This year, we had to put new windows in our house. The original windows in the house made it nearly 30 years and after we replaced a few panes of glass over the last two years, it was time. In my original plan to achieve FIRE, new windows at an $18,000 cost weren’t included. That’s ok though. As part of my annual budget review last year, I knew the windows were coming. As such, I knew it was time to adjust.

How did I adjust to accommodate a large one-time expense? Several ways actually. The first adjustment we made was to cut out the winter family trip. The last few years we’ve escaped the Chicago cold and gone to Florida or Mexico. The Florida trips are a bit more cost effective as we have family there, so lodging is free. Still, windows put a damper on the winter trip this year.

Next up

I reduced our monthly mortgage payment. I was only able to do this because we overpay each month to be mortgage free in six years. For a few months this year, I brought the payment back down to the amount we owe vs. overpaying. To remain on track with being mortgage free, I will either push back the mortgage free date by about four months (still reaching a zero balance within the year I turn 45) or I will take upcoming increases in my pay (incentive base so it fluctuates) and apply that to the mortgage balance.

I left room in the plan for exceptions. I didn’t set my path to FIRE so tight that unforeseen expenses would derail the entire thing. Remember, by staying within a reasonably aggressive expense reduction plan, you still get to experience life…and have flexibility to account for one off hiccups.

keep calm

In thinking

about my journey to FIRE and the steps I follow, adjusting is essential. To narrow the focus on this step, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Panic doesn’t help. When something unexpected comes up, keeping calm and working through scenarios on how to address will help you weather the storm.
  2. Adjustments can be big or small. Accounting for new windows is big. Getting a few hundred-dollar car repair is relatively small. Reasons for adjustments will come in all different sizes.
  3. Do not over adjust. Balance and moderation are key in the pursuit of FIRE. Whenever possible, adjustments should be made in a way that allows you to cover the change without drastically changing your path.
  4. Communicate adjustments. If you are on a journey to FIRE that includes a significant other, make sure you are both informed and weigh in on the adjustments being contemplated.


if adjustments cannot be made to keep you on track with your original goals (and sometimes that happens), it’s time to head back up to steps 1 and 2 so you can better educate yourself based on what you learned and then jump into creating a new plan.

I hesitate to say that’s it but that’s it. If you can follow these six steps and then dive into each to really work through and drive home the details, FIRE can be in your future. Now that you’ve had a chance to read through the six steps I use to achieve FIRE, jump on over to my podcast page so you can get going on step number 1 in on your path to FIRE!

Or, head back to all Six Steps.