Spark to Fire: How to get to achieve FIRE

“A spark can become a flame, from a  flame a fire” Kathryn Lasky

Sometimes I think finances is a bit like dieting. You read the guidelines on what you should be doing, follow along for a while and then get inpatient when things don’t happen quickly. This is when we start looking for the “quick fix diet” that will make everything happen really quickly supposedly. In the end we just delay the inevitable and go back to what we should have been doing anyway!



The basic formula for FIRE is based on three principles:


  1. Spend less than you earn
    This one is easier said than done however without this step its going to make the journey to FIRE that bit longer. The best way to do this one is to create a budget and stick to it. Mr Fire and I are having considerable trouble with this one at the moment so we really need to get a grip on it.
    Since I have started tracking our finances I have been really surprised at where our money is going. Every “quick nip to shops” soon adds up. I think we really need to go back to basics with our budget and then see if we can cut down our expenses even further. The key to FIRE is always the dreaded useful savings rate (more on that in future posts). Once the budget is on track then there should naturally be some savings left at the end of each month.

Another key part of this principle is the Emergency Fund. We always seem to have some unexpected expense pop up that tips us over the budgeting edge. An emergency fund is the buffer to stop this meaning you can still put some money away at the end of each month.

2. Invest extra money
Whether this is building up the emergency fund, putting money in savings, Isa’s or investments it is a really important part. Without stashing any extra cash then you are simply on the same path as everyone else i.e working until your past 60 (or even 70 in some cases) I’m worried that since we bought our house we are wiped out savings wise really. Got to get back on track!

3. Pay off and stay out of debt
I’m no debt management expert so if your in debt then do some research. I really like the snowball approach to debt and there are some really good resources out there including free spreadsheets. With debt, its important to have a plan and start to pay off the smallest amount first, when you get rid of that loan you free up some cash to put towards paying of the next loan and so on. Debt is going to suck up your hard earned cash whilst charging you interest for the pleasure. I’ve mentioned it several times that we have a family loan that is always in the grey area of when it should be paid back.


How do you stick to your budget?

10 thoughts on “Spark to Fire: How to get to achieve FIRE

  1. thefijourneyuk

    Good summary LMF. Would you aim to do number 3 – Paying off debt first? Or do you do all 3 at the same time split?

    I stuck to my budget easily nowadays because it’s all on auto pilot and I don’t really think about it. My budget has flexed and moved to get to the sweet spot it’s now at. You have to be realistic about the budget and make it so you don’t feel deprived and then it’s mostly easy, well for me.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris,
      Our debt is a funny one – non consumer and no interest rate. We are actually in the process of putting together our new FI plan in the wake of me stopping working. I think our budget at the moment is too open ended and could be tightened and focused much more. Its on my list of things to do!
      Its fab that your budget is on autopilot. How long did it take you to get to that?


      1. thefijourneyuk

        I got rid of around 7 or 8 regular direct debits in a week or so and then budgeted for everything that was left and needed. I found I was being a little too strict so eased up a little in certain areas. I would say after 3 to 6 months I was mostly on auto-pilot. Since then, I have saved a little extra money by buying in bulk when it comes to things that I use that can last (beans etc). I also look for deals when I want something & I haggle. This has meant by easing up in other areas like increasing ‘Going out’ money, I haven’t really had increased monthly outgoings.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know that there were different ways to pay off debt but apparently, the way I did it was via the ‘avalanche’ method, which was to concentrate on the debt with the highest interest rate. I can see pros and cons for this method vs the snowball method, it just made more sense to me and obviously worked.

    I don’t really have a budget as such to stick to – if I spend too much then I save/invest less, hence I just try to keep my spending down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Weenie,
      That sounds like a really good way to pay off debt! We are lucky we don’t have a “consumer debt” plus we don’t have to pay any interest.
      I used to manage my money like you when I was single. Its good to have that amount of control!


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