our decisions. Yikes! I ponder how to respond, then decide to do that tomorrow instead, when I can fully refrain from being snarky.
I go repot my haworthia into the panda mug, which should be the last time I repot her. I’m doing this out on the porch, squatting over pots with a spoon and bag of dirt, and wonder if people are judging me. Another package out here, from my hometown friend. It says Edible Arrangements, ooh. K calls me as I start opening it, so I narrate the process for him. It’s strawberries dipped in chocolate! I eat one right away, so yummy. I text my friend thanks and eat more. Must save some, reluctantly, for K.
6:00 I do some clean up. I’ve been leaving dishes, wrappers, and such strewn about. Without K here, I’m less prompt because no one can see my shame. Mini brush to sweep crumbs and such off counters, then regular broom for the kitchen floor because I made it messy in just 2 days.
The cat is eating the grass!
6:30 I consider exercising. We made sandbags with contractor bags and lawn pebbles, but I'm not workouts. Before quarantine, I went to the gym 3x a week (starting last Sept) even in bitter winter. I really enjoyed feeling myself get stronger. Now I’m not nearly as disciplined. My partner is much better about it, even doing cardio in between lifting days. Maybe I’ll work out tomorrow.
Instead, I wash rice and Instant Pot it for dinner, then take a shower. I feel so warm afterwards! I’m determined to keep myself that way.
7:00 The cat joins me on the couch for some blanket kneading. She does her bass purr, which disturbed me when I first heard it because it was so strange and so deep that I thought it might be a distress sound. I hear it during pets, and sometimes she’ll sit far away from us and just rumble like that. Eventually dinner time for kitty, then for me. I eat a pork chop with rice and leftover mixed veggies. I put the rice in the fridge! I forgot several times and had to throw it away the next day. I know rice is cheap, but I hate wasting food like that. Some Animal Crossing after. One of my neighbors is moving out tomorrow :(
11:35 It’s so late. I do my nightly routine and go to bed.
Total $2.02
Day 3, Wednesday
8:15 am I finally get up and go through my morning routine. Putting on my ring is easier to remember when it’s out on a dish instead of hidden in a crowded basket. I feed kitty and start work. My boss responded to the reply all email yesterday evening. Whew! I do think that was better coming from her instead of me the newbie.
9:00 I look up how to access someone else’s calendar on Outlook, because I need to see my bosses’ schedule. Microsoft’s directions seem to apply to the online version, and other search results match it. I click around Outlook instead, and figure it out that way. I mist my prayer plant and eat a yogurt.
9:50 To the ReStore. I go in and out of the house 3 times because I forgot my keys, donation box, and phone. Rihanna's Skin comes on from my playlist as I drive. Yeees, I haven't heard this in a while and sing along enthusiastically.
I find 4 ramekins for $2.00. This will complete the set I picked up here before. K wants them for baking but doesn’t think he’d use them enough to justify a new set. I also nab a ceramic thing made for an unknown purpose ($0.50), to be a nice small pot.
10:35 Home, shrouded in the blanket as I type up research. Ramen again for lunch. I could bring it into work, but then my coworkers might judge and/or pity me for eating like a college student.
12:40 pm I get dressed for the office. Weather app says it's 70s outside, so I put on a light pink maxi skirt with a geometric pattern, a light orange/coral top with a floral print, and teal cardigan. I end up walking instead of driving since it's nice out. I immediately feel happier and refreshed! I think I’ve been grumpy from feeling so cold in the house. Like hangry, except…crumpy.
1:00 A sign outside a bakery says today’s special is carrot cake cupcake. Nooooo, I love carrot cake but I’m trying not to buy treats. But this bakery has such good cupcakes…I go in and buy one for $3.00. It’s difficult to resist these when they’re so cheap compared to prices in larger cities. I eat the cupcake at work and it is the perfect dessert.
1:50 The internet stops functioning as I'm writing up a form online to submit ): Instead, I call someone to break the bad news to since there's no email listed for them. I really dislike calling people I’ve never met, since I rely so much on expressions and body language. Several tea treks this afternoon.
4:00 I text a friend about helping me lift a dresser out of the garage later. I bought a lovely wood dresser for $150 from FB last month to replace our current dinky one, but it needs TLC. I’ve been procrastinating hard but am afraid this is the last week of nice weather, so want to fix it up now. Plus it can be a nice surprise for K.
4:30 As I’m leaving, some coworkers chat to me! I’m so happy – I’m a shy person at work, mostly because I feel like I have to absorb all the info possible and then I can start to say things, otherwise I’ll make a fool of myself. This shouldn't apply to general chatter, but somehow does for me. It’s really nice talking to them.
5:00 At home, NY driver’s license came in the mail. I feel so official now! Except, this isn’t a REAL ID and I thought I was getting one. The NY webpage says to bring more documents to the DMV for one one. I guess since I won’t be flying soon, not a big deal. And I can always use a passport, though I dislike carrying that unless really needed.
5:35 My friend comes over and we carry the dresser from the garage to the driveway. He points out that some of the backing is reinforced with staples (???) instead of nails. Ah well, this was cheap. I start off by sanding edges where the veneer is scratched or started to peel; harder to do precisely than videos show. Then a long, long time putting wood filler in those spots. It’s hard getting it to stick without bits falling off. Okay, not so sure how well this will turn out :/ I leave it to dry overnight, so tomorrow I can stain
7:00 After a hot shower, I put on my workout leggings that have a fleece lining. Not to workout, just for the warmth. Desperate times! I know that after winter, these temps will feel like beach weather. But right now I’m cold. I go feed the kitty. Then I remember I was supposed to send a form for work and do so, so very late :(
8:00 Dinner. Pork chop, leftover rice, defrosted corn. K and I chat as I eat. We call it a night early though. I finally get the dishwasher going; I left so many dirty dishes sitting around this week. I play Animal Crossing. I search for a new neighbor and pick the first one on a mystery island, a horse named Papi. He really likes nature, so I feel we’ll jive there.
9:00 A couple of friends text yes for a group video call next week. We know each other from grad school but are all in different states now. Many things have been happening for everyone, so I’m excited to toast to them!
10:00 I actually want to go up to bed this time, but the kitty is snuggled next to me. I’ve been petting her for at least 30 mins. But finally we go upstairs for the night. I scroll through subreddits before sleeping.
