Credit Cards and Babci’s Stubborness

by Sandy L on April 14, 2012

Babci has this saying that doesn’t really translate that well into English, but I’ll do my best.  It goes something like this:  “The girl didn’t have enough work to do, so she bought herself a pig.” Pigs are messy and a lot of work.  For years I’ve been trying to simplify my finances and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said no to the cashier who said, “Would you like to save $50 right now by opening an xyz store credit card.”  No thanks. I’d rather spend that $50 and keep my life simple.

I’ll give Target some credit because they’re really pushing that 5% rewards credit card and I get reminded every time I shop there how much money I’m not saving. 5% is a lot, but I tell myself they have to build it into their costs somewhere so I should make sure I am not overpaying at Target as a result.  So far, so good.

I think if I end up making the plunge to getting another home that needs work, I’m going to get a special credit card just for home improvement expenses.   My method for keeping track of capital gains expenses is very crude. I put all receipts into a big envelope, I load it into a spreadsheet and then on the outside with a big sharpie, I have a reminder of what big projects I accomplished that year. I figure that would make life easier when it comes time to sell and do taxes.  If I had a credit card dedicated to just home improvements (which has historically been one of my biggest non-essential expenses), then it would be a lot cleaner and theoretically should save time organizing my expenses.

My Crude Expense Tracking

 Interest Rates

Nerd Wallet has some good search tools on best interest credit cards.   Initially I thought I should just make it totally idiot proof and just get a Home Depot Card (I don’t have Lowes nearby), but their rewards are not the best.  It’s totally geared towards buying big purchases and having no interest on those purchases for 6 or 12 months, then they jack up the interest rates from 17.99% – 26.99% APR from what I could gather off their website. Not sure why there is a range there. At any rate, I don’t think I’ll be applying because it doesn’t really fit my pay as I go style of buying stuff and there doesn’t seem to be any store discounts or cash back by using the card.   I’ll most likely end up with one of the low interest rate credit cards that offer cash back.  My primary card now is the Capital One rewards card and I’ve been really happy with it.  I used to have an airline rewards card but I’ll never do that again. It’s just too hard to use the miles. It always seemed like they never had rewards flights available on the dates and/or locations I wanted to fly to.  At one point I had 8 tickets banked up between my credit card and the work travel I did. I ended up gifting most of them to a friend who has a sister in Minnesota.  It seems like MN was the one place where rewards tickets were always available…most especially if it was winter.

For now, it’s business as usual because I am not really spending that much on home improvements. I have a pile of already bought building materials at my mom’s where I just need to make time for installation (Like the maple pre-finished 3″ wide hardwood floors I got off craigslist for $2/ft).

Babci – Too Tough for Her Own Good

We have a bit of a minor crisis on the Babci front. Hopefully it’ll be under control shortly. She cut her leg a few weeks ago,  the wound is not healing and it is now infected.  Of course, she didn’t tell me this until 1/2 her leg was swollen and red and a giant hunk of skin was missing from her leg.  This is extremely serious as she has had 2 knee replacements and if the infection spreads to her knees, it means she’ll have to go through major surgery again and have them taken out and new ones put it. A procedure like that and the physical therapy that follows would be tough at her age, especially if they had to do both knees at once.  Fingers crossed that we caught it in time.  Apparently her regiment of dousing her wounds with 180 proof vodka and drinking copious quantities of cod liver oil was just not enough to make her wound heal on it’s own.  In fact, I think the vodka is at least partially responsible for the missing skin.  Oh and it doesn’t help that it’s the beginning of gardening season and she’s been wheeling around dirt and weeding all day long.  The doctor put her on modified bedrest and I’m employing  a variety of scare tactics to keep her out of the garden.  I should write a whole post on the downside of toughness. Fingers crossed that we turn a corner on this issue shortly.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacq April 14, 2012 at 7:57 AM

I’m worried about Babci. 🙁 Is there a chance she’s diabetic? I so hope she gets better soon. I think the vodka would help? I’ve never tried it of course but I believe that swishing with vodka used to be the temporary remedy for tooth infections back in the day.

I have a Home Depot card that I used for buying a bunch of reno materials a few years ago (10% off plus don’t pay for a year). I paid it off early anyway because I just wanted the 10% off. When I bought my stove last week at HD I put it on my cash back Mastercard though since the opportunity cost on such a small amount isn’t worth the mental anguish that would ensue in having a liability out there. 😛


Sandy L April 14, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Jacq – I think the Vodka did actually help her primary wound, but dried up her skin all around her leg and caused all kinds of secondary cracks and splits that also turned into smaller wounds. Yes, you’re right. I forgot to mention the 10% off first purchase bit. That could be significant if say, you buy your kitchen there.


Acorn April 14, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Please keep us updated on Babci’s health – sending good thoughts her way and hope she recovers soon.


heather in europe April 14, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Must be an old country thing, my Lithuanian relatives consider vodka to be the cure-all of ills as well. No reason for fancy, manufactured drugs.

We were visiting and my American aunt had a bit of a cold/cough. Out came the vodka at 9 AM, and everyone must do a shot along with the ill one. ‘It will clear you right up’. By early afternoon we were three sheets to the wind. Cleared up indeed.

Sending positive thoughts to Babci.


Sandy @ Journey To Our Home April 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I agree sometimes stubbornness can cause big health issues. I hope you are able to keep Babci scared until her leg has had a chance to heal.

We also have a Home Depot card. I can’t remember what we originally bought with it. I’m thinking we may use it when we start to build, just to be able to keep part of our records on the actual cost of the house in a more centralized place.

I’ve always wondered how people keep track of fixer-ups to help price the house when selling it. Good luck with house hunting!


Nicoleandmaggie April 15, 2012 at 7:48 PM

I hope she heals up quickly!


The Biz of Life April 23, 2012 at 10:19 AM

I use the American Express Blue card because of the generous cash back options, and since most of my spending is at the gas pump and grocery store. Hope Babci recovers quickly.


Marie June 3, 2012 at 2:42 PM

I just hope and wish Babci gets well as soon as possible. Please keep us regularly updated over here regarding her health. I just hope her wounds get healed up soon and she gets fit and fine all the way.


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