Promotion Codes – An Online Shopping Must Have

by Sandy L on May 4, 2011

Just about 15 years ago, I got my first “real” job out of college.  I was excited, but I also had to move from my home town city of over 650,000 people, to a quaint, but dinky town in the Berkshires.  Despite it’s charm, I was a big city girl used to having every chain store at my disposal.  Suddenly, I was living in a town where the closest Home Depot was an hour drive and so were any of the decent sized malls.  In fact, one of my out of town visitors had pointed out that they had never seen a single story mall before.

Well, since I did like my job and the convenience of being able to mountain bike after work, my solution was simple: online shopping.  In fact, since I’m taller than the average girl, I have to mail order a lot of my clothes anyway, because it’s rare that I will find tall sizes in the local stores.

Keeping it Simple – Reducing Junk Email

At first, I went about my online shopping in all the wrong way.  I signed up for email updates for coupons and promotion codes.  It certainly was nice to get a discount off my order, but it wasn’t long before I was deleting hundreds of emails for every one that I used.  What a time suck, so I went and unsubscribed from all of them and did something much simpler instead.

Use Promotional Codes

All I have to say is thank god that in the checkout section of every online site, there is a box that says “promotional code and/or gift certificate number.”   It reminds me that I should do a quick search on a site like to see if there are any current promotions running. At the very least I usually get free shipping.

Due to the outdoorsy nature of my locale, one of my favorite shopping spots is Sierra Trading Post. They often have killer discounts and are almost always running a promotion with an additional 20-25% discount on top of their clearance items.  I just checked to see what the latest discount is and I did find a  coupon for Sierra Trading Post.

If All Else Fails, Google it

One thing I did notice is that not all sites have the same list of promotions, so it’s always good to have a favorite go to site, but to also google your favorite store as well. I usually do 2 searches. If we’re still on the Sierra example I’d do “Sierra Trading Post Coupon Codes” but I’ll also google “Sierra Trading post promo codes.”  Usually the drop down box tells you the most popular search words too so that helps.

Babci and Computers

My computer is a mysterious and powerful thing to Babci.   Whenever she asks about something I bought online, I say “I bought it off the computer.”    I haven’t actually explained how it all works, nor does she want to know, but she does realize that computers allow me to do all kind of things.  She’s actually skyped at my house and she realizes that you can send messages to people, kind of like a telegraph, but better.  She also knows I work “on the computer.”   She also thinks that  in college I learned how to use a computer which enabled me to get a job where I use computers all day.  It’s pointless to explain to her that computer are used in just about every profession these days not only for business but also for pleasure. She just thinks I have this special talent with computers and that’s what’s opened the doors for me with different careers.  “Oh it’s because you know how to use a computer that you got this job.”

In fact, she was overjoyed the first time I got an office job “working on a computer”.  For a while I was doing hands on experiments at our R+D center.      It was a fun job, operating equipment, making parts and driving fork trucks around.  In my mom’s eyes, there are only 2 kinds of jobs..dirty jobs and clean jobs.  She was overjoyed when I got myself out of the plant (dirty job) and started working in an office (clean job).   Isn’t it amazing how there’s this technology out there that is so ingrained in our society and there are still people out there that have absolutely no use for it?

So just out of curiosity, how long have you been buying online?  Do you remember the first time you told an older relative that you bought something “off the computer” and they looked at you like you had 5 heads? Do you remember what year you bought your first computer? Which decade was it?  I can tell you that I didn’t get my first personal laptop til last year, but my husband’s had computers since the 80’s.

Note.  This post was written by me, on behalf of Promotion and is a sponsored post.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Niki May 4, 2011 at 7:29 AM

We are experiencing the same type living situation. It is an adjustment when I have grown up near any possible store and now the closest Target is over an hour away. I don’t even shop that much, I just like the option.

We didn’t get a computer until my junior year of high school, which was ’98-’99, we were kind of late to the game. A few years later my dad could fix anything on a computer and started a business building them. Since than I have always had a personal computer. Thanks, dad.


