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5 Things to Include in your 2017 Budget
Old 12-16-2016, 09:07 AM   #1
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5 Things to Include in your 2017 Budget

I agree with 4 of the 5 (I enjoy travel, but I don't enjoy the high cost)

As 2016 comes to a close, people begin prepping for 2017 with new goals, to-do lists, and updated budgets. While itís great to cut back the spending and save, there are a few items that you should include in your budget that will actually make your life better.


Travel is one investment thatís always worthwhile. Life is too short to keep your wanderlust on hold. This year, incorporate a great road trip or destination vacation into your 2017 budget. First, pick a location and book your travel accommodations. This gives you something to look forward to during the mundane work weeks and can even improve your creativity. When your vacation date arrives, set out, explore the city, photograph like crazy, eat great food, and come home happier and filled with rich experiences.


Adding a furry friend to your home can provide several benefits. When you have a pet, you have an automatic best friend. Pets teach you how to take care of someone besides yourself and give you unconditional love. Owning a pet can also make you healthier; studies show that people with pets generally have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. Pets will make your life infinitely better in 2017.


Education is an ongoing process. Just because youíve received your diploma doesnít mean you have finished your education. This year, allot a portion of your budget for a class. Sign up for a language or art course at your local community college, take a dance or fitness class at a nearby recreation center, or learn a new skill like Photoshop or Excel. Find something that interests you and sign up to learn in 2017. Itíll expand your interests, make you more marketable and give you something to discuss at parties.

High Tech Home

Because we live in a tech-driven world, itís only fitting that we begin to outfit our homes with smart features that can be controlled via smart phone or tablet. This year, consider investing in home automation features that allow you to remotely control everything from your thermostat, sprinklers, and lights to your coffee maker and blinds. Investing in tech saves you time, keeps you organized, and can even help you save money.


Losing weight and staying fit are among the top three New Yearís resolutions people make each year. Accomplish this goal once and for all and invest in a gym membership, fitness classes, or home-workout equipment. While all of these require an upfront cost, the long-term benefits are clear. Living a healthy lifestyle can lengthen your life, decrease stress, and increase energyómaking you safer and happier in 2017.

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Old 12-16-2016, 09:28 AM   #2
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0 for 5 for me.

I can adjust my house's thermostat with my smart phone...that's about the extent of "high tech" housing. I already have a home gym complete with power cage, weights, and a treadmill, so that's already covered.

I had pets in the past, but now I'm too busy and my schedule is too erratic to own a pet. Plus, I like a pet hair free house. Travel and education are also low on my priority list.

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Old 12-16-2016, 09:30 AM   #3
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Other than fitness, I don't have any desire to spend money on these things. I have averaged about $1100/year on fitness so far in retirement. But, I pretty much expected that because I am constantly battling a pretty bad overweight problem so I can't just ignore fitness expenses (which include Weight Watchers, the gym, equipment for my home gym, various gizmos like my Fitbit and HRM, and so much more).

Travel - - really? You all know how much I dislike travel.

Pets - - I don't have a pet because I'm not ready for the responsibility. The vet bills are frightful. But the worst part is that they die before we do and break our hearts. I have a teddy bear instead.

Education - - Seriously? From pre-school on I spent 28 years in school. After all that I ended up with a B.A., B.S.E.E., M.S., Ph.D, A.B.D, and various certifications. All of these are in science/engineering areas. I can't seem to go through a day without looking for (and finding) new things to learn and I don't see the need any more formal education. The author/source of your quote (where is it from, by the way?) might be surprised to discover that I actually use the internet for more than browsing porn.

High Tech Home - - My home is fine as is, thank-you-very-much. In the unlikely event that I should see any upgrades that I would even casually like, I'll get right on it. But meanwhile, it is already pretty high tech in all of the ways that matter to me.

Really, the expense that I have had to add to my retirement budget is dental work, which seems to be much more expensive now than it was when I was younger. I love my dental implants but they weren't cheap.

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Old 12-16-2016, 09:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I agree with 4 of the 5 (I enjoy travel, but I don't enjoy the high cost)
If you can easily afford travel and enjoy it, why does the high cost matter?

Pets - no way. When my 21 year old cat passed away, we decided that was it. It sure made travel easier.

Education - hmmm, I'm learning stuff all the time, but I don't need it formalized or to take courses. I like hands-on experience that I get from enjoying nature outdoors and travel. I did invest in some podcast language classes last year (this is part of travel for me) and may seek more with Skype. So there is that. Oh tc and I don't care about my "marketability". Retired over 16 years, I think that ship has done sailed.

High tech home - actually, we are both techies but don't feel the need to do any more automation of the home than we already have.

Same with fitness - we already have a good set of equipment, videos, access to a community gym which we rarely use because outdoor exercise and what we have in the house is usually sufficient.

So that leaves: Travel! for us.

