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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Dating and Saving Money

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.


Dating - Saving Money Without Looking Cheap

Is it important to splurge on your date in order to make a great, first impression?

First impressions are important in dating, but it’s also important to avoid the trap of trying to come across as somebody you really aren’t. With that in mind, let me say that many women (and men) are turned-off by someone who acts like a cheapskate. In fact, studies show time and again that women inherently evaluate a man’s ability to provide economic and emotional security for a long-term relationship. All that said, one doesn’t need to go overboard and shower a woman with all manners of expensive trappings to make a good impression. Sincerity, honesty and generosity (knowing when to loosen hold of the wallet) go a long way in making a great, accurate and lasting first impression.

Of course, the economic downturn makes it difficult to splurge on a date. To help with this, you can always temporarily add to your budget for entertainment (and dating) by being thrifty in other areas of your life. For example, you’ll have more money to spend on a nice date if you watch for opportunities to curb unnecessary spending. One great way to do this is by shopping in smarter ways. That doesn’t make you cheap, it makes you wise. And oh, wise actions are turn-ons for many people!

Here are two practical ideas to make your budgeting easier. First, you can host a “coupon potluck” at work, church or any other social gathering. We all know what a regular potluck is -- occasions whereby many people bring a different dish so there’s a cost effective buffet for everyone. The same idea can apply to coupons. Everyone has access to many types of coupons, but not all coupons are useful to each individual. By pooling coupons with your coworkers, friends or family, you can stock up on the coupons that are most useful to you while at the same time providing useful coupons to others. It’s a win-win situation for all.

The second idea is learning where to get “hidden” coupons and great deals. There are many websites that specialize in this. Some are “by invitation only” communities like Others are open to anyone and everyone. Let’s review some of these latter websites:
This site compares deals and has member forums for tips.
This site offers a percentage back on purchases made through partners on their sites to members, even Ebay, usually about 3% back. This site is typically popular with coupon-fantatics and people on other saver forums. It also offers a section of free shipping and coupon codes for their partner websites and stores. You even get $5 just for signing up.
This site has articles, listings of savings/deals/coupon resources, frugal living ideas and personal finance tips. It is a wealth of various and broad information. It is one of the best general sites, but not the best resource for the most coupons.
Yes, this is a favorite standby. Here you can find a job for extra money, services offered by community members, free items people do not want any longer, event calendar sometimes with free or low cost local entertainment or classes/workshops, activities (mostly looking for workout partners), rideshare opportunities, SELL YOUR USED ITEMS, and buy others’ recycled goods. Everything organized by category and users can upload photos.
This site involves user-submitted coupon codes and 90,000 some coupons!  The printable coupons are searchable by store and zip code. In other words, the users submit the coupon codes, as well as provide feedback on the success of the codes. The codes show a percent success rate, which is a nice touch. Also, you are often able to find free shipping coupon codes on this site.
This website also offers coupon codes and updates with the latest printable coupons and freebies that the site thinks its users want the most. Last time it was still in beta mode, but still definitely worth checking out.
If you can’t find free shipping on other sites, you might be able to find it from the retailer’s listing here. Just click on “Free Shipping Coupons” and look for your vendor. Or if you are shopping at Amazon or Ebay, type in the item description. Believe me…shipping costs seem trivial but they really add up.
This website allows you to buy discounted gift certificates to local restaurants. This is especially nice for budgeting for a local dinner date. How much savings can you get -- how does up to 60% offs sound?

I’m interested in hearing your cost saving techniques and date ideas that are fun but easy on the wallet. Email me today, and you’ll ideas appear in a future issue!


Dr. James Houran's "Office Hours with Dr. Jim" column is published every Monday.

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