1. A big tax bill--A tax bill from the IRS could make a taxpayer reach for a credit card. But don't do it. Federal income tax is at the top of the list of things not to pay with a credit card. A large tax bill will make it hard to pay off those credit cards. You'll also pay a processing fee that could be 2 percent or more of the total amount you pay by credit card.
The alternative: The IRS will set up a payment plan at a much lower interest rate than a credit card offers. It's amazing, but the IRS actually charges less interest than anybody else. It's now less than 5 percent.
2. A gambling spree--If you're sitting at a table in Vegas, they make it really easy to get cash with your plastic. But a lot of people don't understand the rates for cash advances are close to 30 percent.
The alternative: If you have a gambling problem, get help. If gambling is more of a hobby, stay away from casinos when you're short on cash and don't play poker online without any betting money.
3. College tuition-It's not smart to finance college tuition on credit cards. Charging tuition on credit cards might make sense only if you know you'll be able to pay it off in full within three months.
The alternative: Put all options on the table, including grants, scholarships, low-interest student loans, a part-time job, attending community college for a few years or attending a less-expensive university. You can also meet with a credit counselor to get some help.
4. Plastic surgery--Pulling out plastic for plastic surgery is a bad idea. It might cost $1,500 each time, but those things can add up. Read the fine print on offers for medical credit cards that offer a zero percent introductory rate. The day you make a payment late, they usually will go back and charge you interest from day one.
The alternative: Save up for it or skip it.
5. A lavish wedding--People get caught up in a wedding and spend more than they imagined. It's not rare to blow your budget and starting off married life by running up debt is a bad idea. When you come home from the honeymoon, you'll face a monster credit card bill and a lot of stress.
The alternative: Scale back and focusing on meaningful, rather than material.
6. A trip for two--It's a bad idea to pay for a vacation with plastic.
The alternative: Start making a monthly payment into a bank account, the reverse of what you'd do if you paid with a card. It feels so much better to pay in cash and not come back from vacation with a credit card hangover.