How to Freeze Your Credit — Literally!

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You may have heard of freezing your credit, but have you ever heard of freezing your credit card?

If you’re having trouble getting control of your spending, this could be a great first step toward a cash-only lifestyle for you.

How to Freeze Your Credit Card

For years, money expert Clark Howard has recommended a shock therapy kind of approach if you just can’t quit spending — literally freezing your credit card.

Now before you ask, yes, we’ve tested this out before and found that the chip in your card will work even after being frozen and unfrozen again.

If you choose to freeze your credit cards, it can be a powerful first step in getting your spending under control. But first, make sure you’re prepared to move to a cash-only envelope system in your life.

Here’s a step-by-step guide when you’re ready to put the big chill to work in your finances…

Step 1: Take All Your Cards Out of Your Wallet

Step 2: Get Your Water Ready

Step 3: Fill a Freezer Bag With Water

Step 4: Place Card in Bag With Water

Step 5: Place the Bag in a Freezer

freeze your credit card

Step 6: Wait, and Then Examine the Finished Product

frozen credit card

What’s the benefit of taking this extreme step?

The goal is to put some breathing room between you and impulse purchases.

If there is something you decide you want to buy, you can’t run to the store and purchase it immediately — unless you have the cash on hand. That’s because to access your card, you’d need to take that bag out of the freezer and let it thaw for a few hours.

The time it takes to thaw is designed as a buffer zone so you can assess your potential purchase. Is it something you really need? Or is it just something you want?


If you don’t really need the purchase, waiting for your card to thaw will make you think twice before spending the money.

One final thought: You may want to make a note of your credit card number including the CVV on the back just in case you need to do something like unexpectedly book travel in the event of a family emergency.

But if you do that, you must resist the temptation to use those digits for online shopping — or you’ve just defeated the purpose of freezing your card in the first place!

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