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Mary gazes across the table at John. With good food and sparkling conversation, their first date has gone well. Now, the dessert plates have been cleared, the coffee cups emptied, and the waiter has discreetly placed the bill on the table.

And then John pulls out a coupon.

Mary looks at the buy-one-get-one-half-price coupon, and thinks, “What a frugal fellow, wouldn’t he make a wonderful life partner?” Or, “What a cheapskate, am I not worth splurging on?”

“And what are we doing at Red Lobster anyway??”

A new survey says we’re about evenly divided, over which of Mary’s possible reactions we’d have in a similar situation.

The Harris Poll survey, conducted on behalf of the deals website LivingSocial, found that 46% of Americans think it’s fine to use a coupon on a first date. That number rises to 87% when respondents were asked whether it’s okay to use a coupon on subsequent dates.

The results echo those from similar recent surveys, which showed that most people looked favorably upon coupon use while dating. In 2010’s RedPlum Purse String Study, more than three-quarters said they would have no problem using a coupon on a first date. And the majority said they wouldn’t even feel the need to hide the fact that they were using a coupon.

And in a 2012 CouponCabin survey, 73% of respondents said if their date used a coupon, they would go out with them again. Good thing, because more than a quarter of those surveyed admitted that they had actually used a coupon on a first date.

Frugality is “part of the dating scene now,” said CouponCabin president Jackie Warrick. “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.”

So John’s desire to save a few bucks on Mary’s meal may not be as tacky as it appears. If he’s lucky, it might even help to convince Mary that he’s a keeper.

And if it doesn’t work out – well, at least he didn’t have to pay full price to find out.

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