Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

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Mindfulness

4 Things You Should Never Charge on Your Credit Card

tax bill

Image via Flickr by Ken Teegardin

by Joe Fortunato

Credit cards may seem like a golden opportunity to some: get that big, expensive thing now and pay it off over time. And they are a great way to build credit if used responsibly. But as magical as they may seem, there are some things you should never put on the plastic.

Tax Bills

When you get a bill from the IRS, the urge to pay it quickly can send you reaching for your credit card. But before you charge it, take a step back and do a little research. Though you may worry about late fees and penalties if you don’t pay your tax bill at once, you actually have better options than putting it all on a credit card. The IRS offers payment plans that have far lower interest rates than your credit card. If you need to pay your bill off a little at a time, these plans are a much cheaper way to go.

Vacations

We all like to live it up on vacation. While it may seem like a good idea to charge those drinks and that hotel room, it can actually wind up costing you big time. Vacation expenses can mount quickly, and your credit card’s interest rates can make them cost much more than what your receipt reads. If you’re aiming for that luxury vacation, the best plan is to save until you can afford to pay for the entire thing out-of-pocket.

Weddings

Everyone wants a perfect wedding day, and it’s tempting to use your credit card to splurge on that pricey dress or caterer. But under a mountain of debt is not the best place to start a marriage. So the very first stages of your planning must include evaluating your finances and setting a budget you can afford without getting yourselves in trouble. Then find ways you can stay under it; the cash you saved will go a long way toward things you’ll need in your married life, like a house down payment and homeowners insurance.

Medical Bills

Medical expenses, especially without insurance, are daunting. And medical bills seem like a far more responsible charge to put on your credit card than frivolous things like clothes or restaurant tabs. But really, you could be putting yourself into a financial hole. As with other large expenses on this list, interest rates and penalties mean it could take you years to pay off that hospital bill. And there are other options. Many hospitals offer payment plans and sliding scale fees, so you can adjust your payments to what you need without paying as much interest as your card charges.

Credit cards may seem like the best way to pay off a large bill over time, but fees and interest rates mean they are not always the most financially responsible way to go. Before whipping out the plastic, explore your options so you can find a payment plan that not only gets the bill taken care of, but keeps more money in your wallet.

About the Author

Joe Fortunato is a freelance writer from Tampa, Florida. He enjoys learning about new subjects, following his Baltimore Orioles, and traveling the country for fishing. You can find Joe on Twitter at @joey_fort.

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
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