Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.
The stock markets had a bit of a resurgence, although they’ll probably drop again next month. I passed £200k net worth. But all of this reporting is getting a bit mundane, don’t you think?
It was a little more exciting when I was contributing more heavily and seeing my stash grow by huge amounts each month, but now it almost feels like observing a wave coming in and out, or reporting the weather. But it’s worse because I don’t track the markets, I have no idea why they’re going up or down, I just look at my numbers like a good passive investor, so there’s not much I can say other than, “Looks like they’ve gone up again this month.”
I do enjoy writing my journal entries each month though, so I don’t want to stop these monthly ‘reports,’ although I might skip the financial commentary unless something spectacular happens from now on, but still upload the above financial snapshot image.
We Own Two Houses
“We own property in multiple countries.” Sounds posh, eh?
We’ve effectively moved ‘out to the sticks’ in Sweden, about 1 hour north of Stockholm. This is fine for me as I’m now fully remote, but it’s a bit of a nightmare for Mrs SavingNinja as she has to get 3 busses into work. She’ll be trying to switch careers into something which she can eventually do remotely this year. If she’s successful, we’ll be truly untethered from a single location and we can pick our perfect spot in the world.
The location we’ve moved to is really beautiful, all of our neighbours own multi-million pound mansions with their own private jetties, as theFIREstarter said to me, I have to be careful not to fall into the trap of ‘keeping up with the Johanssons!’
I feel like we’ve bought a shed in their back garden.
We feel happy here, but I seem to always have the feeling of impending doom deep in my gut, maybe this is just my natural state?
Here’s how the first week went…
We rented a van for 2 days to move out of our Stockholm apartment and do some big shops. The move went well but it was a mad rush to do everything as we also purchased SEVENTY bags of soil and a bunch of wood to make our raised beds, we haven’t put them up yet… We’re thinking our maths must have been wrong, surely we don’t need this much!?
They’re now sitting outside of the house waiting for better weather
We built a compost bin out of pallets that we found on our street.
We don’t plan on paying the £50 per month to have our bins collected. Especially because this doesn’t even include recycling, we have to take all of our cardboard, plastic, metal, glass etc to a recycling centre no matter what (it’s crazy there is no service!)
So, we came up with the brilliant plan of recycling all of our food waste into this compost bin, Mrs SavingNinja did a lot of research before moving here and we’ll hopefully be fine. We plan on throwing some things down the toilet, like stuff picked up from the hoover and left over cat food, but all food waste and cardboard will go into the compost and everything else will be recycled. If there is a small amount of waste we just can’t get rid of, Mrs SavingNinja is going to have to take it into work in a small bag to dispose of secretly!
Side Note: All of our neighbours must think we’re crazy-green people as we’re the only people in the association of 12 houses without a car or bin collection. Little do they know that we’re just tight frugal.
Our big IKEA order arrived with our bed (we’d been sleeping on the floor up until this point,) sofa, kitchen table, one storage unit, and some other bits. We spent most of the day assembling.
This produced another side-affect; a lot of cardboard and plastic. We decided to take our first trip to the ’local’ recycling ‘centre.’ We filled up a box and a couple of IKEA bags and started walking, after getting past the two neighbours that offered to take it for us whilst giving us weird looks, we were on our way!
The Swedish authority recycling map said it was a 10 minute walk away, which it was, ish. But there was another problem, the map had failed to tell us that it was only a ‘centre’ for cardboard… And it was already full and overflowing. Ahhhh…
The closest center which takes all recycling is a 30 minute walk away.
This kinda sucks, I thought we were living in a green country? They don’t have any service to collect recycling and they just expect you to own a car?
We stuffed the cardboard into this one bin as much as we could and hauled everything else back to the house.
We purchased a…£100…bike trailer (cheapest we found,) for online delivery which should come in a week’s time. Hopefully this will make our recycling problem more bearable as it cuts the 30 minute walk into an 8 minute cycle, which isn’t too bad. If we have to get a car I’m going to be sad.
Organising the house, trying to put some clothes away in our one set of drawers, we also built a small shed behind the house to put tools etc. in.
We bought the bricks and shed when we had our van!
This was also the day we had our first ‘association’ meeting. Nothing prepared me for how weird this would be. There are 12 new build properties on this plot and we’re all part of an ‘association’ so we pay about £180 per month to a pot to cover the grounds, buildings, and other things of all 12 properties, kind of like ground rent in the UK for a flat, but all 12 families manage it themselves through meetings.
The estate agent told me that we’d be able to do anything that we liked to the garden as long as it isn’t permanent, e.g. make raised beds, put sheds up, as long as there is no concrete foundation. But in this meeting everyone was asking permission for everything, apparently you need permission from the local authorities (and the association) to even extend your decking. We’d already built a huge compost bin on our garden boundary by this point, and bought the materials for 4, rather large, raised beds.
We didn’t say anything, and we’re hoping we can just ask for forgiveness afterwards. It’s going to get pretty hairy if they say we need to ask for permission.
What followed was them deciding on a colour we should all conform to for awnings. And then deciding on what specific building numbers to get and saying everyone needs to buy them with their own money, after shooting down a couple who had already bought their house numbers and saying that they’re too hard to see. It seems they want us all to be identical clones.
This isn’t really the type of people we are… We want to be alone in the woods, not involved in all of this politics which seems to be happening in just the first meeting.
Thursday And Friday
We spent the last two days of our week off on making another IKEA order and continued organising. We still had a lot of furniture we needed to get and we wanted to make sure we got it right as it’s impossible to return anything without renting a car.
What Have We Learnt?
Life is actually really hard without a car. It’s harder when you’re not in a city, and when you’re in Sweden.
Hopefully it will get a little better after we have settled in and fallen into a natural groove.
But this was always our half-way house, we’ll spend the next 2-3 years planning our next adventure whilst hopefully not getting too annoyed by the associations ‘rules.’ It’s a beautiful place, but not quite what we want long-term. The point of buying was to stop spending the ludicrous £1500 rent in Stockholm. The mortgage interest and bills only amount to around £500 between us here, at the cost of ’locking in’ our decision for at least a couple of years.
I think it was the correct move, even if we have to get a car!
- Life is a Picture
- Wait But Why
- I really enjoyed this post, I need to investigate the Ted Talk that he linked to as I certainly would benefit from more investigation into the happiness topic! It describes perfectly the notion of ‘The Grass is Always Greener’ and how most people feel this way, and it’s described in a humorous Wait But Why way.
- Here’s the Ted Talk: The surprising science of happiness
- Living a FI update
- Really honest and raw post about how Living a FI’s life went after he retired 5 years ago. A sobering read which a lot of us FIRE-types would benefit from, life isn’t static.