“I couldn’t afford it, so I just put it on my credit card,” is the comment I just read on a social media post after someone I am acquainted with posted a photo of a new pair of fab shoes she just bought. Someone commented on the photo with a snarky comment about how she declined an invitation to dinner a few nights before because she was broke until she got paid, but then she posted new shoes. This was her response. I’m not going to lie; I choked on my coffee a little. I couldn’t believe what I’d just read.
For one, who discusses their financial life and the state of their bank account on social media? It’s no one’s business at all, and it’s a little tacky, in my opinion. Secondly, who is perfectly aware that she is broke yet continues to buy things left and right using her credit card? Thirdly, well, it was just annoying to me that people continue to be so careless and then complain when they realize they’re unhappy where they are.
All I could think when I read this is that some people just have so much nerve and cannot make a good decision if the good decision knocked on their front door let itself in. It seems like a pretty simple concept to me that you can actually just pay for things with cash, or use your card to pay them and then pay that bill off in full at the end of each month.
There is nothing wrong with that. If you are in that habit then by all means, put whatever you want on the card, get the points or miles or whatever it is you earn and pay that bill at the end of the month. If you’re not paying that card off, however, you might not want to finance just anything with your credit card.
There are just some things that you should never put on a credit card. I thought perhaps some people might not know that; or perhaps they just need a gentle reminder. If you do, here are the things you should probably never put on your credit card.
Anything you cannot afford
Hey, that’s a good general rule of thumb and kind of makes the rest of this article pointless. If you cannot afford something with cash, don’t buy it. it’s really that simple; don’t buy it.
One of the worst things to put on a credit card is furniture. Perhaps you want to apply for that furniture store card, think again. Those things have some of the most outrageous interest rates imaginable. You might get free financing for a few months, but I guarantee you’ll end up with the kind of interest rate that is more suited to someone with awful credit than not when that grace period is over. Additionally, who keeps furniture long enough to finance it, anyway?
No, no, and no. Cars depreciate at a ridiculous rate (um, the 30 seconds it takes to get out of the parking lot of the dealership?) and it’s not a good idea. If you don’t pay it off right away, you’re going to be paying it off for a very long time. Who wants to finance a car on their credit card and spent the next 20 years paying for it, even when you’re not driving it anymore?
I know that weddings are beautiful, special days. I had my own beautiful, special wedding day more than 11 years ago. We spent two years planning so we could pay cash. We knew we did not want to see our marriage start in debt paying for a party for the next several years. And not to be a Debbie downer, but what happens if it doesn’t work out and you’re stuck paying for a wedding and the interest on it when you’re in the process of paying for a divorce?
Anything you’re financing
Listen, we want you to live the life you want and that you have worked hard for, but you don’t want to live that life in debt. Anything that you put on your credit card and do not pay off right away is entirely too expensive. You might think you have to buy those shoes because they are half off the regular price, but the longer you take to pay them off the faster they add up to about full price – or more. If you want to buy something you cannot pay cash for while you have a new card with no interest for a year, go ahead; just remember to actually pay it off before that year is over and that interest adds right up.