When You Should Use Your Credit Card and When You Should Not

Follow these credit card tips to find out the best way to stay out of debt, pay for your monthly expenses in your budget, and still gain rewards.

Credit cards aren’t bad. Your spending habits are. We’ve been told that using credit cards is basically a cardinal sin. But there are times when using a credit card makes sense. I know that I will “accidentally” go on a Sephora shopping spree or buy too many cocktails when I go out. But these are not the times that I’m talking about. It is perfectly acceptable to use your credit card for monthly expenses that you cannot avoid and expenses where you will receive reward points.

Again, do not pull out your credit card every time you pass Starbucks. You want to use your credit card for your regular, monthly expenses. Pull out your credit card if you are paying for these expenses.

Dos

  1. Gas

    If you live in the amazing United States of America, you will most likely drive your car pretty much everywhere. You will need gas basically on a weekly basis more or less. I use my Discover It card because I earn 2% cash back on up $1,000 each quarter. Effectively, that means I’m getting a discount on my gas. Yes, it’s tiny. But saving say $20 on gas a year is still incredible when you think about the the fact that you didn’t do anything for it and you would’ve had to buy it anyways.

  2. Groceries

    We all need to eat. This is just a fact of life. Food is one of the most predictable expenses and is in everyone’s budget (Learn How To Lower Your Grocery Budget). If you know that your food budget is $50 a week, like mine, when you go to the grocery store you need to only charge $50 on your card. If you want to get Ben & Jerry’s and it doesn’t fit into your budget, pull out cash or a debit card and pay for it It’s then a treat, not in your monthly budget. Unless you had the foresight to create a food splurge budget, and then you can charge that Ben & Jerry’s onto the credit card. The point is that you only want to charge food included in your total food budget on your credit card, and nothing else.

  3. Monthly Subscriptions

Your Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, or news subscription come like clockwork every month. You know what date its being charged on and have included these guilty pleasures into your budget. As we know, in today’s world, entertainment is basically a human right. Because you have it in your budget and normally these are small expenses, charge it to your credit card to gain some points. Your likely not going to go in horrible credit card debt with a $10 charge a month that you already budgeted so swipe that credit card.

Now, there are also monthly expenses that you should never charge on your credit card. Here are some:

Dont’s

  1. Rent

  2. Utilities

  3. Car Payment

  4. Insurance

What do all of these expenses have in common? You will likely have to pay a fee for using your credit card.

If you don’t have to pay a fee, then definitely use your credit card. These expenses are already budgeted out so you should have the cash for them. You can gain reward points in the form of cash back or travel points, and you will actually make money from paying your everyday expenses.

Pro tip: if you decide to put a large expense on your credit card, such as your rent, then you should charge it and literally make a cash payment on your credit card that very same day so that you have the peace of mind knowing that your balance isn’t ginormous and you still reap the benefits.

But a fee will likely be higher than the rewards that you’d would receive, so it doesn’t make sense.

Remember this golden rule: you shall not use your credit card for items not in your budget. With this rule in mind, you will never go into crippling credit card debt.

What expenses do you currently charge on your credit card? Don’t be shy. Comment below.

This post contains content this is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Please read my Disclaimer for more information.

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