9/26/2013 12:42 PM ET|
What Americans spend on lunch
While 30% of workers skip eating out, a few average $50 per meal. You'll be surprised at which income group spends the most on average.
Admittedly, just being able to swipe a card and eat makes it a lot easier, but that also makes those meals add up. A survey of 1,005 U.S. workers conducted by Visa (V) found that 70% of them go out for lunch and spend an average of $936 a year doing so. That doesn't count runs to Starbucks (SBUX) or Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN) for coffee or trips to the vending machine or newsstand. The figure is just straight-up lunch.
U.S. workers go out an average of about twice a week and keep it to $10 per outing, which is a whole lot easier to do when your office isn't surrounded by eateries or food trucks. However, the regional differences in spending have little to do with cuisine and, seemingly, a whole lot more to do with weather and cost.
That's still less than the 1% of all Americans who spend $50 per lunch, or $5,000 a year. We realize that sometimes a client needs to be impressed or that your lunch place of choice gets upgraded as you climb the company ranks. But the Visa survey indicates that it isn't always the folks in the corner offices spending their hour slicing up a steak at Delmonico's.
Those who said they make less than $25,000 per year spent more per meal, at $11.70, than those in any other income bracket. By contrast, those earning more than $50,000 per year spent an average of $9.60 per meal. That's a 22% swing between the haves and have-nots.
However, the smartest folks in the survey just might be the 30% who don't eat lunch out at all. If you can save almost $1,000 a year by brown-bagging it (or fasting), maybe that sub or kebab can wait.
Leftovers, brown bags, and frozen dinners. Going out to eat should be something special, not an everyday occurrence. I average $2.00 a day. Having a mini-fridge in the office also makes it easier.
Better for your wallet, better for your health.
"Those who said they make less than $25,000 per year spent more per meal."
Seriously, why do these people just keep making one bad financial decision after another? And then they have the gall to whine about not being paid enough and not being able to get by. Figure it out already!
As a midwesterner, I pack my lunch everyday with only eating out on occasion. It is too expensive to eat out all the time. My spouse however, eats out for lunch enough for the both of us. I am trying to reel him in to pack his lunch at least a couple times a week but the temptation of driving through fast food is hard to beat. For anyone struggling for money, take my advice and pack leftovers! It is much cheaper. Besides I want to keep our money for things that are really fun and not waste on food that never lasts and only adds extra weight to my body.
I brown bag it. Occasionally, maybe once every other week I go to Subway.
A few years back I had a job that required me to take clients out to lunch almost every day. At first it was fun, but after 6 months or so, I yearned for my own home cooked leftovers. No really. :)
There was also that pesky 15 lbs that kept accumulating around my middle due to the high fat/salt content of the average restaurant lunch. I had to really up my gym time to keep the tide at bay.
I'm now in a position where my clients are all internal. I still take them out to lunch now and then, but because it's occasional, it's fun and a treat for us both.
I enjoy going out to eat but rarely had a job that I did not have to eat and get back to the office within 45 min. or an hour. No fun hurrying up.
Speaking of cost, I betcha many people spend a whole lot more boozing and smoking it up than eating out. Just have to set your priorities straight along with a sound budge. We will not even talk about those that use illegal drugs.
You would be saving about $1000-the cost of a brown bag lunch for each day you go out. That would depend on how pricey you make your lunch. For me, it might average above $5, that means saving only about $10 per week, or $500 per year.
It does cost more, but for me, it is a tradeoff for increased happiness. It is a chance to hang out and socialize with coworkers, distress, come back to work fresh, as well as eat something that may be a bit different (better?) than what you would make for yourself.
Like anything, there is a balance to be found. If you are poor than, yeah, probably don’t go out every day for lunch, but otherwise, why worry?
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