How early do you reveal your frugality to a potential boyfriend/girlfriend? I heard an interesting discussion about coupons on a morning radio show the other day. The main gist of it was whether it’s appropriate to use coupons on a first date. Most of the women felt it showed the guy to be cheap — rather than frugal — if he whipped out a buy-1-get-1 entree coupon at the end of the meal. Apparently, it’s all about first impressions, and most of these ladies didn’t feel this made for a positive one.
Poor, poor frugality. It’s unappreciated, unwanted and looked down upon by others.
According to the female radio callers, pulling out a coupon on the second or third date is more acceptable…sort of. But on a first date, it’s a total no-no. They want to know that you men out there are willing to spend money on them from the very beginning, even if it means spending money you don’t necessarily have. I didn’t hear one woman say that it’s okay to use a coupon on a first date — it’s a total turn-off to them.
It seems paying with a credit card is okay, though. But to me, it’s the same idea: By using the plastic, you’re telling me that you don’t have the cash to pay for the purchase. I’m willing to bet more than 80% of people who pay with credit cards aren’t doing it for the points or cash rewards — they’re doing it because of their lack of funds.
I’ll freely admit that while I have always watched my finances carefully, I didn’t classify myself as truly “frugal” until a few years ago. That was when I started seriously couponing and looking for deals for everything from groceries to clothing.
We’re way past the honeymoon stage of the relationship — Mr. Saver and I have been together for almost 6 years and married for 19 months — but my frugal ways have rubbed off on him. Whenever he wants to make a purchase, he runs it by me first to see if it’s a good deal, and he now takes his own initiative to look for promotional codes or coupons for meals or purchases. Just yesterday, he found a promo code for a movie ticket purchase — I was so proud of him!
But how would I have felt had he brought me out on our first date to a nice restaurant and proceeded to pay for it with a coupon? I can’t honestly say, as the situation never happened. Further into our relationship, there were times when I was the one who brought a coupon, proffering it to our server when the check arrived, much to his embarrassment and chagrin. So I don’t think I would have frowned upon Mr. Saver bringing out a coupon during one of our first dates.
So is it a poor decision to use a coupon on a first date? I think it only offends people because many Americans have trouble managing their finances. And some people believe “frugal” is a dirty word. But in my family, it’s not.
Another way to look at it: When you’re auditioning potential mates, wouldn’t you want his or her true personality to shine through from the very beginning, rather than pretending to be something he or she isn’t?