| December 7, 2015

We Spend a Lot on Lunch

Americans spend thousands, often leading to budget problems.

Whether eating lunch at home, school or work, for some Americans lunchtime is alone time – time to relax and recharge for the second half of the day. For others it is a time to run errands or catchup with co-workers. Regardless of how we spend our lunchtime it usually involves food, which also involves money – an average of $53.00 a week or $2,746 per year. And while that may seem like a hefty price tag, there is one percent who report spending more than $50 per lunch on average or more than $9,000 a year.

 

These are the findings of a survey by Visa conducted earlier this year to “call consumers” attention to opportunities to save and budget in discretionary spending.” They surveyed 2,033 American consumers and found:

Americans spend, on average, $20 per week or $1,043 per year at the lunch counter. They ate out about twice a week costing them almost double what they’d spend if they had prepared their own ($11.00 versus $6.30). Homemakers went out for lunch the least, but when they did, they dished out an average of $17.60 per meal.

“At home or ordering food, small choices have a big impact. Paying attention to what you are spending is essential to financial wellbeing,” Nat Sillin, global head of financial literacy at Visa Inc. says. “Most people may not realize that they are spending over $50 a week on lunch.”

Who needs to take heed the most? According to the survey:

  • Men outspent women by 60 percent on a weekly basis and were more likely to eat out
  • Students ate lunch out more often than any other segment and spent the most on average weekly – $27.47
  • Southerners ate out twice per week, spending an average of $1,240 a year. On combined lunches (restaurant t and their own) they outspent the general population by over $200 ($2,953 versus $2,746).
  • Unemployed Americans ate lunch out more than once a week, spending over $15 on average.

These numbers are enough to take a bite out of any budget.

To help consumes “form better spending habits” and to keep track of their daily lunch expenditures, Visa is introducing an app for that. The Lunch Tracker app for iOS is to “help consumers become more aware of their spending so they can take steps to improve their spending habits.”

“Grabbing a bite out may seem like no big deal but in the same vein that pennies add up and can lead to big savings, small and consistent purchases be it on lunch or otherwise do add up and can drain the unprepared budget,” Consolidated Credit’s Education Director April Lewis-Parks says. “While there’s nothing inherently wrong about eating a restaurant cooked meal once in a while, consistent trips can take a big bite out of your wallet and budget.”

Parks adds: “Before accepting every lunch offer, make sure your budget allows it. Otherwise bag your lunch and keep money in your wallet. Trim the fat from your budget – from coffee runs to cutting energy cost at home, to saving on gas.”

For more areas to cut back on and increase savings check out these smart spending tips. And if you need help crafting a budget check out our Budgeting section or download our Budgeting App.

If you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and in debt as a result, give us a call at to see if we can help you. You can also start by taking our free debt analysis online.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

All Consolidated Credit counselors are certified personal financial counselors (CFC) We've helped 5 million people get out of debt! Call us today and see what we can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

The National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling are a set of guidelines for quality homeownership and counseling services. Industry professionals who adopt these standards can be trusted to provide consistent, high quality advice.
Click here to learn more.

Consolidated Credit Consulting Services, Inc. has been verified as the owner or operator of the Web site located at www.consolidatedcredit.org. Official records confirm Consolidated Credit Consulting Services, Inc. as a valid business. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is a Certified ISO 9001 company, as verified through Bureau Veritas Certification.

Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

View the Consolidatedcredit.org review status

Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

View the Consolidatedcredit.org review status

Consolidated Credit is proud to be an ANAB accredited member. Accreditation by a recognized and respected body such as ANAB ensures the impartiality and competence of our company. To see what we can do for you, give us a call.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. Consolidated Credit is proud to be a member of HUD and also part of the Hope Now Alliance.

You can save!

With this amount of debt, you'd pay around $xx.xx on a DMP.

FREE Debt Consultation
VE Interactive