Sandy L May 4, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Niki – thankfully we actually do have target, walmart and home depot within 25 minutes now. We even have a panera bread, so I guess my little town has arrived.

Go dad. 98 wasn’t that late though. I remember back then our work email was still on a mainframe system. It wasn’t til like 2000 that we got microsoft office or whatever it was called back then. (And I worked for a fortune 100 company)


Nicole May 4, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Buying online since 1996. I remember my mom first trying to use a mouse. She just couldn’t hold it correctly. She’s better now and very active on the internets.


Sandy L May 4, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Yeah, I think that’s about when I started too. That’s when I moved to po-dink town and also when I started getting paid a living wage and could actually afford to buy stuff. I also remember people not knowing what a mouse was back then.


Linda May 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I first started using a computer around 1988. (Not mine, it belonged to a BF I had at the time who had a much higher disposable income than me.) It was a Tandy and had a DOS operating system. Ick. I used it to write papers for undergrad, but the Internet wasn’t yet available to me. The first time I bought something online must have been after I got my first computer and dial up Internet-connection at home in 1996. (Windows 95: I learned that OS very well!) I can’t recall the exact date, though.

My elderly next-door neighbor has no computer at home, but she seems to understand pretty well how great the Internet can be, even if she may not understand that “computer” is not the same as “Internet.” Occasionally she’ll ask me to “look [something] up on the computer” for her. Just last weekend she asked where she could get an old-fashioned reel-mower for her lawn. I said that I had just bought one myself off the Internet and she asked me to order one for her, too. (Instead I suggested she just borrow mine whenever she wanted and save herself the money; she is on a fixed-income, after all.)

I now use both my work-issued Windows laptop and personal Macbook Pro at home with my wireless router. High-speed, wireless access is *better* than sliced bread! 😉


Sandy L May 4, 2011 at 5:17 PM

I love that phrase that your neighbor doesn’t understand the difference between a computer and the internet..that pretty much sums it up for Babci too. I hope your neighbor took you up on the lawnmower option. High speed wireless is great. I love typing on my couch.


MutantSupermodel May 4, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I’ve been using computers in my home since very early 90’s. We used to use prodigy as our dial-up and I remember what a HUGE deal it was to upgrade to a 56k modem. Oh yeah baby. I remember stacks of those little hard disks everywhere. My first laptop was in 1998. I signed up with Ebay around then too when it was a VERY different creature and way more awesome than it is today. I’ve also been with Amazon since around that time.

I introduced my mother to Ebay and at first she was resistant and then she was addicted and now she’s an average ebayer but probably uses it more often than I do. Then again, she has more disposable income than I do too! She loves to do Christmas shopping on there year-round and scores some really nice collectibles for great prices. She’s big on Hibel and Lenox.

My grandmother is just like Babci. She doesn’t even WANT to understand computers. You try and tell her something about computers and she changes the subject saying something along the lines of “I’m too old for that stuff.” Getting her used to a cell phone took several days and now it looks like she needs a new one (she’s had the same one for years) so that’ll be a whole new learning experience.


Sandy L May 4, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Mutant – My cousin is a late bloomer for ebay. She’s currently going through the addicted phase. She loves vintage stuff so she can’t get enough of it at the moment. I think the first time we had internet at our apartment was high speed. I don’t think we ever went through the dialup phase. It was just easier to stay late at work vs trying to dial up at home. It’s just recently that I’ve used computers for fun with blogging.


Little House May 4, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Babci’s reaction is priceless. Although, to my own mom (who just turned 65, so really isn’t that old) computers flummox her. She thinks I’m a computer “genius” because I know how to surf online and “do stuff” with the computer. As for shopping online, I love promo codes! They save me either the shipping cost or a set percentage. I’ll have to check out that Sierra store. We have REI here for outdoor gear, but they are really over priced.


Sandy L May 4, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Little House – the closest REI to me is 2.5 hours, but I do like that store. Sierra is great but the sizes/selection is a mixed bag. Sometimes you can really hit the jackpot though.


