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Substituting credit for cash
The rationale: You're between paychecks -- or jobs -- and your cash flow is clogged. Or maybe you just prefer the convenience of whipping out the plastic.
The rebuttal: Form a habit of making everyday purchases like groceries, gasoline and restaurant meals on credit, and you could still be paying off those debts long after you've consumed the goods. It's one of the top credit card blunders on consumer credit counselor Lisa Ray's list.
Ray, a former financial education specialist for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, now known as Clearpoint, suggests using a debit card instead if convenience is your goal, but make sure you keep up with your spending.
"It doesn't help to use the debit card if you end up getting overage fees because you're not tracking your purchases," Ray says.
Other experts say that if you're constantly using credit cards because you find yourself low on cash, it's time to make some lifestyle changes.