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cat in the snow

Planning ahead

I am trying to plan ahead for December. There are no classes and no income the last 3 weeks of December. Most folks are too busy planning for the holidays to be attending classes at that time. They are also diverting their income to gifts and travel expenses, rather than on classes for themselves. The obvious plan is to pay December's rent out of savings, due to the lack of income. But I would like to minimize the need for that and I've decided to start paying for all of December's expenses now, while income is up due to the wedding season.

I have already purchased two massage gift certificates from my massage therapist. So massages are paid for when I want them in December. I think I will also purchase a $200 gift card from Whole Foods, so that food is paid for in December (I'll be out of town some of that month, so I won't be needing much in the way of groceries). And I was thinking of also buying a $50 gift card for gas and setting it aside until December. I will also buy a ticket now, for my December travel plans.

What else can I pay for in advance and set aside for use in December, when there is little to no income?


What can I do to be prepared for December?

Comments

I'd get a Target gift card for stuff you don't remember that you'll need, like soap/shampoo/razors/cough syrup/aspirin/socks/etc.....
I'm opposed to gift cards on a few levels. Can't you just drop the cash in a savings acct?
Yes, this is a much better idea.

Gift cards reduce in value over time and there are other hidden costs that make them worth less than face value unless you use them immediately.

Not to mention the company gets the interest on your money.
I have never heard of reduced value and hidden costs. Washington has laws governing gift certificates, and they are pretty strict. That's why I try to sell as few as possible.
Certificates aren't gift cards.

I'm talking about the cards like from Target or Barnes and Noble that are supposed to be "just like cash", except they are not.
I concur with the above. Keep cash on hand or buy something that's going to save you money. Don't let someone else hold your money for you that's just cheating yourself out of well-deserved interest.
Regarding your poll answer, I don't celebrate christmas. I'm not Christian, so there's no point. But I have family that frowns upon it if I show up in December without gifts for them. So I have to buy gifts for family, whether I celebrate Christmas or not. It keeps the peace.
I have some pretty heavy anxiety associated with taking money out of savings. Plus I get a lot of joy out of building savings. So it's a very anti-joy, anxiety ridden experience to deplete (out of a savings account) what took months to build up. I would like to avoid that experience at all costs. December is stressful enough as it is (with travel and holiday gift buying and all) without that added anxiety.
would it work to open a second checking account and call it your December acct?
I already do this. I have accounts at 3 different banks as a result. I suppose I could open one at a 4th bank and do it again.
pay *too much* on your cable/electric/websites/internet/other utilities now if possible

or

buy one of those gift AmEx cards and pay them with that.
Gift cards can have hidden fees, but usually I never run into them because I just don't keep them that long. If you read the agreements, you will see that usually if the card has not been used within a year, a bit gets deducted each month.

I do the same thing you do, and I save my cards for Decemeber each year. I'd get the ones you mentioned and one that is general, like the AMEX ones listed. But be warned that those generally do have a "loading" fee though of $6 or so. But I have found that my malls (they are Simon malls here) have the lowest loading fees, and if it's a VISA branded card it can be used anywhere, not just at the mall.

I like the Target idea, but wasn't sure if you were more of a local shop supporter. Also, I'd get one to a favorite restaurant, for a treat out with friends.