It is incredibly and seductively easy to pull your credit card out of your wallet, slide it smoothly through the scanner at the counter, and walk away with a crinkling bag of new goodies.…  It is just way, way too easy. Impulse buying on credit can add up quickly, and can kill your finances. If you’re rapidly sliding down the slippery slope of buying too much on credit, put on the brakes by taking this easy, effective advice. You can stop buying on credit by freezing your own credit on purpose.

Here’s how to literally freeze your credit, making it unavailable for impulse buys that throw you deeper into debt. Get a plastic container, and place your Visa, Master Card, or American Express card(s) in it. Drench the card(s) with water, filling the container full. Securely fasten the lid to the container. Label the vessel with ”Think First.” Open the freezer door, place the offending cards in the back, under the frozen peas, and slam the door shut.

Now, you won’t have that tempting plastic at the ready in your wallet. However, if you really want or need to use it, you can. Now, buying on credit will take time. It will take patience to thaw the card, while you are seriously contemplating whether to use it. This stops your ability to impulsively buy things. You cannot use your charge card unless you think first, and thaw it from its block of ice.

Freezing your own credit is an old trick that protects you from your worst financial self. It stops you from falling deeper into the trap of impulse buying, and fosters more responsible personal financial habits. With your credit card unavailable, use cash. Or, you can still swipe a card at the counter when you shop. Just make sure it is a debit card. Debit cards are not the same as charge cards. Using one will withdraw money you’ve already earned directly from your bank account. Here’s to you, your frozen credit, and your prosperous financial future!

By Sydney Tyler