Travel, food, some computer upgrades likely. Maybe some (not high tech) home enhancements.
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Old 12-16-2016, 09:51 AM   #5
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1. Travel. Yep, that will be our big expense in 2017.

2. Pets. Nope. We enjoy taking care of the neighbors' cats while they're away, but that's all the responsibility we're inclined to take on at this point. Totally agree w W2R.

3. Education. Meh. Again on board w W2R on this. I gots my Ph.D., thanks, and these days I enjoy the occasional free online class on finance or somesuch.

4. Hi Tech Home. Oh, give me a break.

5. Fitness. I had to chuckle at the "accomplish this once and for all" by "investing" in home work-out equipment, gym memberships ... yuh huh. Takes more than just buying stuff to get and stay fit (my obese SIL used her fancy in-home gym equipment to hang her laundry on). My fitness investments include good hiking shoes and the occasional bike repair.
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Old 12-16-2016, 09:57 AM   #6
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Travel is definitely in my 2017 budget, and fitness should be. But if I am travelling, who would look after my pets? No, I don't want to clean up after pets, either. Like W2R, I have had my fill of formal education (only 3 degrees though) and, while I love to learn, I take free courses and read a lot. Not a big budget item. I don't need a high tech home. What I do need is some new patio furniture!
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
If you can easily afford travel and enjoy it, why does the high cost matter.
1) I can't help but think of the things and less expensive experiences that money could be used for.
2) Fortunately I've been most places in the world I'd like to see. However, DW hasn't so a little selfish on my part. So when she suggests a trip, I never try to dissuade her.
3) We can afford it on paper, but we probably have 30+ years left in retirement, so none of us will really know if what we could afford until the end. We make educated guesses. I'm inclined to spend conservatively early on, maybe get bolder when I'm older.

That said, all this is personal preferences. Simply something to think about IMO, not meant as a universal Rx...
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
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Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:23 AM   #8
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0 for 5 here, too.

I live in a studio apartment in a large co-op complex. No room for a gym equipment, not that I want to buy any. I hated gym as a kid, have no interest in it ever since.

Can't own pets, not that I'd want to (I do like cats, though). Travel? After all those years of commuting (and that minor fiasco on Amtrak in 2014), I have no desire to travel beyond my annual 4-hour car trip to my brother's house every year.

High-tech home? In a studio apartment? You're kidding me! Education? I had enough of that after college 30+ years ago and a year of actuarial exam review courses. I take a defensive driver course every 3 years to reduce my car insurance rates, that's plenty for me.

My spending is just about zilch in these 5 categories, a big reason I was able to ER 8 years ago.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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Old 12-16-2016, 10:37 AM   #9
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If we actually did a budget (which maybe we now should?), we are 1 for 5, given the nominal spending necessary for the fifth one.

Travel: Retiring 7/31, This then will be > 50% of our spending. So basically this is the budget.

Pets: inconsistent with first category if traveling by air to other countries and regions for long stretches. We'll get back to this in 2037 or so.

Education: Duolingo is free, as are a host of online courses. Nonetheless, someday after 2017, we may buy local courses once the traveling slows down--or, heaven forbid, we decide that we don't like traveling after all!

High Tech Home: Security concerns versus minimal additional convenience....

Fitness: Still need to buy a squat rack to finish out the free-weight portion of the basement, so yeah, a tiny purchase here.
OMY * 3 2ish Done 7.28.17
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:41 AM   #10
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1 YUP minimum 5 weeks a year plus 6 months as snowbirds
2 Last of pets died after 18 years in June. Taking a break for more easy travel. Still miss him though!
3 Study topics of interest on the internet
4 Our tech has gotten simpler. No longer home theater with maze of speakers. Streaming replaces DVDs. Apps on iPhone replaces devices.
5 Walking hiking and biking
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:43 AM   #11
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So, one should get pets to leave inside a high-tech home while one travels via an educational cruise that offers plenty of food, so that one can subsequently spend on fitness too. Hurry, the economy needs more stimulating!
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:44 AM   #12
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Can't agree with all of it.

  • Travel - Nope. DW loves to travel. I go along, but only out of love for her. Would vastly prefer to sleep in my own bed every night.
  • Pets - Yep. We have two dogs already. I love having dogs, although they do complicate DW's travel plans.
  • Education - Both no and yes. Got to a point in my career where I am not interested in further degrees or certificates in that field. But I agree with Audreyh1 that we are still learning all the time. Only now it's in an arena I pursue for enjoyment rather than for j*b advancement.
  • High tech home - Preposterously overrated. Maybe I'm the only person on earth who thinks that controlling lawn sprinklers from a smartphone is silly. If so, I'm content to be the lone Fool on the Hill.
  • Fitness - Winner of the Water is Wet award. Every one already knows about the benefits of exercise. And every year, millions of people resolve to exercise more. January sees the gym stuffed with New Year's Resolutionaries, 97% of whom have disappeared by February. I'd like to see the data which showed buying that elliptical had any meaningful correlation with improving one's fitness.
Perhaps a better budget addition for most ER wannabes would be the "pay yourself first" one.
Paying it forward is the best investment.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:03 AM   #13
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Travel: Retiring 3/31, then have 5 trips planned between 7 and 19 days each.

