According to TransUnion, over 196 million people had credit cards at the end of 2021. It’s no wonder credit cards remain a popular payment method. You can buy goods and services even if you do not have enough money in your bank account. You can repay credit card debt over time and get goods and services immediately. Consumers use credit cards for many purchases, but should you also use a credit card to buy groceries? Some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a credit card to buy food are discussed below.
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Benefits of buying groceries with a credit card
Some credit cards give you cashback on groceries and other purchases. Cashback and points can add up and help you afford other expenses in the future. You should not use a credit card solely for cashback and points, but saving a few dollars on every trip to the grocery store can help in the long run.
Pull out your credit card, and you’re ready to pay. You don’t have to dig through your wallet to locate spare change. You may not bring enough money to the grocery store to cover the purchase, or your checking account may not have enough remaining funds. You will have to lighten the load at that moment, which can lead to the wrong decisions. A credit card lets you escape both scenarios and simplify the transaction.
Easy to track spending
Credit card transactions show up in your account, making it easier to track your spending. If you pay with cash, you have to remember each expense and write them down as they happen. Your credit card statements are in a central hub where you can access historical records for free. You can track spending patterns and get insights from your credit card issuer about how you use your money.
Can help you build credit
Payment history is the most important credit-scoring category, making up 35% of your total score. The credit bureaus monitor your credit history and know when you make on-time payments. These on-time payments will strengthen your credit score over time.
Drawbacks of buying groceries with a credit card
You may be tempted to overspend
A cash-only approach establishes a budget. You can’t stretch beyond the money in your wallet. Consumers can maintain budgets with credit cards, but it takes more willpower. You can spend an extra $5 or $10 to buy something extra without any immediate repercussions. This mentality can make it difficult to stick with a budget even when you walk out of the grocery store.
You may end up paying more with interest
Paying with a credit card avoids immediate headaches at the cash register, but snowballing debt can increase your grocery bill. Credit cards have double-digit interest rates, and the longer you let them accrue, the more you will pay in the long run. Many people only make the minimum payment on their credit cards. While minimum payments strengthen your cash reserves and can help during an emergency, they allow credit card debt to accumulate. If the debt continues growing, you’ll pay far more for the groceries you bought a few months ago.
You could hurt your credit
Credit bureaus reward consumers who make on-time payments. People who use their credit cards to buy groceries can increase their scores by paying for everything on time. But these same credit bureaus will lower your score if you fall behind on payments. Your credit score tells lenders how effectively you manage debt. If you cannot keep up with grocery bills on your credit card, lenders may feel reluctant to offer you a loan. Hurting your credit will increase your cost of living between higher interest rates and fewer financing opportunities.
What should I use my credit card for?
Using your credit card can simplify your finances and provide numerous perks if you pay the debt on time and don’t let it snowball. You can use your credit card for various purchases, such as the following:
- Online shopping
- Business investments
- Miscellaneous purchases
Should I use my credit card for everything?
You can’t use your credit card for everything. Some expenses in your budget, such as your mortgage or rent, require cash in your bank account. Credit cards work best for financially responsible spenders. You can decide against using your credit card on some expense categories where you have overspent in the past.
Best way to use a credit card
The best way to use your credit card is to only spend what you can quickly pay back. This approach helps you maximize rewards while minimizing costs. Credit cardholders can avoid interest payments, late fees and other costs by paying their balances before the deadline. Following this approach will improve your credit score and help you qualify for better loans.
Use your credit card responsibility to strengthen your financial health
When you use a credit card responsibly, you can get more perks and better loan offers. Paying off your credit card on time will impress lenders and credit bureaus. By only spending what you can repay, you will put yourself in a good position to raise your credit score and obtain rewards.
Is it bad to buy food with a credit card?
Buying food with a credit card is only bad if you have a habit of overspending. If you make on-time payments, your credit score will improve.
What happens if I don’t use my credit card?
Some credit card issuers revoke points, miles, and other rewards if you become inactive. The credit card company can close your account after six months.
How often do you have to use a credit card?
Using your credit card once a quarter will be enough to keep your account open. You can have one monthly subscription on your credit card and not have to worry about your account becoming inactive.