Michele Ashamalla: Another auction site now has my favor -- it allows me to do some good while I score big deals.
I love eBay's online auctions, but I have a new favorite. It's not iOffer or eCRATER, though I have purchased items on both those sites. My new favorite is BiddingForGood.com. It's been around for a while -- in fact, its website states that it is one of the original online auction fundraising platforms. Over the last five years, they've run more than 9,000 online charity auctions -- and raised over $85 million for schools and nonprofit organizations.
I like knowing that I am supporting schools and charities. Also, if I ever got taken over by an alien and bought something over fair-market value, that overage would be tax-deductible.
It works like this: You register with your credit card, and if you win an auction, you are billed automatically. You can arrange with the seller to have items shipped to you, or you can pick them up. I search the local auctions to find nearby services and restaurant certificates. Recently, I paid $28 for a $50 restaurant certificate to a place my dad likes, but lost an auction for a salon styling kit that was going to be a birthday present for my daughter. One of the best wins was a laser tag party for 15 for $80. That included two games per person, soft drinks and lemonade, a party host and a private room for two hours. Individual games run $9 each or $7 each for a group; the stated value of the certificate is $240. I plan to use it for a Y-Tribes event. The tribes are small -- five or six kids -- so this makes a great family event with each family only having to pitch in about $15 to cover the cost of the certificate.
Take a look at what's in your area, and remember: You're bidding for good!