Pets: Wouldn't think of living without a Westie.

Education: Considering a photography workshop in the Hocking Hills.

High Tech Home: not so much

Fitness: Walk 2 miles almost every day.
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." John Muir
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:04 AM   #14
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Pets - We always had a cat or two. The last one died in March at age 20. We are leaving open the option to have a cat again, or maybe a dog. But for now I'm enjoying not having to keep track of another beings poop and hair.

DH has taken over the bird feeding and I bet that's more costly than a cat. He buys sunflower seed, another seed mix, assorted suet cakes and unsalted peanuts in a 20 lb bag for the blue jays. He restocks weekly or so. I enjoy the bird activity and they take care of their own poop.

I know we are ok money wise because we still support a large assortment of birds without blinking an eye.
Married, both 64. DH retired June, 2010. I have a pleasant little part time job.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:12 AM   #15
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It doesn't look like this list will have much impact on my budget. Travel is probably the only item which involves $. And there' only about 3-4 trips involving about 20 days.
Pets - no. Education - learn everyday, sometimes costly but hard to budget. High Tech - no thanks. Fitness - a good pair of walking shoes and free weights, excellent for health and miniscule cost.
Just plodding along on Dividends/Interest, SS and a small pension.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:14 AM   #16
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I'm not pushing much high tech out around the house but I agree with the other four.
1) Leaving on a bike trip to Costa Rica in a couple of months. Plans in place for the beach this summer.
2) Two Goldens are a cornerstone of our household.
3) Taking two Coursera online course now. But I have zero interest in paying for or enrolling in a course for credit.
5) Biking, weights, walking plus the occasional water skiing, snorkeling, and SCUBA.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:45 AM   #17
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For me:

1) Travel - like to get away from time to time, but not regularly like regular vacations

2) Pets - I believe in pets. Unconditional love works both ways. Yet, do see why some folks don't have pets.

3) Education - must admit, I'm a slacker when comes to this . My extent of education is watching the news and reading articles and education Youtube over the internet. My education today was going to the dentist and reading "People" magazine and thinking "What, George Clooney's marriage is on the rocks? Who knew?"

4) High Tech Home - I've always liked tech, but the older I get the more I think, to an extent. I kinda don't like the idea of having needing to see what's in my fridge by referring to an app on my phone. That's where we seem headed.

5) Fitness - Yes, trying my best to stay healthy. Not hitting the gym, looking in the mirror healthy but staying away of things like diabetes.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:01 PM   #18
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Travel - Yeah!

Pets - I would love to have another kitty after ours died. DW says no, as caring for even a cat would interfere with our freedom to travel, or just to go up to our 2nd home.

Education - I read a lot. How does that cost a lot of money?

High Tech Home - You've got to be kidding. What more do I need beyond garden watering and pool pump on timers?

Fitness - How does that cost money? We walk for miles when we toured European cities. At home, we have a lot of activities. Cost: nothing.
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:20 PM   #19
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I'll be retiring in September 2017 and then getting my home ready to put on the market and relocate in 2018. My 2017 budget will include:

1) Travel - Short road trips around the Southwest before I move to the Northwest. Telluride, Mesa Verde, and other parts of southern Colorado, Bisbee, Tucson, Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon, etc.

2) Pets - I'm down to one 14 year old cat and getting her to the Northwest will be part of my budget. No way I can travel with her in a car for several days. It will have to be the non-stop flight to Portland followed by a four hour drive. Maybe use a service.

3) Education - I plan to take some New Mexican cooking classes before I leave the state. My chile recipes are okay but could use some tweaking. Green chile can be shipped to Oregon every year.

4) High Tech Home - Not much interest. My laptops are nearing 10 years old and need replacement so will be looking into that. Am considering getting a cellular phone if I am going to be on road trips - I'm a Luddite.

5) Fitness - Need to work on this but don't expect to join a gym.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:53 PM   #20
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I'm planning to retire in 2017. Retirement activities in these categories:

Travel- Occasional 4 to 7 day trips around the Northwest including some camping to minimize costs. One 4 to 6 week warm up trip to the desert southwest in winter.

Pets- Have an older dog and close friends are happy to care for him when we travel. Probably won't get another pet when he's gone.

Education-Do it yourself skills and cooking skills to stretch the retirement budget farther.

High tech. home-I'm mainly interested in trying some alternative energy like PV panels as a hobby thing and supplemental source of energy.

Fitness-Fortunate to live in an area with lakes, hiking trails and various other outdoor activities along with a fairly mild climate for the north country.

"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means." Calvin Coolidge
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