Total $5.94
Day 4, Thursday
7:45 I get up and do morning stuff, then feed the cat. I try to turn on my work computer but it does nothing until I charge it. Yogurt for breakfast, then burrito myself in the blanket for work.
9:50 ReStore break. I accidentally walk out in flip flops instead of sneakers but am too lazy to switch. Oh well, I’ll be that person in socks and sandals.
At the store, I immediately grab these beautiful blue glazed pots, labeled $4 for the set. There’s also a soft, pinkish white pillow. But it doesn’t fit colors I want for any room; nah, I’d regret it later. I find a pretty set of Japanese-style art, depicting varied pots and flowers. The frames are beat up though. I take a picture to send to K later to see if he likes them. But on my last circle about, the paintings have disappeared. That’s okay, someone else will enjoy them.
K might declare a pot moratorium when he gets home, as he’s threatened before. Hah, he’ll be using the car anyways so I can’t even go thrifting then.
10:55 Home and back to work. I get an email from Accounting that there’s a check for me. First one, woo! They told me it would be Thursdays, but I’m so used to Fridays that this was a surprise.
11:40 Hot ramen, mmm. While waiting for them to poof, I check my plants. I browse FB and subreddits while eating. Then upstairs to dress. Today, a navy and white triangle print blouse to pair with my black and white feather print pants. I also break out a nice pair of sneaker-like shoes, in grey suede.
1:45 Back in the office, many rounds of hot leaf juice. I pick up my paycheck, and Accounting confirms my next will be deposited. I also stop by HR to ask how I can set up Zoom meetings.
4:00 I drive to the credit union to deposit checks. They close too early, in my opinion. How do people who don’t have flexible workplaces find time to use them?
K recently added me to his account. My bank has no branch here, though I got them years ago specifically because they were national and I wanted access wherever I went in the US :/ I don’t like paying ATM fees, so K has been withdrawing cash if needed. I’m also not comfortable using a bank app out of paranoia that someone might steal my phone and siphon my account. I think my bank accounts and Social Security number are the only things the tech giants don’t have, so I guard them as my precious.
4:30 Home for more work in my blanket.
5:30 K and I chat. We decide to see if our friends are available for board games this weekend, and if not, watch a movie. I suddenly realize I didn’t defrost a protein for dinner, and even putting it out now won’t be enough time to unfreeze it. Nooo. I end our call to work on the dresser (but lie to him about why).
I put stain on a few samples of filler. I got it matched at a local hardware store, but not sure if the stain will look like its label image. Wait, the label says to leave the stain for 4-6 hours before using a 2nd coat…well, I can keep sanding. Except there's definitely too much wood filler on these spots, because I’m doing one corner for so long.
6:23 I go inside and eat leftover corn and a meat stick for dinner. I’m crumpy again. And sad this won't be done by the time K gets back. I decide to make a latte, likely a bad idea so late. But I want something cozy. I mix in cocoa powder and honey with it. We have a grinder, aeropress, and French press (for guests) but use Wegman’s beans and a cheap milk frother. Occasionally we get nicer beans at a local shop, and my partner eventually wants to upgrade to a real fancy grinder. The coffee set up captures well our spending habits.
7:00 The cat stole my half-eaten meat stick‼ She flees, but stops to eat her prize, so I snatch it from her clutches. K had asked me if she’d be unrecognizable when he gets back, and I think so. Very bold now. After I feed her, she goes downstairs and meows a lot. I will not be summoned, cat! XD I stay here until she’s back in the room, quiet, and then I go downstairs. I eat chocolate strawberries and browse FB and subreddits about plants, finances, and furnishing homes. I should read for the book club. Eh.
9:15 I find out online there’s Fall Festival on the main street on Saturday! I’m excited; I was visiting last year when it happened. There were hay bales and scarecrows and tractors and kids getting faces painted. I wasn’t sure they'd have it this year, but glad that local businesses will get a huge boost in sales.
I also remember we got a beautiful bouquet of dried flowers from there, now still our living room and only shed a bit during the year. Since they last for so long, I want a set for the guest bedroom.
9:30 I play Tetris. A couple of bad rounds, but I get 6th once! Pretty good. I cross some animals, and say hello to Papi. Then I go empty the rest of the dishwasher and load it again, and sweep up ramen bits. I don’t want all this to linger longer if I feel lazy tomorrow. K sometimes says, “Good job, past self!” out loud to acknowledge what he did in the past that make the present less stressful. I really like that, so now I try to approach things more that way.
11:25 I go to bed. But I have a throbbing caffeine headache, and my stomach feels hollow. Why did I do this to myself? I read some “messy” Money Diaries from the Drama Watch Roundup to tire out my brain. It takes a long time for me to fall asleep.
Total $4.32
Day 6, Friday
7:00 am I wake up needing to pee. Can't go back to sleep due to residual headache. I do my morning routine and feed the kitty. I have to boot up my work laptop. Its battery runs out so quickly; it’s a bit annoying that I won’t be able to go anywhere without the charger. Oh well. I start filling in a spreadsheet to organize what I’ve been researching.
I am blanket. Blanket is me. (Or is it I?)
I email my Boss about setting up a Zoom call for us and another person. Then tea time. I use a loose chai from Wegman’s. It’s really good; I’m glad their generic stuff tends to be decent quality.
9:50 To the ReStore. I almost forget my mask but luckily don’t. They’re strict about them, thankfully. I saw them kick out a man who tried to go in without one. He kept arguing that he had the right not to. Of course, and there are consequences to that. This is also a charity shop and volunteer run, so they probably care less about pissing off a few people. I feel bad for the businesses and employees who end up with potential losses from booting noncompliant customers. It’s not a dilemma I’d want to face.
Today I find a large peachy pillow, $3. Glad I didn’t get the other, since this fits better and is so soft. I also get two glass vases of similar height and shape but one has a vertical pattern ($1.00, with additional 50% off) while the other has a wavy pattern ($1.00, with additional 25% off). Close enough, for the guest bedroom flowers. And I finally drop off the box.
10:45 I reach Wegman’s to grab a few things. Two 10-pack meat sticks (12.29 each) and two 2-liter bottles of diet grapefruit soda ($0.75 each). I also look at the fish, since they stock fresh ones on Fridays and are usually sold out by evening. I love whole fish and would eat it every day if I could. I pick 2 porgies ($6.99/lb) and ask them to descale and trim the fish but keep the heads. I’ll get both fish heads tonight since K never eats them. I’m so excited for dinner!
