How to save money and support a good cause, ALL at the same time

Coworker, Logan, writes today about an AWESOME way to save some moolah and help someone out at the same time.

Logan attends benefits and dinners held throughout town, bids on items in the silent auction, and walks away with extra money in his pocket and a warm-fuzzy feeling in his soul. :)

Logan writes:

Normally, helping others takes some sort of sacrifice, be it time, effort or money.

But sometimes you can save yourself some money while helping a worthy cause at the same time.

This is possible because of silent auctions that happen in conjunction with benefits in Jamestown just about every month. These auctions help families facing medical expenses, local groups or big events like Relay for Life.

For these auctions, local businesses donate products and services for auction, with the proceeds going to worthy causes. But what surprises me is a lot of these auction items sell for prices far below market value.

For example, I recently bought one-night stays at two Jamestown hotels for $25 each at a silent auction. I’m getting married this fall, and these rooms will come in handy then. Also, I bought an oil change from one Jamestown car dealership for $15 at the same auction.


Logan won this hotel-stay coupon at a benefit auction for $25. Regular hotel rates vary between $70-$100 here, so Logan's savings are substantial. Not only that, but they money he spent benefited a good cause too. It's a win-win!

These products and services, all in gift-certificate form, could have cost me $200 retail instead of $65 at auction.

Attending these benefits also gives me a chance to look at new products and services I might want to try. For example, I got my last oil change through a certificate purchased at one of these auctions. It was with a car dealership in my neighborhood that I’d never tried before, and now I plan to return there for future oil changes. This is good for me and the business.

It may feel strange to be using charity events to save money, but keep in mind that auctions go to the highest bidder, and I won the items above because I was willing to pay more than anyone else. If I never bid on any of these items, they would have sold for even less than I offered and the auctions would have raised less money for their respective causes.

If you’re looking for a good benefit, just keep your eyes open. We try to feature them in The Jamestown Sun in Area Briefs every Wednesday, but that only happens when people let us know about the benefits. (From Katie: So be sure to let us know if you’re hosting one! Email They also are advertised in church bulletins and bulletin boards around Jamestown.

Most auctions (silent and otherwise) are held alongside meals to benefit various charitable causes, and from my experience most benefits in Jamestown have good food that’s easily worth the $5-$10 price or a decent freewill donation.

If you’re not hungry though, go up to the counter at the front and simply ask if you can go in only to look at the auctions. More often than not, they’ll be glad you came by.

Most benefits have the silent auctions positioned on tables around the outside of the room with seating for a meal located in the center. Just pick an end and make your way around and look for things that you want.

If you see something, offer a fair bid. How much is up to you; but remember that the less you’re willing to pay, the more likely it is someone will outbid you.

Of course, only bid what you can afford, and be ready to pay up if you win.

Thanks Logan!

Anyone out there have luck at benefits? What did you find? What did you pay? How did you feel???

Also, anyone know of any benefits coming up? The Jamestown Sun isn’t aware of any, but we’re happy to publicize them in our paper and on our blogs. Email with information.