Most people have a credit card in their wallet, whether they’ve maxed it out, use it religiously, or are just hanging onto it for emergencies. Even more plentiful are credit cards that are no longer active and are just wasting space around the house. While credit cards can obviously enable you to go out and spend, the plastic itself can serve many useful functions. Here are 10 things you can do with a credit card that don’t involve racking up more debt.
When you’re putting on a screen protector or wall decal, what’s the one thing that can make the job look a total mess? Air bubbles. To get rid of them and make your application nice and smooth, use any side of your credit card to gently swipe away the bubbles. Using a credit cards works better than using the flimsy applicators that often come with wall decals and screen protectors because its stronger, but still very flexible.
2. Clean Up Stickers
If you have kids, or roommates who have a love for juvenile arts and crafts, you’ve no doubt had to deal with trying to get stickers off the floors, walls, appliances, furniture, and just about everything else. Credit cards word fabulously as tools to clean up sticker messes. Use any side of your credit card to scrape against the edge of a sticker. It will start peeling up and soon you’ll be able to take it off the surface. You can also use credit cards to get up the residue left by stickers. Hint: moisten the residue with a bit of water or rubbing alcohol before scraping to make it even easier to clean up.
3. Handy Bookmark
You’ll obviously want to use an expired credit card for this — unless you like to live dangerously — but credit cards make awesome bookmarks. Simply enjoy your book or novel, slip the credit card in between the pages when your reading session is done, and voila: no more dog-eared pages or flimsy bookmarks that easily get lost.
4. Scrape Ice
People who live in cold climates or drive during the winter should have an ice scrapper, but who ever actually has one on hand when it’s needed? If you don’t have an ice scraper but you do have a credit card, use it to rid your car’s windshield of ice. It’ll work on your front and rear windshields, side mirrors, and windows. Plus, because credit cards are so lightweight and flexible, this method won’t scratch your paint or leave marks on the glass.
5. A Baking Aid
Just as you can scrape ice off a windshield, you can use a credit card to scrape up dough while you’re baking. Seriously. First, use a credit card that’s no longer active and make sure you clean it well with a mix of baking soda and vinegar, dish soap, or by laying it in a shallow bowl that has a thin layer of hydrogen peroxide in it. Once the card is clean, store it with your baking supplies and pull it out when you’re making bread, pie, or pizza dough. It can also be used to cut a log of cookies. Credit cards work amazingly well as baking aids and are every bit as functional as the bench scrappers you can buy from the store.
6. Shave Cheese
Here’s another culinary use for your old credit cards: as a hard cheese shaver. Again, make sure the card has been thoroughly cleaned — you don’t want to use the card that you just swiped to buy your groceries or the one that’s been hanging in your wallet for this task. Put the side of the card with raised numbers facing up and hold it at a 45 degree angle against the cheese. Quickly shave your card against the cheese and you’ll get small pieces perfect for topping spaghetti, lasagna, or just enjoying with a glass of wine. Don’t try this with soft cheeses or those with a medium density — only hard cheese such as Asiago and Parmesan will work.
7. Letter Opener
Actual letter openers can be dangerously sharp, and the paper cuts gained from opening a letter with your fingers are so annoying. Instead of going through that hassle, use your credit card to open letters. It doesn’t even have to be an expired one, any card will do. Just pull it out of your pocket, give a quick swipe, and you’ll be reading your mail without any pain.
Just as you can use your credit card to open mail, you can use it to open boxes without pulling out a knife, scissors, or box cutter. It’s best to use an expired credit card for this hack. Use a nail file or sandpaper with a fine grit to get just one edge of the card sharpened. After carefully wiping or blowing away any residual dust, use the card to open just about any box. Shipping boxes, moving boxes, and even product packaging will be no match for your newly fashioned tool.
9. Attractive Labels
If you’ve ever browsed Pinterest and thought, “Those label makers sure do make nice labels”, but then you looked up the price of said label makers and thought, “I’ll pass. But, goodness, I wish I had some nice name labels”, this credit card hack is for you. Simply cut your name off your expired credit cards and glue it onto whatever you want labeled. For a less permanent fix, use strong double sided tape that’s been cut down. Now you’ll have some nice labels that are free and can be used on everything from your stapler to your pens. They also work well as mini bookplates.
10. Oral Hygiene
The thing that really causes bad breath is the bacteria that’s on your tongue — but how many people actually own a tongue scraper? Use a sanitized, expired or inactive credit card just for this purpose. While you can cut it down to better fit your tongue, you’ll risk leaving sharp edges that can be very painful. It’s best to just use one of the short edges of your card to gently scrape your tongue. Be sure to clean it off after each use and safely store it just as you would your toothbrush.
These clever credit card hacks will allow you to use your cards without raising your balances or buying more things that you don’t need. Get creative, and you’re sure to find more uses for your credit cards.