It’s OK to use your credit card and NOT feel guilty

by Kristina on August 15, 2013 · 11 comments

Good morning Dinks.  I know that everyday some of us experience the same money dilemma – should I or shouldn’t I use my credit card for my purchases.  There are several benefits to using your credit card for every purchase such as collecting rewards point and earning cash back.  However there are also downsides to using your credit card for purchases such as not keeping track of your spending and spending more on your credit card than you can afford to pay off.

Keeping a balance on your credit card leads to all kinds of trouble – trust me I know from a firsthand experience – such as expensive interest charges, a lower credit score and monthly payments that can be better spent on something else.

So let me ask you a question Dinks, when is it OK to use your credit card?

There are two main reasons why I use my credit card, the first is if I don’t have any cash on me and the second is if my credit card offers added benefits such as an extended warranty.  I like to book my travel accommodations on my credit card because I get extra benefits such as trip delay protection insurance, baggage loss insurance coverage and trip cancellation coverage.

I usually don’t charge everyday purchases such as my groceries and clothing on my credit card because it doesn’t help me budget and stay within my spending limits.  I am a reformed super-spender so even though I should charge everything onto my credit card to earn travel points, I don’t because never ever want to be in debt again.

Do you and your spouse set credit card rules?

If you have a joint credit card you may not charge a lot of purchases on your credit card because your spouse will see them.  One year I purchased NBA tickets for my boyfriend as a Christmas gift and I charged them onto our credit card.  I didn’t think it would be a problem because he rarely checks our credit card statement because he keeps a running tally of what he spends each month.  However, for a reason unknown, that month he did check the credit card bill and unfortunately he discovered his gift two weeks before Christmas.  We had fun at the game just the same, but the surprise was ruined.

Some couples set spending limits and reasons why they will spend money on their credit cards. I have friends who set a couple’s rule that they can only charge couple’s expenses on their joint credit card.  All personal expenses must be charged on a personal credit card or paid in cash.  This limits the liability of each spouse in case the other decides to spend uncontrollably on their credit card.

I think that setting credit card spending rules is a little bit harsh, but it can also be a good way to keep peace and harmony in the couple if you have experience money troubles in the past.  However, setting spending rules, especially credit spending limits, seems that each spouse is protecting their liabilities in case of a divorce.  Maybe I am being crazy, or maybe every couple needs to set down spending rules.

What do you think – can limiting spending bring a couple closer together or tear them apart?

Photo by StormKatt

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 No Waste August 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

Our household frugality runs deep, so there are rarely surprise expenses.

Research shows that money starts most fights, I think? So I’m leaning toward tearing them apart, just based on that alone.

But, we use the card for EVERYTHING because of the cash back bonus at the end of the year.

2 Pat at Feeling Financial August 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

No matter what you decide (to set limits or not) I think just talking about it is a good idea. Setting spending limits does sound kind of restrictive, or not much fun, but if it keeps you from getting upset, then why not. It probably depends, and I really don’t know the answer because we haven’t opened a joint card together. I’d like to think that constant communication could help a couple figure out (over time) how everybody’s comfortable using the card.

3 Jake @ Common Cents Wealth August 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

My wife and I use our rewards credit card all of the time. We just make sure that A) the purchases fit in our budget and B) we have the money to pay off the credit card at all times. As long as we follow both of these, why not get the rewards?

4 John S @ Frugal Rules August 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

We use our cards all the time, assuming it’s within our budget, to earn rewards points. We’re on the same page financially speaking so we don’t deal with any surprises.

5 Kristina August 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I know that a lot of people use their rewards cards for all of their purchases and then pay off the balance each month. That’s a great idea because you earn rewards points a lot faster, unfortunately with my troubled financial past I can’t trust myself to be financially responsible and spend within my budget.

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