Jacq May 4, 2011 at 2:12 PM

I always wondered how people got promo codes… Thanks!

Started using an XP88 (I think that’s what it was called?) around 1985 I think. Just one per floor in our office and we all shared it. Everything else was done on the big mainframes buried somewhere in the basement of the building I think. OMG – I also remember my first years articling and there’d be like 1 computer for every 10 people at work. So you’d have them on these big wheely cart things. Brush past the back of it and you could cut the power and the person working could lose hours of work on a tax return or something. I’m still not used to automatic saving because of that trauma.


Sandy L May 4, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Jacq – Oh my God, I totally remember those computers that you used to roll around the office. We had one too at the chemicals distribution place I worked in at college in the early 90s, but I think it was more like 1 in 20. None of the managers even had a computer. It was only used to make documents and do financial stuff on.


Jessica07 May 4, 2011 at 2:30 PM

I remember my family first getting internet in the late 80’s (look up GEnie Internet history). No one I knew even knew what I was talking about when I used the term “link.” My first computer used 8 inch floppy disks and and had Q & A as a word processor (ran on MS-DOS). I don’t ever really remember a time without computers, thanks to my Papa. 🙂

My first Internet PURCHASE, however, didn’t come until around 2001 or 2002. I can’t even remember what I bought; I just remember searching and searching the Internet for sites about the safety of Internet transactions. LOL


Sandy L May 4, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Jessica – wow how times have changed. I remember people asking me about “trusting” internet purchases too. Floppy Disks. I haven’t seen one in almost 20 years.


101 Centavos May 4, 2011 at 6:38 PM

“My computer is a mysterious and powerful thing to Babci”
LOL! i’m still laughing over this one.
Reminds of the character Dan Stark on “The Good Guys” show, where he calls his (more) IT-savvy younger partner a “computer machine whisperer”.


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:09 PM

101- I’ve never liked dealing with the nuts and bolts of computers and the maintenance they require either.


kh May 4, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Older relative? My boyfriend still looks at me like I have 5 heads when I tell him I bought something online and he’s only 5 years older than I am. 🙂

I buy nearly everything online because I can get better prices and always free shipping. My sweetie, on the other hand, ordered something off of the other day and then hyperventilated until it got here.


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:10 PM

KH – I didn’t think computer phobes existed under the age of 60.


Everyday Tips May 5, 2011 at 8:26 AM

I really started shopping online after a knee injury and surgery left me convalescing on the couch for a long time. I did all of my Christmas shopping online that year, it was actually kind of great. This was 10 years ago I believe. I had shopped online a little bit up to that point, but I really saw the benefit after that year.


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Everyday – good example of being a captive audience.


Squirrelers May 5, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I first started using a computer in the mid-1980’s. I actually wrote a program for a video game, and tried to get the code published in a magazine. It was decent, but got rejected nicely. All of a sudden, I dropped my interest in computers and became interested in the typical teenage pursuits that were a lot more fun 🙂

Despite that early start, my drop in interest in computers/technology caused me to wait until the late 1990’s to buy anything online. I think a book was the first thing I bought. Now, I might be things online once in a great while, but mostly I buy in person. Perhaps the benefit for online shopping to many of us is that there’s more competition for our dollar now, which can help us save money in some cases.


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Squirreler – I think if I were in a bigger city, I’d do less too. Wow, writing video games..that’s advanced stuff. I never had and doubt I will have that kind of desire to learn the coding side of things.


Kellen May 5, 2011 at 4:15 PM

My mom is only 55, so she was young when the very first computers started getting used, and since she worked in typesetting, her career before she had us was training other typesetting people on how to use all the new technology. She’s still better at figuring things out on the computer today because she’s been teaching people about how to use them for so long!

The first things I bought offline were probably computer games. I setup a paypal account without my parent’s knowledge (because buying things off the internet was “dangerous”). I used my check card to verify my account. Looking back, that was probably the safest way I could have done it!


