Americans are Spending $2,746 Every Year on Lunch

November 6, 2015, Written By Natalie Rutledge
Group Of Friends Meeting For Lunch In Coffee Shop

If your budget–or waistline–needs trimming, you may want to take a look at what you are doing for lunch.

According to a Visa study, Americans are spending about $53 each week on lunch, or $2,746 per year.

While 42% of Americans eat lunch at home, those who work full-time stay closer to work (53%). 26% of full-time employees eat at their desks.

The report was intended to raise consumer awareness about saving and budgeting. To help improve American spending habits, Visa also introduced a free Lunch Tracker app for iOS that will help consumers become more aware of their spending. The app will calculate how much a consumer is spending monthly and annually on lunch.

Users can also take a 30-Day Challenge to start saving money, learn cost-cutting tips and share photos of meals to show their family and friends their progress.

Additional findings include:

  • Men outspent women by 60% and were more likely to eat out.
  • 1% of the respondents reported spending more than $50 per lunch, on average, which adds up to more than $9,000 a year.
  • 32% of respondents reported that they never bought lunch from a restaurant.
  • On average, the respondents who did report eating out purchased lunch from a restaurant twice each week and spent more than $11 per outing. Consumers spent only $6.30 per day when preparing their own lunch.
  • While homemakers went out less often than other groups, they spent more when they did. The average expenditure was $17.60.
  • Southerners lead the nation in both frequency of lunches out and the amount spent. Southern respondents reported eating out at least twice per week and spending $1,240 a year eating lunch out. Overall, they spent $2,953 a year on lunch.
  • Consumers in the Northeast were the second highest spenders. When eating out, they spent, on average, $1,001 on lunch. Overall, they spent $2,893.
  • People in the Midwest spent about $896 dining out and $2,519 total.
  • Respondents in the West spent $866 eating out and an overall $2,489 on lunches.

“At home or ordering food, small choices have a big impact. Paying attention to what you are spending is essential to financial wellbeing,” said Nat Sillin, global head of financial literacy at Visa Inc. “Most people may not realize that they are spending over $50 a week on lunch. Visa is excited to offer the new Lunch Tracker app to help consumers form better spending habits.”

The results, which are based on 2,033 telephone interviews conduction July 16 through 19 and August 6 through 9, are a part of Visa’s financial education program, Practical Money Skills for Life. It was launched in 1995 and is available in 10 languages in more than 30 countries.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 6, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Natalie Rutledge

Natalie Rutledge majored in Communications at Mississippi State University. She was in sales for a number of businesses and spent nine years working as a communications advisor to various entities. Natalie can be contacted directly at [email protected]
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