Now that Tesla has some varied Model 3 inventory available, you may be able to find what you want without having to "build" your car. Prior to accessing the automaker's online configurator to build your new Model 3, check out the online listing of available inventory vehicles. Perhaps you'll be able to find one that suits your needs and budget.
Generally, ordering a Tesla requires configuring the vehicle online. Once you've made your choices and placed your order, the automaker then moves forward with manufacturing and delivering your car. The process may be quick or lengthy, depending on which model you choose, as well as what "trim" and options you pick.
After Tesla's huge third- and fourth-quarter push in the U.S. in 2018, Model 3 inventory was very low. Then, the automaker began building most cars for overseas markets. The focus on selling vehicles in North America took a back seat. Toward the end of the quarter, Tesla resumed building as many cars as possible for the U.S. market. Now, some of these cars are available as inventory models.
If you choose one of the inventory Model 3s, you could get your car delivered in a matter of days. However, this means you have to "settle" for what's available, while other people are choosing new configurations, colors, trims, etc. Still, it's surely worth keeping your eyes on the inventory, since something that you desire might pop up. Even better, there's always a chance Tesla will offer some type of "deal" on the car, especially if it has some miles on it.
This situation has been in place for the Model S and Model X for some time. In addition, Tesla offers used S and X vehicles on its site. Down the road, one would think you'll be able to buy a used Model 3 through the automaker as well.
For now, you can view the current Model 3 inventory here.