20 purchases to avoid making with your credit card

SpaAmerican Public Media's Marketplace recently asked the author of "Credit Card Nation" to help put together a list of 10 purchases to avoid making with a credit card.

It's no secret that our purchasing histories are carefully watched by credit card-issuing banks, not only for opportunities to inspire us to spend more, but for early warning signs that we might be in financial distress.

Marketplace's list of 10 things to not pay for on credit:

  1. Traffic tickets
  2. Retreading tires
  3. Bargain binges
  4. Sex toys
  5. Marriage counseling
  6. Lottery tickets
  7. Cash advances
  8. Spa treatments and other personal indulgences
  9. Income taxes
  10. Alcohol

The reasons should be obvious. Some expenditures, such as retreading, show that your pocketbook is empty. Others demonstrate that your personal life is in flux, such as marriage counseling. Yet others suggest you're not making the best use of your money, by using credit for things such as spa treatments and mixed drinks.

Of course, this list is hardly comprehensive. I'm sure you could think of dozens more purchases that should not go on your credit card. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking you shouldn't use your credit card to pay for

  1. Medical marijuana bongs
  2. Spray-on hair
  3. "I ♥ my convict" T-shirts
  4. NAMBLA fund raising auction bids
  5. The "Free Bernie Madoff" fund
  6. Three seats on a return flight from The Biggest Loser
  7. A bankruptcy lawyer
  8. Al Qaeda membership dues
  9. Koala Bear steaks
  10. The David Carradine suite at the Nai Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok

Just keep in mind that every purchase you make is a clue to your true nature. If your true nature doesn't look too good in the light of day? Pay cash.


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