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Kellen – I remember going to a newspaper for a job interview and I had to take a typing test. I made too many mistakes but I was happy that I learned typing. Who knew it would be such a handy skill these days.


Jennifer Barry May 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

The first computer I used was a friend’s Radio Shack with cassette. That was 1981 I think. I probably bought my first item online in 1998, and it was likely a book from I was on the older version of the internet (Bitnet) in college, but then I couldn’t afford to be online for several years once I graduated. I eventually moved in with my husband and he had broadband internet (got it in 1996). I haven’t been without it since. I love online shopping for relatives because it does the mailing for me, so I can skip a trip to the post office.


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Jennifer – wow, 1981, I think you hold the record. I don’t think we got broadband til we got our house which was in 2000.


Mel May 7, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Thanks to my dad, we’ve had a computer at home since I was 2 years old (he was 62 then) – 1982. I wrote my first program, a simple number-guessing game, a few years later. My mum’s favourite story from my childhood is me and a friend, aged about 3, arguing about which computer was better: our Spectrum ZX, or his dad’s work computer – at IBM! Both me and my friend are now programmers (I’m also married to one).

I was first online about 1994-5. My first experiences were with bulletin boards, then chat with ICQ – before “online safety” became a big thing. I had some great conversations with random strangers. I remember wanting to chat late at night, and always dreading the “handshake” sounds the dialup modem made when connecting. The computer was next to my mum’s room, so I was always afraid the noise would wake her up! We initially had a 14.4k modem, but eventually upgraded to 28.8k. We got a 56k modem with the new computer – the one that lasted me until I moved out of home.

My first online purchase was ages later – 2002. I bought belly button jewellery. It was sent from the other side of the world, and arrived about 3 days later. Now I mostly buy non-physical things online (flights, various tickets, software) but I do get the occasional physical item. All purchasing is done without a second thought – unless the site gives me a “dodgy” kind of feeling. No problems yet – at least none that aren’t due to the local post office!


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Wow..your formative years are like the polar opposite from mine. We had no technology whatsoever in the house, unless you consider a wine still high tech. Neat that you were exposed so young and now making a living at it. Thanks for sharing your story.


Doable Finance May 8, 2011 at 12:46 AM

I was born with a computer in my lap. Believe it or not, I call it my laptop.


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Corny, but I did laugh.


Jackie May 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM

I started buying online about 6 years ago. It is so much easier than taking the little ones into a store to shop. I also live in a small town so the selection is so much better online. I love using promotion codes and sites like to help get discounts off my promotions. Even online there is really no need to pay full price with a little bit of research.
My grandma was always amazed at what I could find and do online. She would constantly call me and ask if I could find information for this or that or get a book for her that our local bookstore didn’t have.


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Jackie – I also love reading people’s reviews about products. They have been very helpful over the years.


Deidre May 9, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Yep, my first home computer was in the 90’s because I couldn’t afford one before that. I remember the first time someone I didn’t know IM’d me and it freaked me out so badly that I did not go online for a couple of weeks. After I got over my ‘scare’ I learned quickly how to block IM’s and had no further issues.

Nowadays I’m online working and then for personal business & buying online. Maybe one day I will break down and get a smart phone too! 🙂

Always love your postings Sandy, they get me thinking every time! 🙂


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Deidre – yes, I remember being IM’d. Now I forget what the slang was back then for pinging someone…ugh. It’s going to drive me nuts trying to think of it.


Molly On Money May 11, 2011 at 8:22 AM

I’ve been buying online since the late 90’s. I don’t remember having a personal computer in our house as a kid, but we did! It was because my parents had a side business selling computers. This was the early 80’s. My grandmother loved email. It kept her connected to all of her friends that were so far away. My great aunt who is in her 80’s is on facebook and posts daily!


Sandy L May 13, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Wow. You have some rad octogenarians in your family. Can I facebook friend your aunt? Does she put her knitting and bridge scores up?


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