More work at home. My boss CCs me on an email about me sent privately to her and few others. Her response is amazing and is a virtual mike drop. I appreciate her so much. I do a speedy lunch, ramen and soda. And speedy dressing: same pants as yesterday, sheer burgundy top, teal cardigan, the suede shoes. I finally bring my mug! It’s bigger so less tea trips.
2:00 Meeting with boss and another person our org works closely with. The prep I did is not useful, because the conversation turns in a different direction than expected.
4:15 I get home early and do last minute cleaning. K texted earlier that he should arrive by 6:00.
5:00 I haven’t heard kitty in a while, and get worried. I walk around calling her, and she meows in response, from our master bed. She rushes out once I open the door.
5:45 Finish work and take a shower. Kitty gets many pets in apology for accidenally imprisoning her. I manage to snip two of her nails, but she escapes before I can do the rest. Then the house alarm goes off. K is back! He says the house is chilly – okay I’m not going crazy XD He is skeptical that it’s truly 65 degrees in here and turns on the heat. The cat hides, shy again with K here. I tell him it’s probably his haircut. We unload the rental car and return it.
7:00 Dinner prep. I season the fish and wrap them in aluminum foil for the oven. This time I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and coriander. I chop up mushrooms to roast too.
The fish and veggies end up delicious! I do warn K about the little stomach bones. If we’re sharing one big fish, I split it into fillets and pick out all the bones myself, but we each have our own and I don’t feel like doing it twice. I get all the fish eyes, yum.
9:30 K tells me the news about Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing. A friend also texts me about it a couple of minutes later. I am so sad. She was such an amazing person and inspiring woman. I read an article detailing parts of her life I hadn’t known about before. This makes me even sadder, though.
10:00 We finish the strawberries together. K nods off during Adventure Time. I’m hit with a sense of déjà vu: this happened exactly, early on in our relationship. Sometimes history repeats itself in a cute way. We eventually go up to sleep. My mouth stings as I brush my teeth - the sore on the inside, near my lip, is getting worse. I've been trying not to irritate it too much since it's in an awkward spot, but that's clearly not working.
11:30 I’m still awake reading random things on my phone. So bad. I go to sleep.
Total $42.29
Day 7, Saturday
9:15 am Phone buzzes me awake. Friends confirm the Fall Festival plan.
10:15 I’m still in bed because warm. K offers to turn the heat up, but I’ll be fine. After I wash my face, I can’t find my towel so drip awkwardly over the sink until I remember one on a nearby shelf. K must have grabbed our dirty towels for laundry.
10:30 I put crepes in the oven to defrost. I wish I'd put parchment paper between layers when stacking, because it’s been annoying separating them.
K and I talk about the new health insurance cards, and what appointments I'll make. First will be Planned Parenthood, because I’m on my last pack of pills! The only time I wasn’t covered was the months after college graduation and before my job started. I worried so much that I’d have an accident and be buried in debt. Luckily didn’t happen. I also really appreciate when work pays into insurance, after having to pay the entire premium myself during grad school.
K browses the Nintendo shop and pulls up the Ori sequel. I do want it but think we should wait; $40 seems pricey and we have so many other games we haven’t started or finished. He tells me he did buy Hades on sale since we tend to play these types of games more. I really liked the trailer so glad he did.
11:30 I scroll online while I eat the crepes, watch K play Hades. I love the art, but not sure I’d be good. You battle many enemies, and you have to react fast. We switch and I play! It's challenging but not too much that I feel like I can’t figure it out. At some point, K finds socks on the ground and puts them on me since I’m too busy playing but still complaining about cold feet. Thanks K!
1:45 He reminds me we’re supposed to meet friends at 2:00. Today's outfit: green pleated maxi, a mustard top, and a magenta suede vest with long fringe on the shoulders and edges that reach my calves. One of my favorite statement pieces.
2:15 We find our friends and chat, waiting for the other ones. Apparently the festival was canceled, and instead there’s a small farmers’ market. Now I feel bad having asked them out for this – the cancellation wasn’t mentioned on the official webpage!
Our other friends get here and we check out the market. It smells delicious; there’s one stall with donuts, one with pretzels. K and a couple friends go for donuts. I find the dried bouquets vendor and request two with orange, pink, and purple-blue flowers. They cost $9 each, but K pays since I don’t have cash. We all decide to walk down the main street for fun.
4:00 I stop for $5 bubble tea. I get lavender with traditional bubbles (there are popping ones, but I think those are weird). It's yummy, enough flavor but not so much that I’m eating a candle. K and friends get ice cream, trying the fall flavors. Then we all part ways and go home. Another package at the door, with K’s name on it, but he’s not expecting anything. They’re cool wooden coasters with a laser cut outline of the city we met in! Turns out a friend sent it as a gift.
6:30 Dinner time. K baked chicken with cumin and other seasonings, plus rice and defrosted peas. We watch Adventure Time. It’s interesting to me how adult kids shows can be. There are incredibly sad/disturbing moments that would be completely missed by kids. During episodes I get text alerts from in my siblings' group chat. Adorable pictures of my cute niece, finally smiling instead of looking angry. For the rest of the night, K and I take turns playing Hades. He keeps getting further than me, but I’m not too behind!
9:30 Bed time. We’ll see if I can sleep early tonight.
Total $5.67
Weekly Total $69.97
Food + Drink = $46.89
Home + Health = $23.09
REFLECTION
I think I tend to buy little things during the week. In contrast, K tends to make bigger purchases of many items once or twice a month. It’s nice to see my spending be “normal” again, since for a few months I was spending a lot on furnishings and such. I do want to be better about buying less treats, and resist buying plants (though now that space near the windows is running out, less a problem). The resale market is good for calming my inner shopper. I don't feel like I’m missing out too much, because there’s so much out there that even if I don’t nab this thing, a similar thing will pop up later. So I'm okay being pickier about those purchases.
submitted by Charybdis523 to MoneyDiariesACTIVE

