There’s a large faction of our selectively stuck-up society that thinks using a coupon on a first date is tacky. I guess those are not the ones footing the bill; it’s easy to scoff at that “offensive” BOGO dinner deal when there’s no money leaving your pocket.
I work hard for my money, and while I want to take my first dates out for a night of fun, adventure and flirty conversation, I also don’t want to go home to the poorhouse afterward. For that reason and eight more, here’s why it’s OK to use a coupon on the first date.
1. It’s the first date, and there’s no promise there will be the second
When you’re playing the field, there’s only a 50/50 chance of a second date. Some would say those are pretty good odds in favor of the first date being a success, but you should never go all in on the initial hand. Because you don’t know how this date will go in advance; play it like you’ve got something to lose — your money. Plan a great date, but keep the cost reasonable so you can get back in the game shortly if this one’s a loss.
2. It goes over much better than having to ‘go Dutch’
It’s difficult to date when you’re on a tight budget — especially if you’re the one expected to pay (and if that is an expectation of your date, recognize it as a red flag) — but if a coupon makes a date possible, go for it. Ultimately it’s better than “going Dutch,” even more so if that’s not a plan you’ve discussed beforehand. Springing it on your date at the last minute is rude, and it’s a good way to get put on blasts by that person on social media. My rule is that if I ask someone on a date, I plan to pay for it. If someone asks me on a date, I plan to pay my half; if they insist on paying the full bill, however, I’ll accept but not before I’ve offered to cover my share.
3. You’re being thrifty, not cheap – there’s a difference
Discount-dating deniers like to call people cheap who use coupons on the first date. Pay them no mind. Using a coupon doesn’t make anybody cheap, ever, but it does prove that they’re financially conscious of cash flow — a great trait in a potential partner. If you’re not exactly sure where to draw the line between cheap and frugal, look at it this way: Cheap is cutting corners to the detriment of yourself or others just so you don’t have to spend money, whereas being frugal is resourceful and savvy about how you spend it. This situation definitely falls under the latter category — so long as you’re not dining at McDonald’s or someplace equally unworthy of your date’s effort to get out of bed for you.
4. Your affinity for frugality wards off potential gold diggers
Take this advice and hold on to it forever: If the person you’re taking out is notorious for attaching him- or herself to someone with deep pockets, they’ll get their hand out of yours when you pull out a coupon to pay for the date.
5. You can come up with a lot of fun date ideas by searching for coupons
If you’re not the best activity planner, that’s OK; not everyone is a creative-date genius, but looking for coupons helps in this regard. When I’m planning a date, I frequently visit Groupon or LivingSocial to see what’s going on in my area that might be fun and discounted. I’ve found fencing classes, piano bars, driving-range sessions, helicopter rides, escape rooms, and much more. As a result, my dates are often impressed at what I’ve planned, and I’m happy that it was easy money.
6. Cutting the cost of date #1 makes a pricier date possible next time
It’s simple arithmetic: Spend less today, so you have more to spend next time. In other words, treat the first date like a taste of what’s to come. By establishing midrange expectations from the beginning, anything else after will seem a step up and it’ll be appreciated.
7. Being financially conservative turns some people on
Remember that episode of Friends where Monica schools Chandler on the seven basic erogenous zones? You know the one: “Seven… Seven… SEVEN!, SEVEN!, SEVEN!…” Well, for some people — like me, in fact — that enthusiasm is facilitated by talk of personal finance and saving money. Tell me how much you shaved off your car insurance bill by finding an overlooked discount and, well, let’s say you don’t have to try much harder for the rest of the night. I’m not the only person out there who finds saving money sexy either; there are plenty of folks for whom this is a turn-on.
8. Because you’re a ninja, your date never has to know you used a coupon
After all of this, if you’re still worried about how your date might react on the first date to your coupon, nip it in the bud altogether. Visit, call or email the establishment(s) you plan to visit on your date in advance and let a server or manager know that you’ll be in later that night. Let them know that you’re a little self-conscious about using your coupon and you’d rather your date not know. Trust me, they’ll understand. When you get there, you’ll have absolutely no anxiety aside from whether or not you’ll get a goodnight kiss. And if that’s the extent of your worries, you’re on the right track.
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He spends his time writing from the beach with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.