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A love coupon is a romantic way to say "I love you". It is a form of voluntary IOU or promissory note between people in love that contains a promise from one of the partners in a relationship to engage in a romantic activity at a time in the future.
The love coupon contains a relevant artistic image or drawing, a romantic promise and sometimes redeeming conditions like date of expiration. At the core a love coupon is a love note that uses the coupon metaphor but it can also be seen as a very specialized form of greeting card.
The promise made through the love coupon can range from romantic fantasies to taking care of domestic chores. Samples of romantic promises may include an evening of dancing, night of kisses and cuddles, evening of romance, romantic weekend getaway, boat ride for two, BBQ party, stroll on the beach or a romantic day trip, just to name a few.
Love coupons are seen as a romantic way to pamper one's lover or to reinforce and heat up a relationship. They are usually given as gifts on Valentine's Day, birthdays or anniversary days. They are meant to signify that one is deeply caring about his partner's wishes. A love coupon can be also seen as a sign of trust between partners. The receiver of the love coupon may choose to redeem it at a time of his choice providing no restrictions apply. Sometimes it is more effective to make a promise using a love coupon than to discuss and talk about it with your partner.
Love coupons can be found in many forms: as printed cards, printed books of love coupons  and in digital format. Many web sites dedicated to subjects as Valentine's Day, love and romance offer various forms of love coupons for download or as attachments for romantic email messages. They can also be handmade from coloured paper, cut into heart-shape.
Another popular variant uses the scratchcard metaphor. Created as scratch-off lottery tickets they are sold and marketed as romantic gifts for lovers. Usually all tickets are winners, but like lottery cards one has to find the winning item or combination. The winnings range from romance, love and sex and the gift giver has to fulfill them.
Love coupons can be delivered individually or as books of coupons. They can be sent by traditional mail, in digital format as email attachments, handed in person at the right moment or placed as surprises in places where the receiver will stumble upon them.
Love coupons can be bought in form of printed coupon books or can be downloaded and printed from various web sites. Some of these sites offer free customizable love coupons for download and print.
A variant of the love coupon concept can be used by parents as an educational and relationship building tool. Parents can use this kind of coupon to get over communication barriers with their children and to assure the children of their love. Such a coupon can promise time for activities together, uninterrupted time for discussions or it can send a message hard to communicate in person.
Use as promotional material
Various companies started to use love coupons as promotional materials for their products and brands. For example Jones Soda Co. introduced in 2006 a Valentines Pack containing among others a book of "Love Coupons".
- Melodie Moore (1998), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Household Solutions (illustrated ed.), Alpha Books, p. 204, ISBN 0-02-862706-7
- Godek, Gregory (2006). Love Coupons. Sourcebooks Casablanca. ISBN 1-4022-0846-4.
- "You can even make your own coupons out of magazines, photos, comics, or just write a note". U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Archived from the original on 2009-08-27.
- "SAMHSA Family Guide: Activities. Encourage Communication... With Coupons". Archived from the original on 2006-08-27.