The Definitive Tesla Model 3 Review: Own The Future Today


Tesla Model 3 LR AWD, Cross County Road Trip
After completing a cross-country road trip in my two-year old Tesla Model 3, I fell in love with it all over again and knew I had to write a post about it.
In my opinion, Tesla hasn’t just revolutionized the electrical vehicle (EV) industry, it has reinvented the car, as I will show you in this (highly biased) post.
Whether you’re in the market for a Tesla, are an existing owner or are simply curious about EVs, I hope you’ll get some value from this post.
You’ll see why comparing a Tesla to most cars today is like comparing a smartphone to a flip phone — it’s really that big of a difference.
If you don’t know much about how EVs work, I highly recommend watching this popular 10-minute YouTube video titled How does an Electric Car work? — it’s a bit technical but overall worth a one-time watch to understand why EVs are the future. It’s no surprise the EV market is expected to reach over $800 billion by 2027!
In this post, we’ll take a tour of the following aspects of a Tesla Model 3:
  1. App
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Driving
  5. Charging
  6. Safety
  7. Maintenance
  8. Community
  9. Cost
  10. Improvements
Here we go.

1. App

Before describing the car itself, I want to begin with one of the most convenient aspects of owning a Tesla: the Tesla mobile app. This serves as your primary car key and provides many remote control features.
The mobile app automatically unlocks and locks the Tesla 3 doors using bluetooth — this short-distance, keyless access is extremely convenient because it’s hands-free (e.g. phone in pocket) and eliminates having to carry a physical car key.
Tesla does provide key FOBs but in the two years of owning my car, I’ve only used them for valet parking or as a backup in my wallet, in case my phone dies.
Tesla Mobile App
The Tesla mobile app complements the interior touchscreen by giving you many controls outside the car.
The long list of remote control features include lock/unlock doors/trunks, turning on the climate, control charging, valet mode, honk/flash to locate the car, set speed limit…and more.
You can even use the Summon feature to slowly drive the car in reverse or forward — think remote control toy cars — this can come in handy for water puddles or tight garages.
Other neat features include the ability to send an address to your car from maps apps such as Apple and Google Maps (via the share option). You can even locate where your car is parked using the app.
These types of pragmatic, modern day tech features is what sets Tesla apart from all other car manufacturers.

