Young Professionals Spend Nearly $3K Annually on Coffee, Lunch

A new survey from Accounting Principals finds that U.S. workers spend nearly $3,000 a year on coffee and lunch.  However, many workers are unclear about what the biggest drain on their wallet is.  While the majority of those surveyed, 42%, believed that commuting was the work expense they would most want reimbursed by their employer, those costs only amount to $1,500 per year. 


• Half (50%) of the American workforce buys coffee regularly at work, spending more than $20 a week on coffee, an average of approximately $1000 a year.

• Younger professionals (18–34) spend almost twice as much on coffee during the week than those aged 45+ ($24.74 vs. $14.15, respectively).

• Two thirds (66%) of American workers buy their lunch instead of packing and bringing it, spending an average of $37 per week. This means that on average American workers are shelling out nearly $2,000 a year on lunch alone.

• The younger workforce shells out more for lunch than their older counterparts. Younger professionals (18–34) spend more on lunch during the week than those aged 45+ ($44.78 vs. $31.80, respectively).


Differences with lunch and coffee purchases during the week are not limited to just age. Men tend to purchase and spend more than women on food and beverages at work, buying more coffee (54% vs. 45%) and lunch (69% vs. 62%) during the week than women.  In addition, men spend nearly two times more than their female counterparts on lunch ($46.30 vs. $26.50) and coffee ($25.70 vs. $15.00) during the week.

The survey also found that paying down personal debt, selected by 43% of those surveyed, is the most common financial change American workers plan to focus on in 2012. Long-​term savings goals, such as contributing to their company’s 401(k), were chosen by 23%, while setting up an emergency savings fund, chosen by 27%, are not as much a priority in the year ahead.

One change they plan to make: A third of all those surveyed, and 45% of younger workers, plan to bring in lunch in 2012.

[Source:  "Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey."  Braun Research/​Accounting Principals.  Jan. 2012.  Web.  24 Jan. 2012.]