Savings Report #37 – Swedish Road Trip

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Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.

Another month, another slow upward climb of my finances.

My pre-pension pot is growing quite nicely, almost at that special £100k figure. Although it sucks that £60k of that is in a UK ISA which would be subject to 30% capital gains tax if I ever withdrew it whilst living in Sweden. I really should have withdrawn it before I left the country. It was so difficult to predict whether to withdraw, as if I ever came back to the UK, I would have preferred to leave it in.

It’s really unfair how the Swedish tax system works in this regard. They should just take capital gains for when I moved here, not from when I first deposited. Then I wouldn’t have to battle with the thought, “Should I move back to the UK?” Just to withdraw from my ISA and sell our UK house.

Van Life

We fought against our frugal nature and bought a vehicle. A little compact Renault Kangoo van, 2017 with 80,000 km on the clock. It cost £6700, here’s the reasoning:

We want to explore Sweden whilst we live here. We’re already realising that we probably won’t stay here forever and having a car will mean we can explore more as where we moved to is off the beaten track and public transport isn’t great.

We could rent a car for a reasonable price, around £35 per day. For our next trip, exploring the Swedish West Coast, we’d need a car for 2 weeks, this would cost around £500.

We figured we’d have to rent a car for at least two trips per year, one in the summer, and one for snowboarding in the winter (trains are actually more expensive than renting a car!) That’s at least £1000 per year in car rentals for trips. In addition to that, having a car would actually make our life here a little easier:

  • Being able to shop at the cheaper grocery places and not pay a £5+ home delivery charge.
  • Going to the main shopping centre (15 minutes drive away) without having to pay £7 each to get there and back on the bus.
  • Taking the recycling to the closest bins without having to cycle for 30 minutes with a bike cart.
  • Being able to use the car to go to doctors appointments etc.
  • Small day trips around our area become much easier, certain places turn into a 10 minute drive instead of a 1h, £4 bus trip or a 30 minute up-hill cycle.

The final straw that broke the frugal, car-free, camels back for me was that we wanted to go on a hiking trip to the Swedish High Coast. This trail would take a week and there was no public transport to get there. I really didn’t want to pay £350+ for a rental car that would sit being unused for most of the time whilst we hiked.

So, we’d save £1000+ on trips (and actually go on the trips instead of not wanting to,) and we’d make our life a little easier in the Swedish suburbs. Now why did we choose a fairly expensive compact van?

£500 banger vehicles don’t exist in Sweden, and mechanics are expensive. So one of those car-hacks was out of the question. I also didn’t want to spend £1000-£2000 on a fairly old vehicle that could end up costing a lot with repairs. But then we thought of the car rental app that we had been using, GoMore.

GoMore is like AirBnB for cars and vans, we have used it multiple times to rent a moving van as it was always the cheapest available option. The company provides insurance for the renters and takes a 20% cut of the rental price, the last person we rented a van from said it covered the cost of his van!

So, we bought a vehicle perfectly suited to renting out for picking up furniture or moving. We added roof racks and will buy an add-on trailer. The hope is to be able to rent out the van for at least 5 days per month at around £35 per day. After fee’s and taxes we are hoping this will cover a chunk of the depreciation, repair, and opportunity costs of the vehicle and when considering the reduced holiday costs (by not having to rent a vehicle or catch a train,) may even save us money.

I’ll do a full post once we’ve owned the car for a year!

First Swedish Road Trip

Now that we had our little compact van, there was no excuse to not go on a road trip. We loaded it up with wild-camping gear and headed out to the Swedish west coast.

Sweden really is something, I’ve never seen sights like I did on this trip. Thousands of islands off the coast of cute little fishing villages. Beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters.

We camped on top of rocks by the sea, and by runic burial grounds smattered with wild flowers.

Monthly Round-Up

  • Steam Deck handheld PC
    • The cheapest ever gaming PC, these things look amazing! Mrs SavingNinja pre-ordered one, they will be perfect for when we move again as we’ll be able to bring a gaming PC with us without having to ship a massive PC tower across the country.
  • Vim Adventures
    • A game that helps you learn Vim. I think programming games are the future of learning how to code, you can just play a game and bam you’ve learnt something :]
  • What is the most unforgettable Reddit post that everyone needs to read?
    • Another interesting Reddit super thread full of interesting stories.
  • Google Doodles olympics
    • Have you played this yet? It’s a game that you can play from Google search, it goes waaay beyond Google’s dinosaur game.
  • Allkeysshop
    • Searching for the cheapest game CD key has never been easier! I used to have to look at all of the CD key websites individually, this website aggregates them.
  • Noclip
    • Fly through some of the most iconic game design levels, really interesting if you’re into game development and want to see how to model a game environment.