2. Exterior

The Tesla 3 is a sleek looking four door sedan, which drives like an expensive sports car.
Tesla Model 3 - Exterior, Frunk and Trunk
The doors have unique flush handles that are aerodynamically designed to reduce drag. You’ll have to get used to giving one time instructions to first time users, such as “put the thumb on the fat part of the handle and open with the rest of your hand.“
Tesla 3 comes with two trunks, a conventional rear trunk and an innovative, front trunk (“frunk”).
I find the frunk extremely useful for small bags (e.g. groceries), since the incline keeps the bags from sliding around. I used to get strange looks when I opened the frunk but people seem to be getting used to it, thanks to a growing number of Teslas on the road.
The rear trunk also has lots of room with an additional compartment under the trunk’s floor. You can also fold the rear seats down for longer objects (e.g. skis); I was able to fit a hybrid bicycle in there once.

3. Interior

When people get inside a Tesla 3 for the first time, they are often taken aback by how bare the interior is.
https://preview.redd.it/k1zpvo0ms4y51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=b62a611c636906e381a3503b728a84b3ba2554d8
Then…they slowly begin to get wowed by how many features are packed in the deceptively minimalistic interior.
The Tesla 3 can comfortably seat five people, with heating in all seats. It has more legroom than conventional, internal combustion engine (gasoline) cars, since there’s no transmission hump in EVs.
Tesla Model 3 Minimalist Interior
With the rear seats folded down, there’s enough space to fit a twin size airbed — I have read about people sleeping overnight in their Teslas, at campgrounds.
The Tesla 3 has your basics: seats, air vents, several cup holders, multiple storage compartments, USB and 12v chargers, door locks, and window controls (auto retract for all four windows).
At the center of the front panel is a single, gorgeous 15-inch, extremely responsive, touchscreen to operate everything else (including the glovebox) — essentially your control center.
Touchscreen
Getting used to having everything on a single screen takes only minutes to get comfortable with, since most of us use mobile devices these days, so it’s a familiar feel.
I’ve personally fallen in love with the single touchscreen concept, since it feels like using a tablet (e.g. iPad) and gives the car a more airy feel, without the clutter of knobs you find in most cars.
It’s baffling to me that other car manufacturers haven’t realized the simple fact that consumers love their smartphones, since most cars still have a fragmented instrumentation dashboard.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support helps but it still doesn’t provide an integrated, smartphone-like, user experience (Ux) — imagine if you had part knobs and part touchscreen to operate your smartphone!
Settings
The 15-inch touchscreen provides you access to many features, almost too many to cover in detail in this post, so I’ll list them instead:
  • Speedometer
  • Door lock/unlock
  • Settings (glovebox, lights, locks, display, driving, Full Self-Driving (FSD)/Autopilot, navigation, safety, service, software, etc.)
  • Climate control
  • Wiper control
  • Backup camera
  • Navigation: Everything you can expect from a mapping app, with comprehensive supercharger network support built in. The satellite view is amazingly responsive!
  • Battery level, settings and consumption
  • USB connectivity/charging and 12V charging
  • Objects nearby (cars, trucks, motorcycles, signs, people, traffic lights, lane markings)
  • Dashcam – record video footage on a USB drive using Tesla’s external cameras (see video at the end of this post)
  • Custom driver profiles
  • Manual/automatic garage opener via HomeLink
  • Sentry alarm system
  • Tire pressure
  • Incoming phone calls
  • Seat belt warnings
Netflix - Full Screen
Then…there’s a whole section on the screen dedicated to apps, including:
  • Web browser
  • Calendar (integrated with your phone with auto navigation)
  • Entertainment (with full-screen support) including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Caraoke (with a “C”), Atari arcade games, drawing tool, fullscreen campfire, and more.
With so many entertainment options, you will have to find reasons to get bored on supercharger stops.
The Tesla air vents provide ample control via the touchscreen, with some very cool graphics to change the airflow direction, by “pinching” the air animation.
Climate Control
The steering wheel comes with scrolling wheels that serve multiple purposes, for example controlling the music volume/track, cruise speed, side mirrors, steering column tilt, and soft/hard rebooting the car. It also has a built in sensor to detect whether your hands are on the steering wheel during FSD (see below).
Steering Wheel Controls
Of course, you get all of the above….under a wondrous, panoramic, tinted glass roof that inspires you to daydream in the daytime and stargaze at night.
Tesla Model 3 Glass Roof

