You will be fine if your on 4.1, there is always a chance of bricking, but following the guide to a T will minimize that chance. I would recommend using a SanDisc 2gb NON-SDHC card [have never tried to use an official Wii SD card, but i would assume it would work ok]. But if you do run into any problems please do not try and skip a step. Take a minute, come back to these forums, and ask a question about what is going on. Someone will get back to you promptly.
You could always Hardmod after you have done the softmod, they go very well together. As far as which one to choose, it seems that you have answered your question by the statement of " I'd love to get the WODE but I don't have another $100+."
By the way, I appreciate your Lovecraftian Username