My short list is easy. I want a good Fender (Not Squire) Stratocaster (Sorry Gibson guys, me included). I have a nice Gibson Les Paul, but I want the Strat sound too. I have my eyes set on a Cherry Sunburst Maple Flame Top, Maple Fret Board, Made in Mexico, Strat. I have $285. saved up in "Guitar Center" gift cards. Someday soon, I'll bite the bullet and spend them to cover part of the costs, but then I need to add a hard-shell case, another good strap, maybe strap locks, and of course a good set-up at my favorite luthier, since I would never trust GC to do the set-up. All of this will probably total over $1,000.
Ok, for all of the "Guitar Center" bashers, I'm not 100% fond of them either, I just started getting GC Gift Cards from my family, a few years ago, and I figure, let them build up with future gifts, Father's Day, Birthday, and Christmas. We have a local GC and its easy for them to go there and get Gift Cards, so I just asked them to continue doing that until I have more value to cover the costs. Not greedy, just can't justify spending money on another guitar, that will be used occasionally, since my 1st love is my Les Paul 🥰. So, since I'm not in too much of a hurry for the Strat, I'll be patient. They can never figure out what to get me, so I make it easy on them and just ask for GC Gift Cards. They insist on getting me gifts anyway, that's the way we are in my family, so why not make the best of it. 🤑
If I was using someone else's Credit Card, as suggested by the OP, I'd go for an American Deluxe Strat with the better body contours, better neck cut-away etc.