Leisure time and sunk costs (aka update on my silent auction items)

photo-218I wrote last spring that I’d kind of outdone myself at our preschool’s silent auction. I had high hopes that my plethora of gift certificates would force me to schedule in and make time for things I wanted to do. After all, once I’d paid out the cash, it wasn’t just about making time for fun. The frugal part of my brain would kick in and make sure I wasn’t spending money and getting nothing in return.

The auction was almost exactly 6 months ago, so I just looked through the pile of envelopes and gift certificates that are still on my desk to see how I’d done.

Last night, a friend and I used the donated Sixers tickets to go to a pre-season game vs. the Charlotte Hornets. I’m happy to report that, unlike every other Sixers game I have attended, the team won! (I keep laughing about the “Together We Build” team marketing message. While it’s inspiring, it does make it clear that the team has a ways to go). This photo is taken from our front row, court-side seats. No zooming involved. It was awesome.

Last weekend, my husband and I used the gift certificates to restaurant Sbraga to go with our friends who donated the certificates. We got to meet chef Kevin Sbraga. Also awesome.

The weekend before, we used the gift certificate to Little Expressions to get formal photos taken of the 3 kids. We go back in another week to look at the proofs.

I also bid on and won a contemporary doll house. My 3-year-old got that for her birthday, and has played with it off and on. We’ll see if it becomes a regular fixture in the rotation or not.

We hauled the beach cart I bid on in a “beach package” around at the beach this summer. It worked when we had two adults, but didn’t work when it was only me, as I had to hold onto the kids. It may be more useful in the future.

I used two gift certificates to massage places this summer. I have one more card I need to use for a different place, hopefully to schedule a pre-natal massage in the next few weeks.

I used one store gift certificate, but I have another for a store that is literally less than a mile from my house that I haven’t used yet. In my post last spring I wrote about how excited I was to try out the store. Then I found out that I was pregnant shortly after writing that post. Knowing you won’t fit into any of the nice clothes you could shop for is somewhat de-motivational for making use of a gift certificate. Hopefully it doesn’t expire before February when I might be able to resume normal shopping.

I also have a gift certificate for the place where I get my hair cut, and yet I keep forgetting to bring it. So there are a few things I need to coordinate, lest I still have these gift certificates on my desk by the time this spring’s silent auction rolls around.

Have you ever won anything fun in a silent auction? Did you use it?

12 thoughts on “Leisure time and sunk costs (aka update on my silent auction items)

  1. You reminded me to book a sitter so we can use the gift certificates we (I—I was the one stalking the sheet and working on outbidding) won at a silent auction this spring (Steven Starr restaurant)

    1. @Ana- do it! And yes, it was totally me who was stalking the sheets at our auction too. I blame the cosmos. Alcohol makes my husband more social. Me, apparently, not so much.

  2. Gift certificates are such a joy to receive (No clutter! Experiences!) but too often I let them languish. I got a gift certificate for a massage 1.5 years ago. I’m embarrassed to use it now- it’s been so long.

  3. The best thing I have won at a silent auction was a formal portrait sitting that included a big canvas portrait for the wall. I used it to get a family portrait to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. That was 10 years ago and it still hangs prominently in our living room. I love that it shows our girls at that sweet age of just leaving childhood before they starting wearing make up etc. Even though we got the big wall portrait “free”, we ended up buying several others because they were so good and so the portrait studio made some money.

    1. @Linda- that sounds like ours. We won the sitting and the main portrait, but I’m assuming there will be other retail options available, if we choose to use them 🙂

  4. I just won some gift certificates in a raffle drawing and I’m going to have expend effort to use them – which sorta makes them not that worthwhile; although I’m trying to see it in a more positive way. We got $100 to a local furniture store and while I don’t need furniture I would like something for our entryway so perhaps I can find something that will work. I also got some spa gift certificates and jewelry gift certificates. I’m tempted to regift them to someone who would use them.

    1. @Alissa – I think re-gifting is fine in this case. I got a bunch of manicure gift certificates with the massage ones and I’m unlikely to use them so I’m trying to figure out who in my area might.

      1. I feel like manicures are basically a huge waste of money and time for me, unless I’m getting one RIGHT BEFORE a formal event (by which I mean hours before). I just cannot manage to keep a manicure looking nice for even 24 hours.

        Pedicures are a whole ‘nother story, but I’m completely unsold on manicures.

        Plus, manicures aren’t really a very pampering experience, whereas pedicures are. As are massages. 😉

        1. @The Frugal Girl – I think my record was getting a manicure before a wedding when I was in the bridal party and actually chipping it in the parking lot as I was opening my car door.

  5. I am so grateful that my kids’ schools don’t do auctions, though I’m debating donating some of my work (or gift certificates for it) to a few friends’ schools.

    But I am really, really good at spending gift cards/certificates. I love to shop so having “free money” is even better.

    And I am usually that sucker who ends up spending more money than was on that card in the first place 😉

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