Is It OK to Use a Coupon on a First Date?

By Mary Schwager,

Is it okay to use a coupon on a first date? When this author posed that question to GalTime readers it started an online firestorm! People started fighting with each other. Some were horrified at the thought. Men started accusing women they were just out for money. Other members of the male species pondered how far they could get with a girl if they didn't use a coupon on a first date; like they should be rewarded for paying the full tab. A few thought it meant they found a wise guy:

Tara: "I would be impressed he was being frugal."

Scott: "Does this really happen?

John: "Take the hint, he does not want a second date."

Curt: "He's testing you to see if you're a money grubber."

Marianne: "I think it was adorable, his mother taught him well."

Laura: "I have a friend who did this and he is now married to the girl."

Diana: "I don't believe it is appropriate. First impressions are everything on a first date."

Nikki: "Do gift cards count?"

Related: Don't Get Ripped Off This Valentine's Day

Here's a real modern day shocker, savings supersite RedPlum conducted a Purse String Study based on insights from more than 16,000 consumers and found a majority would "whip out" a coupon at the movies or a restaurant to save money on that impressionable first encounter. Welcome to the new era of post recession dating! Survey says:

•78% said they would use a coupon on a first date at a movie theater.

•77% said they would use a coupon on a first date at a restaurant.

Get this: While there was an option to do so "discreetly," a majority of those who responded "yes" didn't feel the need to conceal the fact that they were using a coupon.

"These days, using a coupon or seeking savings is worn as a badge of honor, but that wasn't always the case," according to Lisa Reynolds, RedPlum's Mom Saver-in-chief. "Shoppers are telling us that they are actively seeking out savings both in print and online, like never before." The study found coupon booklets, mail-delivered promotions and retail fliers are still the most sought after means for seeking deals, but social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are adding a new deal seeking medium. Reynolds says "Today's consumer is willing to dedicate time to savings. Once they have seen the results of their savings and how all of the dollar-off coupons and percentage-off savings can add up, they are not willing to go back to their previous buying behaviors."

Okay so what should the other 30-ish % of people who don't feel comfortable whipping out a first date coupon do to impress on a budget? GalTime asked Reynolds who came up with some creative options:

Go local

Before heading out on a first date, research restaurants in your area for great deals or look for deal sites, including RedPlum, RetailMeNot and Groupon.

Home cooked meal

Does your date have a favorite meal? Stay in and whip up her favorite dish. Before you prepare the meal, look for coupons (online and in the newspaper) on the ingredients that you will be using, in order to stretch the dollar.

Free Love

If you really want to "wow" her, show her some love -- free love, that is. Download free love coupons from RedPlum. Whether it's a coupon she can redeem in order to go to see a movie of her choice or one morning without having to make breakfast, she'll love your compassionate creativity.

Related: Biggest Mistakes Women Make in the Bedroom

Creative dating destinations

Most likely, there are creative dating destinations in your city that are not only creative and fun, but economical. Keep an eye out for certain event promotions, such as wine-tastings and certain nights of the week when a museum in town is free-of-charge.

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