4. Driving

The Model 3 is extremely quiet, fun to drive, nimble on turns, and accelerates fast enough to make people’s heartthrob and say “wow!”
Imagine having the acceleration of an expensive sports car with the feel of a golf cart — that’s what driving a Tesla feels like.
As of November 2020, here were the 0 to 60 MPH speeds for the three Tesla 3 models (with the ability to go faster via a paid upgrade):
  • Standard Range Plus: 5.3s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 140 MPH
  • Long Range AWD (my car): 4.2s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 145 MPH
  • Performance: 3.1s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 162 MPH
To begin driving a Tesla 3, you turn it on by putting your foot on the brake pedal and turn it off by putting the car in park — there’s no “cranking” the car on or shifting the gear in park and pressing a STOP button — it’s essentially like turning your smartphone on and off.
Sometimes at a complete stop in my garage or parking spot, I’ll forget to put my car in park before opening the door — but no worries, the car automatically puts it in park for you.
Tesla also automatically engages the emergency brakes, when you park your car. It’s these little conveniences that Tesla has thought of, which make the Tesla so much fun to own.
While parking/reversing (e.g. in a tight garage), it helps to see a readout of exact measurement, and audio/visual warnings, for objects close by.
Tesla Nearby Objects Warning and Backup Camera
When you first use the accelerator pedal on a Tesla 3, it feels like you’re pressing against pure air since it’s so quiet but the highly responsive, induction motor makes it a lot of fun to go from 0 to 60 MPH (4.4s in my car)!
I absolutely love how quiet my Tesla drives. EVs in general are very quiet under 30 MPH, in fact so quiet that many countries will soon require sound emitters in EVs, for pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
Though the Tesla 3 is a sedan, the large battery in the center gives it the weight and low center of gravity, making it more nimble than many sports cars I’ve owned before.
Tesla Model 3 Battery
Single Pedal Driving
One of the coolest features of the Tesla is “single pedal driving” using a technology called Regenerative Braking (Regen for short; see Wikipedia for details).
When you let go of the accelerator, Regen enables your car to slow down rapidly while also charging your battery. My brake usage has reduced by 80% compared to conventional cars. For example, you can have the car slow down quickly for turns or gradually come to a complete halt at stop signs, without having to use the brakes.
Tesla provides an automatic brake HOLD function that enables your car to stay at a complete stop, without you having to keep your foot on the brake (e.g. at a red light). This HOLD feature also automatically engages, when the car slows down to 0 MPH.
The HOLD function complements regenerative braking, since you can let go of the accelerator while approaching a red light and have the car come to a complete stop, without having to use the brake pedal (i.e. single pedal driving).
FSD/Autopilot
If you’ve seen the 2004 movie “I, Robot” starring Will Smith (as Detective Del Spooner), there’s a scene after he crashes a car, when his lieutenant yells this at him: “What is the matter with you? Traffic Ops tells me you’re driving your car manually.”
We are as close to fully autonomous cars, as we've ever been in our lifetime.
There are five levels to autonomous vehicles:
  1. Driver Assistance
  2. Partial Automation
  3. Conditional Automation
  4. High Automation
  5. Full Automation
Tesla currently has Level 2 in its cars but has already demonstrated Level 3, in this popular two-minute YouTube video by Tesla.
However, even just Level 2 FSD is one of the coolest features in the car, since it significantly reduces the driver fatigue.
FSD - Highway (Utah), Night (Tahoe) and Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)
FSD is a suite of features including Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, and others (e.g. Autopark, Traffic and Stop Sign Control).
FSD literally saves you so much driving that, at times, you feel like you’re babysitting the car, by just leaving one hand on the steering wheel with your feet lounging.
I tell friends driving with FSD feels like playing a video game in a comfortable lounge chair, where you have to pay enough attention to not die but you’re enjoying every minute of it.
I use FSD anywhere and everywhere there are visible lane markings, from 25 MPH street to 80 MPH highway, speed zones.
This technology keeps getting better with every software update — I’ve literally seen how it handles so much better over the past year, around things like construction areas.
You can engage just Autopilot (Traffic-Aware Cruise Control) by pressing the cruise control lever fully down once. To engage the full FSD, you press the lever down twice — this activates Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, and Auto Lane Change.
Let’s take a closer look at how FSD works.
According to Tesla’s website, “Eight surround cameras provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength that is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.”
FSD - Cameras, Auto Lane Change
The Auto Lane Change feature is amazing and I absolutely love using it each time! You change lanes by simply giving the turn signal and let your car do the rest; i.e. the car will automatically change lanes, when it’s safe.
While doing my cross-country road trip, I came up with two supplemental terms to Auto Lane Change:
  • Delayed Auto Lane Change: When you know you can’t change lanes due to traffic, you can go ahead and “queue” your lane change request and the Model 3 will change lanes, when safe.
  • Accelerated Auto Lane Change: When you don’t want to wait, so you speed up to create a safe distance between the cars, which triggers Tesla to change lanes.
FSD requires you to have your hands on the steering wheel every 20-30 seconds — I rest my left or right hand on the bottom part of the steering wheel to avoid getting the warnings but I’ve heard of people using their legs, water bottles and other crazy ways to fool Tesla’s FSD into thinking your hands are on the wheel.
I’m a bit embarrassed to be boastful about this but I’ve come to rely so much on FSD that depending on surrounding traffic, I’ll work on my mobile device momentarily (e.g. editing documents, instant messages, quick web browsing). I feel irresponsible and guilty but part of me thinks, this is how we’ll gradually move to FSD…a couple of seconds at a time.
While I absolutely LOVE FSD and use it for 80% of my driving (highway, local), I can’t see a door-to-door FSD till 2022 or later, due to factors including Tesla’s technology, roads (e.g. lane marketings) and legislation.
Tesla’s FSD technology is already phenomenal and getting better rapidly but it has quirks that still gives me (and my family) a scare every now and then — enough for me to pay attention to the road.
You can learn more about Tesla’s FSD technology here: tesla.com/autopilotAI.

