Want To Quit Using Credit Cards? Put Them On Ice!

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2011-06-0723

Want to pay off credit card debt quickly? First, stop incurring new debt. I suggest ways to make that happen!

When you start to become worried about your debt, it’s harder to keep calm and relaxed. But here’s an idea: how about taking the suggestion of keeping cool much more literally? Here’s how you can stay cool and fight your debt at the same time: handle some ice! It may be a good time to try this experiment, which one blogging colleague tried out a few days ago. He thought he’d literally freeze his credit card, and see why it’s such a popular suggestion among debt fighters everywhere!

Stop Using Credit Cards By Putting Your Cards On Ice!

Okay, so do the our credit cards really deserve this treatment? Kevin from Credit Shout came up with this video demonstrating his card freezing exercise. Is it effective? I’m not sure. You’re going to have to keep your credit card in the freezer to have it remain encased in ice indefinitely. I would tend to do something easier: like shred my cards, for instance.

stop using credit cards, card on ice

I guess if you’re not really intending to throw out your credit card, and just want to temporarily render it unusable while you talk yourself out of the most recent impulse purchase that’s got you preoccupied, then the icing / freezing process may be worth the effort. Or else, have someone you trust hide your credit card somewhere. But be careful! If you’re looking to get your card back later, convincing your spouse to hand it back may prove harder than just waiting for ice to melt away!

Crazy Ways To Destroy A Card You No Longer Want

If you want to make a strong statement about your debt and your card, there are certainly other memorable and symbolic methods you can do, beyond the ice. For example, you can take this guy’s lead and opt for one of six insane ways to do it: via blowtorch, sulfuric acid, angle grinder, fireworks, a shotgun, and my favorite — liquid nitrogen! Check out his crazy demonstrations below:

Now lest you think these are rather silly exercises, let me remind you that not long ago, a couple of companies in the lending field sponsored a card shredding contest. It may seem ironic that these companies (Lending Club and PerkStreet Financial) were involved, given that they belong to the lending industry, but the truth is, they offer products that could be better alternatives to higher interest rate cards. I quite liked this entry they had, which won second place.

You don’t need to go this far though — all you need is a pair of scissors or a paper shredder to do the job; albeit you won’t have the satisfaction of dispatching your card in such a symbolic or grand manner. Still, for practicality’s (and safety’s!) sake, as well as the convenience, I’ll be sticking to my trusty shredder in lieu of stunts like these!

Created July 29, 2009. Updated June 7, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Manshu July 30, 2009 at 4:37 am

Doesn’t freezing the credit card damage it? If you keep it like that for very long, will it work after that?

Atlanta Civil Engineer July 30, 2009 at 4:43 am

Amen to that!

jason July 30, 2009 at 7:33 am

The credit card in the photo above is a Capital One card, isn’t it, ha-ha? I’ve got one just like that. Except, I don’t need to freeze mine since it’s managed well.

Scott Lovingood July 30, 2009 at 9:33 am

Freezing prevents you from spending on impulse but not from using it entirely. A credit card can be useful. Many people get into trouble with them because they don’t manage and control them.

Freezing also plays a psychological role in that you know your card is available but hard to get too. Every decision to spend now has to be thought out to determine if it is worth the work and time to unfreeze the card.

Properly managed a credit card is just like any other tool. It can do wonderful things like help you track spending, summarize your taxes, itemize for projects, etc. Used incorrectly it can damage your credit, dig you into a deep hole, consume years of your life paying it off, etc. Just like a chainsaw cuts down trees, carves really cool bears out of wood but can also be used in terrifying murder movies and cut you deeply when you aren’t paying attention to it.

Treat them with respect, learn to use and control them. Though you could use the ice cube it forms to have a nice drink every night and then shop away on late night infomercials. Haha

Craig July 30, 2009 at 10:32 am

Good technique if you can’t control your CC spending but you should just use them responsibly. I know easier said than done for some but still should be the goal, not to completely stop using them all together.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 30, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I am actually “pro credit cards”. That is, I like using them; I can’t imagine being without cards, actually. I guess this post was for those who do want to stop themselves from overusing their cards. And if you ever need to get rid of an old one because it’s expired, there’s always the shredder and those various other crazy ways to do the deed. :)

Howard July 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I have my credit card number memorized, so unfortunately this wouldn’t be much of a help to me…

Mouli Cohen July 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I hear frozen credit cards make great mojitos!

Live for Improvement July 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I still like my version of credit card restraint better called “Defacing your Credit Card.”

It’s basically where you write embarasing phrases on you card with a sharpie so every time you buy something the store clerk sees it and laughs at you.

-Dan Malone-

Pdowlin July 31, 2009 at 9:38 am

by this way i can just damage my credit card. i hope we can freeze money which is in that credit card… lol!!! when i first saw the picture of credit card freeze in the ice i started laughing not only me anyone will start laughing by seeing this. well its a unique post. well done..

johan July 31, 2009 at 4:37 pm

wow … nice try

Goran Web Design August 1, 2009 at 4:46 am

Literally putting the freeze on your credit card…hmm, I can see merit in this in the sense that you’ll have to wait for it to thaw, which will definitely give you time to mull over what you’re about to use the card for. Definitely one way to cool off impulse buying! Literally!

Meaghan August 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I know someone who froze their card and it helped them. Sure, freezing it doesn’t make it impossible to use (all you need is the number to use it online), but the big gesture of freezing the card was a symbol of her new plan to think first and make wise spending decisions.

Chandler August 23, 2009 at 11:38 am

Great advice for those who tend to cling to credit cards. If nothing else, it’d be a great deal of fun destroying one in those ways.

Cash September 9, 2009 at 7:26 am

Same thing can be done with cash. I put a few hundred in a plastic tube, cap the ends and freeze the whole thing in a block of ice. It gives me emergency money in a safe place that I can’t/won’t break into for impulse buys. Obviously, a well managed bank account is best….this is simply for emergencies.

Silicon Valley Blogger September 9, 2009 at 7:59 am

@Cash,
That’s the most creative thing I’ve heard in a while. :) Yeah, that works! Seems like a lot of work to keep it away from your prying hands though….!

SB (One cent at a time) June 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Is this post written for a person with average IQ and lower income earner? People having both qualities will neither shred it nor freeze it, but profit from it. Profit from the rewards points. At least people I know off, know how to use their card.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm

@SB,
Not everyone loves cards, especially those who have a lot of debt, so to answer your question, this article is written for those who have to take better control of their financial situation. Sure, cards are great to use if you can absolutely be certain that you don’t fall into the debt trap in the process.

Adam June 8, 2011 at 8:37 am

Amen. As of this morning the national debt was $14.4 trillion, and growing. Perhaps we should put our collective brain power into finding a workable solution to this huge problem, without sacking our children, and grandchildren. It’s all going to come crashing down, unless we get our act together and solve it.

Mr.Choice June 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

This can help all of us to freeze bad credit cards which can cause consumers’ debts to increase sharply.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

@Adam,
If your card has enslaved you, it’s time to cut the umbilical cord! Fiscal discipline is hard work, but you can get used to it. It comes more naturally to some people than others, so if you aren’t one of the “lucky” ones with the “frugal gene”, then you’ll have to recognize the problem and work harder at it. But the first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem in the first place (which is the case with any kind of vice).

@Mr.Choice,
Your statement did not seem to make a whole lot of sense. Did you mean that freezing cards would cause a collective decrease in consumer debt? I suppose that’s what you meant….

Graham Lutz - One Thousand a Month June 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Who cares if it messes up your cards!! The point is to not use them!

Amy Saves June 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

I just cut them up into tiny pieces!

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