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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 I really should have withdrawn it before I left the country.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.