5. Charging

One of the things people worry about with fully electric cars is running out of charge — after two years of ownership and a cross-country road trip, I can assure you, this has rarely been a problem for me.
Many of my friends can’t believe I still charge on 120v, after 2 years of owning my car! I realize it’s extremely inefficient but we were considering moving and I just haven’t felt the need for it since I work from home.
120v (Level 1) charges at a pathetic 5 MPH but you can get 50+ miles overnight. 240v (Level 2) chargers charge between 10-50 MPH and direct current faster chargers (Level 3) such as the Tesla’s superchargers, can charge from a couple hundred to 1,000 MPH (using the new V3 Supercharging).

Tesla Supercharger Network and Three Levels of Charging (source: pluglesspower.com)
According to Tesla’s website, as of November 2020, there were 2,000+ Supercharger stations (20,000+ Supercharger outlets) worldwide, with many more coming soon.
Of course, you can always use 3rd party chargers or use the charging cable and adapter that comes with the Tesla. According to Statistica, there were over 24,000 charging stations (with over 78,000 outlets) in the US, as of September 2020.

6. Safety

Tesla cars have the honor of receiving some of the highest safety ratings possible, thanks to their drivepassenger protection (e.g. airbags, rollover, alerts).
For example, here’s a graphic from Tesla’s website, showing all 5-star ratings for a Tesla Model 3, from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Tesla’s NHTSA Rating and Model 3 Airbags
From close by objects in your garage to objects on the highway, Tesla 3 has you covered with alerts.
While driving, Tesla constantly detects surrounding objects and displays them on the touchscreen (e.g. car, trucks, motorcycles, people, stop lights, lane markings). Any endangering aspects will show up in red (e.g. lane changes, passing cars).

7. Maintenance

EVs in general require much less maintenance than internal combustion automobiles. Tesla maintenance comes mostly in the form of software.
Tesla updates the software in the car automatically, every month or so. If you’re new to a Tesla, it takes a little getting used to receiving software updates, similar to your smartphone or computer. Till this day, I find it fascinating that Tesla cars are just as much software (or more), as they are hardware.
Tesla Software Updates and Mobile Service
Tesla is also known to roll out some significant improvements via software updates — something you would expect to take your car in for (e.g. an acceleration boost from 4.4 to 3.9 seconds).
Much of any hardware maintenance can be done via Tesla’s mobile service, where someone comes out to wherever you want. For example, I just had my two-year service done for $192.05, in my driveway (see Tesla’s Car Maintenance page for details) with the following note in the electronic invoice:
“Checked Brake Fluid Brake Fluid at 80% life. Replaced Pair of Wiper Blades. Replaced Cabin Filter. Maintenance Performed Tire Rotation on Passengers side only, Drivers side tires are good where they are right now. Recommend new pass front tire soon.”
All other major services can be handled at one of Tesla’s Service Centers, by scheduling via the mobile app.
In my area, they tend to be booked 2 to 4 weeks out but the service otherwise is courteous and efficient, handled using a combination of SMS texts, in person and email communications and generous UbeLyft credits to get around.
One thing I’ve found to be a pain is when you have a flat tire — the 18″ tires used on a Tesla 3 can be expensive and hard to find, since they have acoustic foam inside them. This was the #1 concern on my mind, while traveling on my cross-country road trip.

8. Community

Unsurprisingly, Tesla has a huge fan base including online social networks, offline clubs, third party apps, and much more. The following are some popular clubs and third-party apps that I’ve come across and/or use regularly.
Clubs
  1. Reddit: Teslamotors, TeslaModel3, TeslaLounge, TeslaCam
  2. Forums: Official Tesla Forums, Tesla Owners Online, Tesla Motors Club, SpeakEV Tesla Model 3
  3. News: Teslarati.com, Electrek, CleanTechnica
Apps
Before my cross-country road trip, I decided to hook up my Tesla account to three northworthy third-party apps that many online EV/Tesla enthusiasts seemed to be recommending:
  1. Teslafi: Logs data for all your drives with amazing detail (e.g. graphs, battery consumption, maps, charging stops).
  2. A Better Route Planner (ABRP): Popular app used for more precise planning based on your EVs model.
  3. Stats: Provides several bells & whistles for Apple mobile devices (iPhone/iPad/Watch); e.g. schedule climate/charging, open doors/trunks via Siri, monitor battery health, and more.
It was a bit nerve-wracking to give my username and password to these apps but once you have an authentication key from one of them, you can use that for the others.
Advanced users with coding skills can use the unofficial Tesla JSON API to obtain an authentication key or use Teslamate, a self-hosted data logger with dashboards for driving, charging, efficiency, drain, stats, and much more.
Once you’re setup with these apps, the amazing data they provide makes the whole process worthwhile, as you can see from some of the screenshots below.
Third Party Tesla Apps
Aftermarket
There are plenty of aftermarket products for Tesla available on various websites. I’ve only purchased two aftermarket products: a Qi wireless phone charger and a spare tire kit by Modern Spare.

