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10 Items Under $10 You Should Always Use Your Credit Card to Pay For

July 14, 2014
Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Admit it: You sometimes feel silly paying for a small purchase with your credit card. After all, it just doesn’t seem sensible to use plastic for a $2 coffee or a $5 magazine.

But the truth is that there are 10 purchases under $10 that you should always use your credit card to pay for. Check out our list below for more details; if you can think of others, let us know in the comments below!

1. Your daily latte

There are lots of credit cards out there that give extra rewards points for dollars spent on dining out, and many people mistakenly believe that only sit-down establishments count. But usually, any purchase from a retailer coded as a restaurant will score you extra rewards – this normally includes coffee shops and fast-food joints in addition to fine dining. If you’re paying for your daily coffee in cash, you might be missing out!

2. Meals while you’re traveling for work

Grabbing a bagel or a sandwich while you’re on your way to an out-of-town business meeting might not seem like the right time to swipe. But if you plan to expense those meals, you should. Keeping track of receipts can be difficult, so just in case you lose one, having a credit card statement to fall back on is helpful.

3. Taxi fare

If you have a card that provides extra rewards on travel, there’s a good chance that taxis count as a travel purchase. Check your specific card’s terms and conditions, but again, don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn extra points or miles!

4. Chewing gum/candy

Chewing gum and candy are the ultimate impulse purchases. If you’re using cash, it’s easy to forget about them. But if you pay with credit, you’ll be confronted with your mindless spending every time you review your monthly statement. This is a good way to hold yourself accountable!

5. Home office supplies

If you work from home, make sure that the staplers and paperclips you’re purchasing for work are going on a credit card. Since these expenses may be tax deductible, you’ll want a record (in addition to the receipts) of your spending.

6. Your daily newspaper

“Newspaper” is really just a stand-in for any small purchase you regularly make. All of these spends should go on your card because the rewards you’ll earn on them will really add up over time.

7. Music downloads

Using a credit card for music downloads is preferable over using debit. If you accidentally purchase songs that you don’t want with a debit, the money will immediately disappear from your checking account and you’ll have to wait to get it back. With a credit card, no funds are deducted from your bank account and the process for getting a refund couldn’t be smoother.

8. Medical co-pays

A doctor’s office is a busy place, so sometimes there’s confusion about whether you’ve paid your co-pay or not. Putting it on a credit card will guarantee that you have proof of payment; this strategy has worked more than once for one of the Nerds!

9. Parking meter payments

If you have the option to pay with your credit card at a parking meter, you should. This way, you’ll have enough to pay for the amount of time you need without having to root around for change. There’s nothing worse than getting hit with a $50 parking ticket because you couldn’t find a spare quarter!

10. Recurring monthly subscriptions

If you’ve gotten hit with a charge for a recurring subscription you thought you canceled, going through your credit card company’s dispute channels might get it reversed. In fact, one issuer is even piloting a program to alert customers to these types of charges. This is just one more reason credit is the Nerds’ plastic of choice!

» MORE: Why nearly every purchase should be on a credit card

Using credit card image via Shutterstock