5 thoughts on “Savings Report #37 – Swedish Road Trip

  1. Those pictures look amazing, glad to see you are fighting against the uber-frugal nature that sometimes holds you back from experiencing life to the fullest 🙂

    And sounds like you may end up in net “profit” anyway so it’s a win win!

    It is strange how we FIRE bloggers tend to feel like we have to validate any spendy purchases to ourselves/readers though isn’t it?

    I played a bit of the Google Olympics game, really good isn’t it!? I’d love a steam deck but the amount of time I’d get to play it would be pointless haha.

    1. I am definitely spending more money. What I’m not writing about though is that I am actually feeling more depressed here, maybe more than ever before. I don’t know if it is actual ‘depression’ but I’ve just been feeling really fed up and shitty every now and again in cycles. Chatting with the wife we think this is due to working from home, never leaving the house, mixed in with a feeling of not striving towards much anymore, or maybe it’s something else? I moaned so much about commuting to London, but now looking back it gave my life a bit of structure, and the grass is always greener thinking about *not* doing that. Mental wellbeing is complicated, I always used to feel ‘fed up’ every now and again in the past but I’d start a new project, get excited, and that was enough. Maybe it’s no longer enough?

      I’ve started a routine now with exercise and meditation again to try and see if it helps. I keep pinning it on wanting to go to America, but I’ll probably get there and feel the same way.

      Yeah, hah, I always have to validate purchases on the blog, but it’s more to myself than anyone else! I used to do this stuff on spreadsheets before SN.

      1. Hi SN,

        This is concerning, but at least you are very self aware about it all which can only be a good thing.

        As you alluded to with your comment about America, you are always looking to the next thing that will alleviate these feelings you have but it will almost certainly never be enough. You need to somehow learn to be happy with where you are and what you have, while also striving for more as well. Easier said than done though!

        Meditation etc sounds like a great start. Good luck with it and you know where I am if you need to talk in more depth on PM

  2. Hi Saving ninja,

    Having followed your journey for sometime now (since 2019), I was shocked to find out that you had also moved to Sweden just before I did. However, I’m currently further down south, Göteborg. My Swedish partner and I quit our jobs in Manchester (before Brexit came into full force) and moved to Sweden. I’m enjoying reading your monthly updates as you traverse the Swedish culture, you’re certainly not alone.

    I’m also in a similar scenario to you regarding UK savings (ISA). My partner recently spoke to Skatteverket to discuss my options. If I sell my UK shares I am liable for tax within the UK and Sweden. Sweden want 30% capital gains of any profits made (only) and this would need to be declared during the 2022 tax returns. Therefore if tax is paid to the UK, this can be offset against the 30% that I am required to pay to Sweden. All in all it doesn’t seem to bad as the 30% only applies to profits made. Nobody wants to pay the tax authority. However, when comparing the Swedish stock market against the UK market, It appears to be far more consistent over here. Therefore the better option may be for me to sell up and invest it within Sweden.

    anyway you are always welcome to drop me an email.

    All the best,

    1. Hi Nick,

      I’m honoured you’ve been with me since 2019 🙂

      Amazing that we moved here at a similar time! The west coast of Sweden is so beautiful, I do like that the water isn’t as salty in the east coast though, much easier to swim without feeling all dry.

      The UK ISA is tax free, even if you leave the UK, so you shouldn’t need to pay any UK tax. But yes, you’ll definitely have to pay tax to Skatteverket. I challenge your point about investing in Sweden, my investment policy is to invest in a world tracked index fund, get a little bit of everything in your portfolio – you don’t want to be tied to a single country. I found a good index fund available to Swedish investors called Länsförsäkringar Global Indexnära which seems to be similar to my previous fund: Vanguard FTSE all-world index.

      Let me know if you’re ever around the Stockholm area!

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