A recent report aired on a Fox affiliate channel covered a list of the six purchases that are very unwise to charge to your credit card.
Though intended mainly for entertainment, the report offered some very sound financial advice.
The top six, unwise credit card charges were listed as:
- College Tuition
- A Lavish Wedding
- Plastic Surgery
- Tax Bills
- Luxury Vacations
Some of the expenses listed are probably fairly expected. For example, gambling. It is considered to be fairly common sense that if you intend to embark on a gambling spree, you should set yourself a limit, take only that amount of cash with you and leave all of your credit cards at home.
It has also been fairly well publicized that it is not a good idea to pay tax bills on a credit card as they often incur additional charges on top of the interest charged by the card issuer. A much more sensible idea is to agree to a payment plan with the IRS to settle a large tax bill.
However, for some of the other items on the list, not so long ago nobody would have thought twice about charging them to a credit card. However, more recent advice suggests that it is best to save up for that dream wedding and not begin married life in unmanageable debt, and that unless you can afford to pay off the debt quickly, it is not a great idea to charge college tuition fees to your credit card. A luxury family vacation may create some wonderful memories, but managing the repayments on your credit card can leave lasting financial worries.
Recent changes mean that credit card rates tend to be higher than they were a few years ago when using a credit card for such large items was the norm. Large amounts of credit card debt now have a much greater potential to quickly cripple your personal finances. Secondly, as explained by credit counselor Ruth Mata,
No job is secure right now… Do you have enough money in a savings so that if you lost your job you could take care of the important things like your house, your living expenses, and make that payment?
American consumers have been recognizing these issues over recent years and have begun to adjust credit card use accordingly. All three major credit bureaus have recently reported continued improvements in consumer debt as we learn to use our credit cards much more responsibly.