9. Cost

As of November 2020, here were the list prices for the three versions of a Tesla Model 3, in the US:
  1. Standard Range Plus: $37,990 (range 263 miles)
  2. Long Range: $46,990 (353 miles)
  3. Performance: $54,990 (315 miles)
FSD costs an extra $10,000.
If you’re considering buying any kind of EV, you can calculate the cost per mile by dividing its list price by its maximum range. For example, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range at a list price of $46,990 and range of 353 miles costs $133/mile, as shown in the below infographic from visualcapitalist.com.
One thing to keep in mind when comparing prices is that Tesla is years ahead of its competition with its innovative technology and supercharger network — something that’s hard to put an exact value on.
Cost of EV Ownership (source: visualcapitalist.com)

10. Improvements

I’ve owned some nice cars in my lifetime but never have I owned a car that I loved driving so much every single day, as much as I have my Tesla Model 3.
Tesla is as close to perfect as a car gets but it can use some tweaks, so here’s a list of flaws and/or wishes:
  1. Alerts: The on screen blind spot warnings aren’t good enough; most people have come to expect something built into the side mirrors.
  2. Wipers: Tesla’s automatic wipers were horrible but since Tesla launched its ‘Deep Rain’ neural network, they have improved over the past year but still remain slightly flaky (e.g. turning on a couple of times when it’s not raining).
  3. Voice: Support for voice commands is weak and nowhere as robust as Apple Siri or Google Assistant, which can be frustrating since I often have to turn to my iPhone (e.g. calling a local restaurant).
  4. Lights: It would be nice to have shortcuts to turn the head/park lights on/off, instead of going into Settings.
  5. Map: Tesla’s map is absolutely amazing but it’s missing waypoints, so you end up having to use something like the ABRP app (discussed above). Also, It would be great to see icons for what’s nearby (e.g. restaurants, service stations), similar to supercharger icons.
  6. FSD: Traffic-Aware Cruise Control is overcautious, e.g. it’ll keep 3 to 6 cars worth of distance versus the 1 car, I have it set at. Also, given the choice between tracking using the left and right lanes, FSD chooses to hug the right side, which is extremely annoying on highways (e.g. merging from on-ramps). Approaching stopped traffic at a red light on a major road can be nerve-wracking since the car waits too long to begin gracefully slowing down, thereby requiring harshefaster braking later. The merging on and off ramp with construction barrels, needs improvement.
  7. Battery: The remaining battery life isn’t 100% accurate to rely on entirely, since it doesn’t take into account leakage, winter weather, winds, etc. It can be nerve-wracking when you think you have 20%, just to find it’s dropped to 15% (and dropping).
  8. Apps: While it was great to be able to hook up third party apps, it would be nice if Tesla officially sanctioned them via some sort of an online marketplace and support for API keys. It would also be cool to add more 3rd party apps support; e.g. Waze, Amazon Prime, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto). Lastly, it takes too long to load the existing apps (e.g. Netflix, YouTube).
  9. Music: The music icon should be indicative of the map feature or the music and maps screens need to be separated. The music portion of the screen allows resizing but blocks the directions, in larger view. The music screen should provide more granular controls for track and display the time for songs (e.g. time left/played). There’s no way to pause/mute the radio on the screen (you have to use the wheel on the steering wheel). Lastly, the Spotify interface is flaky (e.g. long load times, checkmark is confusing).
  10. Tires: I realize many cars nowadays do not include spare tires but it would be nice if Tesla provided third party options on your website, similar to how Apple/Google have marketplaces with reviews, for third party products (e.g. Spare Tire Kit by Modern Spare). Of course, Tesla does offer roadside assistance service.
  11. Superchargers: It would be nice to have a tall, physical Tesla sign at supercharging stops, since it can be hard to find charging stations in places like shopping centers. A nice trick is to zoom in the destination using the satellite view of the map.
  12. Service: It can take from a couple to a few weeks to get a service appointment. I suspect some of the backlog is due to the issues earlier models had. I had one major and a couple of minor issues early on (steering wheel replacement, door hinges), which were covered under factory warranty and addressed quickly by Tesla.
  13. Miscellaneous: Having to reboot occasionally and/or rare black screen. Inside door opening controls can be confusing for first timers, since they look like window controls. Betteadjustable seat headrest that don't stick out so much. Rear windshield wipers to avoid water build up.

Conclusion

As detailed as this review is, I haven’t covered many features, for example Navigate on Autopilot, Autopark, Lane Assist, chime on green traffic light, automatic high beam, driver profiles, and so much more.
Additionally, Tesla continuously delivers features, so it’s not feasible to list everything here. For example, the beta version of the completely rewritten FSD began rolling out in October 2020. For more information on software updates and other great resources, visit tesla.com/support.
In my opinion, Tesla is years ahead of anything comparable on the market currently, thanks to their technology, customer data, supercharger network, battery life, customer service, and more.
Tesla has reinvented the car and thought of so many conveniences (e.g. single pedal driving, auto unlock/lock doors, low maintenance), that it makes it a pleasure to drive and own this car, every single day. Even long distance driving feels more like an enjoyable journey rather than a chore.
If you’re considering buying a Tesla 3, do it. Imagine driving the car of the future, today!
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Thanks for reading! :)

If you still want more...please see the original post for video reviews, more photos and...a work anywhere journey on this road trip.
submitted by startupsidekik to TeslaModel3

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