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More Consumers Say It's OK to Use a Coupon on a First Date

Age of austerity makes onetime dating no-no more acceptable

Is it bad form to use a coupon on a first date? Apparently not. A new survey suggests more of us are doing it.

The survey, conducted by coupon site CouponCabin, found 26 percent of U.S. adults report they have used a coupon on a first date, compared with 18 percent who said the same last year. In addition, the same percentage -- 26 percent -- said they would have a positive reaction to their date using a coupon to help pay for a first date.

This survey was conducted online nationwide by Harris Interactive and shows that, where thrift might have been a turnoff in the past, it's not so much now.

"The economic challenges of the past few years have made many people more comfortable with frugality, so much so that it's part of the dating scene now," said Jackie Warrick, president and chief savings officer at CouponCabin.com. "Not only does using a coupon benefit your budget, it also shows your date you are mindful of your finances and a savvy person overall -- both of which are positives when you're meeting someone for the first time."

There may also be something else at work here. Coupons have gained a bit of status since they went electronic. Though the survey doesn't break it down, chances are using a coupon from your smartphone or from the growing number of coupon and “deal” Websites is looked upon more favorably than a coupon you cut out of the local shopper newspaper.

Not everyone okay with it

Still, not everyone is okay with plopping down a coupon to help pay the check on a first date. The survey shows 12 percent said they would stay on the date, not say anything, and not go out with the person again. Three percent would say something to their date, letting them know they were offended and only one percent would walk out and leave the date. It's probably just as well, since those relationships weren't going to go anywhere anyway.

No matter what your dating situation, Warrick offers the following tips to help navigate the dating scene with a coupon in hand:

Tip accordingly. Don't take saving money so far that you hurt the livelihood of those providing a service to you. While it's perfectly fine to use a coupon on a date to lower your total bill, be sure to tip appropriately on what the experience would have cost without the discount.

Make plans based on your budget. If saving money is a top priority, make sure you set plans for a date that fit your budget. Think about planning a picnic instead of a fancy dinner at five-star restaurant or catching a matinee instead of a later movie, for example.

Be honest. There's no shame in using coupons in the dating game, so don't pretend you aren't using one. Be upfront and tell your date the truth to avoid any awkward moments.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.
Consumer Affairs

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