The weird money-saving tool that 21% are ashamed to used

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There will always be extreme money-savers, who track down bargains, remonstrate with salespeople, and shamelessly negotiate themselves the best possible deal. However, at the other end of the spectrum, there are those who turn cold at the mere thought of it.

In fact, new research has revealed that one in five people wouldn't even use a discount voucher - for fear of embarrassment.

The use of vouchers is now so common that it may come as something of a surprise to learn that there are still millions of people who would prefer to pay full price than risk the embarrassment of using a voucher.

Why?

However, there are two very common reasons why people take this stance. The first is that some shoppers are worried about what other people might think. This is reflected in an earlier survey by Coupon Cabin, which found that only 26% of people would use a voucher on a first date and 12% would refuse to go on a second date with someone who used a voucher.

This may be why the survey by Savoo.co.uk, the voucher code site, found that the group most likely to avoid using vouchers are those aged between 25 and 34 - who may have a reputation to protect. If they've gone to all the trouble of keeping up with fashion and visiting the trendiest nightspots - the last thing they want to do is hand over a voucher when they get there.

By contrast, those over the age of 55 were most likely to not care what anyone thinks - and spend discount vouchers with pride.

The second reason for avoiding vouchers is a surfeit of British reserve - which makes it difficult to ask for anything - let alone for money off. Women would appear to suffer from this more than men, as 27% of them would find it humiliating to use a voucher. For these people, the idea of handing over a stack of vouchers at the checkout is tantamount to complaining that your lunch is inedible: far better to force it down and pay full price than make a fuss.

Good news

The good news is that for both of these groups, there's hope on the horizon. Nowadays we use almost 500 million discount coupons a year, and 80% of people believe it has entered the mainstream. One in five will now visit a discount voucher site once a week, with over 10% of people checking for voucher codes every time they go shopping. Only 22% of people never use a voucher site, and on average we save £6.50 every week by using vouchers and coupons.

As a result, the number of people who are too embarrassed to use vouchers is also falling - from 30% five years ago to 21% today: while the percentage of women who are embarrassed by it has fallen from 27% to 23% in that time.

Ed Fleming, Head of PR and Partnerships at Savoo commented: "The research shows that it is becoming more and more acceptable to hunt for a bargain and use vouchers codes. Five years ago there was more of a stigma attached to going out and finding a great discount, but this seems to be changing."

Even those with the stiffest of upper lips are going to be tempted to use a discount voucher when they are the only person in the supermarket who doesn't have them. And now that some supermarket staff are trained to ask if you have any vouchers to use for your shopping, there's going to come a time when it's more embarrassing to say no than to hand some over.

What can you do?

In the interim, the best way to avoid the crushing shame, is to stick with internet shopping. Not only can you do a simple search for vouchers for anything you buy - on any number of voucher sites. It also enables you to enter voucher codes on everything from groceries to gifts - without ever having to look anyone in the face.

Who knows, it might give you a taste for bargain hunting. Before you know it, you could find yourself nose to nose with a salesman negotiating with the best of them.