Thanks To My Bank

You could say I have a somewhat tumultuous history with banks in general, particularly when it comes to houses. (Like the time I had to reinstall all the old kitchen cabinets in order to get the loan to tear out the kitchen cabinets, or, you know, all of this.) There’s just no reasoning with them. But I’m also a person who likes the convenience of not needing to keep track of actual paper money, so I do use my bank quite frequently for the most basic transactions–direct deposited paychecks going in, debit card for money coming out– and that’s it.

A few weeks ago when I logged in to my bank’s website, I saw a little notification about some rewards points that were available, and I made my seriously-skeptical/eyeroll face. This is the same face I make when big-box stores try to sell me an “extended warranty” on some shit… I consider this a way people are trying to scam me out of money, and I assumed these “rewards points” were the same thing. Like SIGN UP NOW, AND WE’LL CHARGE YOU TWICE AS MUCH FOR YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT SO YOU CAN GET “POINTS” YOU’LL NEVER REMEMBER TO USE ANYWHERE!!!

I clicked on the X of the notification box to close it, but was directed to the rewards page anyway where I was told in very large numbers that I had 45,000 points, and 15,000 of them were about to expire. However, they didn’t seem to be asking me to sign up for anything and the page looked fairly legit, so I clicked to see what gift cards could be purchased for 45,000 points. I assumed that would translate into $15 at some obscure store that only has locations in three states and sells absolutely nothing I am interested in.

So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that my points could be cashed in for this…



This is some legit shit, you guys. I got $350 worth of Lowe’s gift cards, from a rewards program I didn’t even know I was signed up for, and only ended up investigating because I missed the tiny little X trying to close the notification box.

You know when these came I did a little song and dance routine in my kitchen that mostly included shouting the words “new tools!” over and over again. And jazz hands.

I sat on these for a while, wondering what to spend them on. New tools? New tools! Except, while new tools are always a lot of fun, this was essentially “free” money and the more responsible half of my brain chimed in and suggested it might be a better idea to spend it on things that I need, but aren’t actually fun to buy.

For example: a dehumidifier for my basement.


The basement of this house is 50% cave, 50% dungeon. I’ll need to spend a not-insignificant amount of work down there at some point in the future, but except for things like when my well-tank exploded (that was fun), most of the things that need to be done in the basement are low-priority work. It does have a particularly damp and musty smell that sometimes makes its way upstairs though, and I’ve been meaning to put a dehumidifier down there for years to see if that will help. So. Thanks to my bank, that little chore is now taken care of.

I also invested in a couple of these…


Yeah. I should probably have had a few of these on-hand already because, well, I’m me. Some shit is probably going to explode or catch on fire around me at some point. Especially now though, with the installation of two wood stoves on the horizon, I thought getting a fire extinguisher for both the house and the workshop would be prudent.

And my biggest (literally) purchase with those gift cards?


A 24′ extension ladder.

I believe that brings the total number of ladders I own up to… five? I think five. A girl can never have too many ladders, you know.

When MysteryMan and I built the Memorial house, we had a few of of these at our disposal because his family was super generous and lived right down the street. We got a ton of use out of them…


(Also, that siding?! I still miss that gorgeous siding on that house. And the bathrooms.)

Anyway, I have a number of step ladders and one convertible ladder, which is good for a lot of things, but can’t reach the soffits on the peaks of my house (where I need to make some repairs), or the rafters in the big barn, or the peak of the garage (that still needs to be painted.) So a legitimate extension ladder seemed like a good purchase for the farm. And now I can get a lot more work done before winter.

I’m a cynic when it comes to things like reward programs, but this was a pleasant surprise that ended in a shopping spree at Lowe’s so… well, something I never thought I’d hear myself say, but I owe a big thanks to my bank.

(I use 5/3 Bank  for those of you who are wondering, and I’m not vouching for their rewards program because I have no idea how it works or how long it took me to accumulate that many points. All I know is that I use the bank in a way that is convenient for my life, and one day I got a lot of Lowe’s gift cards in the mail, so… that worked out pretty well for me.)

12 Responses

  1. Surprise money is always awesome. You definitely loaded up!

    I have over $400 in my rewards program, but I don’t have anything I want to do with it yet – and it doesn’t seem to expire – so I just leave it there.

    Just checking: Are the extinguishers the 5 lbs models? Looks like they might be. I know several fire department guys who get all huffy about the smaller models and how little they can barely extinguish.

  2. How did you select the ladder? Did you just get the XX-Tall size or is there a brand you find to be the best? Name names! My longest ladder is about 2 ft short of my gutters and it is a bit crazy/unsafe to reach up and overhand to empty them. I keep planning to buy another ladder (this will be ladder #4, so I’m not quite at your level, and in my defense I got two from a next door neighbor who was cleaning the basement to sell their house), but I am baffled about which is the one to get, and they are a bit pricey to just wing it.

  3. You have been very busy Kit. Yes, the banks can make you jump through hoops when you want bucks. There funny, independent and down right snobish at times, like that. Free money…
    they have been using yours for years but yes, anything extra for us is always a nice treat. You have an awesome fiberglass ladder which is safer and better made than an aluminum one for basically nothing other than banking with them.
    Gift cards in the mail are very nice 🙂

  4. Presumably this was from your credit card (do debit cards have rewards points? I dunno.) I charge virtually everything so that I can keep track of my monthly spending and for rewards points, which I turn into either cash back to the credit card account or amazon gift cards to feed my ebook habit.

    But the last time they reminded me, I would up spending them on a Nook. Not all the merchandise rewards are crap.

    1. No, it was just through my regular checking account/debit card. I don’t have a credit card through this bank… but you’re right, not all rewards are crap! This was a good one.

  5. You will be glad you got your dehumidifier for the basement! We set ours up right over the drain for ease. It definitely cut out the musty smell both down there and upstairs when we run the whole house fan. No more stinky air. Glad you got to do some free shopping!

  6. Great blog with some useful information, would love to find more blogs as this, this had some awesome information for me to use

  7. Has anyone tried the extend ladders? telescopic? i am assuming they are not heavy duty ladders even though they have same weight capacity.

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