First-date coupon use is on the rise

A recent CouponCabin online survey delves into one of the classic personal finance questions people never get tired of debating.

By Karen Datko Oct 30, 2012 10:42AM

Image: Couple ordering meal in restaurant © NULL/CorbisIs this an assault on romance or a triumph of frugality? According to a CouponCabin online survey of 2,346 adults last month, more Americans think it's perfectly acceptable to use a coupon on a first date.


"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," Jackie Warrick, the president and chief savings officer at CouponCabin, said in a news release.


Really? Here are the details:

  • 26% of survey respondents said they've used a coupon on a first date, up from 18% in 2011.
  • 26% said they would have a positive reaction if their date used a coupon on the first outing.
  • 73% said if the date produced a coupon, they'd stay on the date and go out with that person again. 
  • 12% said they'd remain silent about the coupon use but decline another invitation.
  • 3% would express their disdain.
  • 1% would head out the door.

Nearly half said the economy has made them more frugal and accepting of coupon use on a date. But somehow a coupon on the first date doesn't seem appealing to me. It begs the question: Am I not worth full price?


Others are also uncomfortable with this practice.


It's not sexy, wrote Helena Echlin in a post last year on Chow.

It's not impressive. "I would have probably been weirded out. On the first date? Maybe on the second or third, but definitely not on the first. That's when you're supposed to show me how generous you are," said the wife of Budgets are Sexy blogger J. Money.


On the other hand, it can be a conversation starter. When personal finance blogger Krystal Yee (aka "krystalatwork") wrote about the topic last year, Marian Perera responded on Give Me Back My Five Bucks:

"I probably wouldn't be too impressed if the coupon was for 50 cents off the appetizer's cost, or something small like that. But a two-for-one coupon? Heck, I'd ask him where he got it, and if he had any more!"

If you have a modest income or you're paying off debt, I can imagine several palatable scenarios for first-date coupon use:

  • Tell the date beforehand that you got a great offer on your favorite daily deals site for a new restaurant you want to try. If your date is not enthusiastic, chose an acceptable, affordable location and pay full price.
  • Tell your date you're taking her/him to a special place that you normally couldn't afford, but you can because you have a coupon. I'd like the sound of that.

Better yet, choose a different type of date scenario that requires very little, if any, money.


If you use a coupon, make sure you follow the rule that says you tip based on the full price. Otherwise, your date will know you really are a cheapskate.


Your turn: Is a coupon on a first date acceptable or not?


More from MSN Money:



Oct 31, 2012 1:24PM
No way I'd use a coupon early in a relationship. Show a woman she's worth spending full price!  And don't use your expense account for the same reason - if I were a woman I would not like to know I'm being 'expensed'.
Oct 30, 2012 2:51PM
Who would have legitimate reason to complain?   The woman?   How common is it for women to run right out and take advantage of SALES in clothing & shoe stores?  The men?  I'm sure plenty of men shop at the big warehouse stores for tools, etc.   Don't we all shop around for the best price, packages.....groceries?    I'm STILL going to leave a 20% tip for the waiter/waitress based on the meal total BEFORE the discount.   I used to purchase ( annually ) a special discount card back in my old county......( available thru our workplace AND retail stores in that county )...that offered up discounts on tons of restaurants ( 2 for 1 on the entree, etc. ) car repairs,  party planning, limo rentals, photography.....landscaping, travel, etc.   These discounts were good for the merchant, in that they would draw in new customers. 
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.