Finances & Money

Coworkers make fun of my coupons, but…

guess who are the ones gladly accepting them when I offer? Yep, my coworkers.

When I saw a $2 off coupon for Cosi a couple months ago in the Washington Post Express newspaper, I grabbed a couple of the papers at the end of the day (when they were less likely to be read by Metro riders), and cut out the coupons. Of course I recycled the papers too.

I brought in about 10 coupons, with the intent of sharing, and they all laughed at me for being the “coupon clipper”. Honestly, the only times I use coupons are for dining; I don’t cut coupons for groceries (Stacie might though). Also, I normally don’t bother with just 10% off or $1 off-type coupons, but I figured I would try the place out since I’ve only ever had their bagels and Smores dessert.

So for lunch that day, I suggested the local Cosi, grabbed a couple coupons and my coworker and I headed over. Before ordering, I handed my coworker a coupon and he chuckled. Their prices are exorbitant for the small sandwiches that you get, but the meats and bread are decent quality. I would never eat there without a coupon ($7 for a skinny sandwich and a small bag of “free” chips). We enjoyed the lunch, but the $5 sandwich and chips still stung a bit.

After the coupons expired at the end of August, we figured that was it for Cosi. However, I learned yesterday that my coworker loves the place and has gone back about 16 times now (they have a rewards card that you swipe for free lunches). He’s paid full price most of those times, and yes, this is the same coworker I wrote about in Not So Frugal Lunch. But in September, the Express ran another set of coupons. I worked from home that day, so I didn’t get any papers myself, but guess who swiped some papers for themselves? Yep, my coworkers.

So the same set of coworkers who laughed at me for cutting coupons are now keeping an eye out for coupons themselves, and have even seen them when I’ve missed them. When my grandmother visited 2 weeks ago, they ran the coupon again and I grabbed 15 papers. I put my grandma to work by having her cut out all the coupons.

Yesterday, 7 of us, including my boss, dined at Cosi on my coupons. I helped the team save $12 (although I wouldn’t count spending money for dining out as “saving”). As they filed out the office door, I handed each one a coupon, except 1 coworker who had his own. I’ve started a trend!

I did mention that Cosi has a loyalty card. You get a card and swipe it with each purchase. You can earn coffee or entree points (2 different line items), and 10 purchases will get you the 11th free. I leave my card out for coworkers to use, so I went in yesterday with 3 points. Yesterday, I used it and then handed it to another coworker and my boss who swiped it for me. I’m now up to 6 entree points and 1 coffee point thanks to my quick thinking and exploitation of others’ purchases 🙂 Only 4 more until I get a free sandwich!

One last thing about Cosi. I’m going to write about the nutritional value of their food over at Building Nutrition. I was very surprised at the sodium content, and it’s a major reason I avoid eating there too much. I hope to have that article done tonight, so keep an eye out for it. I would have Stacie write it, but she’s in Minnesota for a pediatric nutrition conference right now.

Now you know, don’t be hatin’ on the coupon cutter. He may help save YOU some money too!

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Beppo, I know what you mean about friends making fun of you for your vehicle. We have an old Pontiac and a certain neighbor keeps making fun of it. Hey, it runs great, is low cost for maintenance and is decent on fuel.

    If you (anyone) are going to chastise people for buying brand new cars, then make sure you don’t make fun of them if they drive an old beater.

  • I know what you mean. Some of my friends have made jokes about me being so frugal (and I’m not that extreme about it), but then they wonder how I’m not all stressed out because some major expense came up or my job situation changed. (And this did just happen, where I was laid-off a few weeks ago because the company missed their numbers.) Because I try to be a good steward with my finances, I’m not living month-to-month. They also make fun of my truck sometimes, but I like it AND it’s paid off. (It’s so nice to not have car payments!) I’ve been meaning to write about this on my blog, because schools usually don’t teach about managing your money (although they should!). Life would be so much easier for people if they would manage their money more wisely.

  • […] he should talk to someone about it. Clever Dude has a coupon addiction, but he’s saving money. Are his co-workers? No. They must just be jealous. {via: Clever […]

  • I always used the punchcard at my old cafeteria. 8 meals over $4 and it turned into a $5 coupon. Since it’s food by weight, I could get a free meal for $5.

    I still hate cutting coupons out the Sunday circular though.

    Coupons for dining out are the only way to go. Have you tried I tried it, but I feel like I got spammed by them and signed up for crap I didn’t want in the process of buying my coupon.

  • That’s funny. I’m usually the co-worker who grabs the extra coupon, usually for Subway. I work at an internet company that runs a coupon site, so someone is always sending around lunch deals. Yesterday was a crazy one-day-only completely free pizza from Dominos if you ordered online.

  • Mapgirl, I thought of trying, but I didn’t like some of the reviews it got. I’ll still consider it, but I like my trusty coupons (and my semi-secret buy 2 get 2 free coupons).

  • Melissa cuts out restaurant coupons for me all the time. If I do wind up going out with my co-workers (which has been pretty rare these days), I always try to suggest someplace with a coupon. It rarely works. But I hadn’t thought about bringing enough coupons for everyone. I’ll have to give that a try.

  • I love the combination of using a coupon along with a rewards card – now that is being a smart consumer.

    I haven’t tried yet, but I really should. We often have a coupon code for them for an extra 50% off. I’m disappointed to hear that some people have had a poor experience – I think it’s time for some staff testing!

  • I’ve never bought anything from but I browse it occasionally to see if my favorite places are on it, and I’m on their mailing list. They send out 50% or 60% off coupons pretty regularly, so it’s a good deal — get a $20 gift certificate for around $5.

    I’ve noticed that they have way more restrictions now than they used to. For instance, many $20 gift certificates require you to spend $35 before you can use them.

  • $2 off ANY sandwich means the breakfast egg bagel sandwich with coffee. $1.86 for gigante coffee and sandiwich beats the pants off $2.86 for a starbucks iced coffee anyday!!

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