15 things you can do with a credit card besides buy stuff

Smart Uses for Credit Cards
Smart Uses for Credit Cards

Almost everyone has a credit or debit card. They're just small pieces of plastic that help us pay for things. Or are they? Aside from their obvious use — paying for stuff — credit cards can be incredibly handy in other ways, too. Here are 15 different uses for plastic that may have never even crossed your mind.

1. Open a Door

Okay, we've all seen it in movies and TV shows, but does it work? If you lock yourself out of the house, can you actually open the door with a credit card? Well, yes and no. If the door is on a deadbolt, you're out of luck. But if it's a simple spring latch, you simply push the card between the door and the doorjamb, and wiggle a little. It's a good hack if you ever lock yourself out and only have your wallet on you.

2. Make a Tongue Scraper

They say that bad breath is often caused by the bacteria on your tongue. You can do your best to get rid of it with a toothbrush, or buy an expensive tongue cleaning tool. But why not just grab an old credit card? Wash it thoroughly, then cut it into a shape that will fit nicely on the tongue, making sure not to leave any sharp edges. The flexible plastic is perfect for removing bacteria.

3. Apply Wall Filler and Putty

A good putty knife can set you back $10–$15. You can buy cheap plastic ones for a few bucks, or you can take out an old credit card and use that. It's a good size to handle, the plastic is flexible, and you don't even need to bother cleaning it when you're done.

4. Make Strong Collar Stays

Collar stays go missing quickly. They often fall out in the wash or at the dry cleaners. Or, you remove them yourself before washing, only to misplace them. Well, credit cards are the perfect thickness and size to make several collar stays, and they'll be stronger than the originals. Simply use an existing collar stay as a template to cut around, or buy yourself a collar stay punch.

5. Scrape Your Icy Windshield

If you live in the kind of climate that is constantly changing (Colorado, for example...sunny one day, snowing the next), you may not always have an ice scraper close at hand. But, you'll almost certainly have a credit card. Grab one, and use it to scrape the ice from your windshield, windows, and even mirrors. It's small and flexible, and won't scratch the paint.

6. A Simple Bookmark

Don't dog-ear the pages of your book. Instead, take out an old credit card and use that. The straight edge is also handy for helping you keep your place. Of course, don't use anything other than an expired card, especially if it's a library book and you return it with your card tucked between the pages. You can also cut a V-shape in the card, and it will slip over a page and protrude from the book.

7. Create Luggage Tags

If you travel a lot, you know the importance of a sturdy luggage tag. But they can be expensive, and often go missing. Instead of forking out for replacements, create your own. You'll need an expired credit card, and a couple of business cards. Firmly glue the business cards to the front and back of the credit card, trim the excess, then wrap in some clear packing tape. Now, punch a hole in the top, and attach it to your case. It will last years.

8. Create a Smartphone Stand

In need of a quick phone stand? Take out a pair of scissors and an old credit card, and with a few sly cuts, you can get the job done. Needless to say, they're quick and easy to make, and cost nothing more than an old credit card.

9. Grate Hard Cheese

Yeah, right. Actually, that was my reaction, until a friend of mine did it. It won't work on soft or even medium density cheeses, but the hard Italian cheeses like Parmesan and Romano are perfect for this life hack. Using the side of the credit card with the raised numbers and letters, rub quickly against the cheese. It will come away in small pieces, just as if you were using a cheese grater.

10. Make Guitar Picks

If you play guitar, you will go through guitar picks like a new parent goes through baby wipes. They always seem to get lost, no matter how many you buy. Well, use old credit cards to make your own. You can use a guitar pick to trace the shape, or if you want, splash out on a pick punch. They're cheap, and make life very easy.

11. Label Your Stuff

Your credit cards all have one thing in common — your name. So, instead of throwing out old cards, first cut out the section containing your name. Now, you can affix that to whatever you want, be it a tool, a pen, a phone, or anything else, using some double-sided tape. It will stay put until you peel it off. You could also use glue if you want a more permanent solution.

12. Apply a Screen Protector

If you've ever bought one of those clear plastic screen protectors (and please do if you haven't, they can save you a fortune), you'll notice that they often come with a small plastic applicator. In fact, it's very small, and often inconveniently fiddly. Don't bother using it. Instead, grab your credit card. The strong, flexible plastic removes all the bubbles way more quickly and easily than the standard applicator that comes with the kit.

13. Keep Your Earbuds Organized

How often does it happen to you? It's time to workout and you go to grab the ear buds from the drawer. You spend the next 10 minutes trying to detangle them. Well, a credit card can make this little problem disappear. All it requires is a little skillful cutting and about seven minutes of your time.

14. Open Boxes

No need for a box cutter or sharp knife. Take an expired credit card and sharpen one edge slightly using sandpaper or a nail file. You can keep it handy in a wallet or purse and will always have a slim, handy box opener available. It slices easily through box tape, and isn't as dangerous as a knife.

15. Make a Battery Cover for a Remote

Anyone with kids will be familiar with missing remote control battery covers. Somehow, they pick at it, it falls off, and gets lost. Now, your batteries are held in by rubber bands or pieces of tape, and it does not look pretty. Instead, use an old credit card and fashion a perfect fit.

What clever uses have you devised for your credit cards?

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