About Us  |  About Cheetah®  |  Contact Us

Survey finds American workers spend an average of $3000 a year on coffee and lunch at work

American workers spend an alarmingly high amount of their hard earned cash on somewhat average daily expenses, according to a new Workonomix survey by Accounting Principals. The survey found that 50 percent of the American workforce spends approximately $1000 a year on coffee, or a weekly coffee habit of more than $20. And the spending doesn’t stop there. Two thirds (66 percent) of working Americans buy their lunch instead of packing it, costing them an average of $37 per week — nearly $2,000 a year.

Despite these high costs, the survey suggests workers are unclear about the biggest drain to their wallet. When asked which work expense they most want to be reimbursed for by their employer, 42 percent of employees chose commuting costs and only 11 percent chose lunch expenses. However, the average American’s commuting cost is $123 a month or approximately $1500 a year, which is well below the average annual lunch tab of $2000.

“Small — but consistent — expenses add up quickly over time, and it can be difficult for consumers to realize it because they’re only spending a few dollars at a time. But, as our survey shows, those few dollars can quickly turn into a few thousand dollars,” said Jodi Chavez, senior vice president, Accounting Principals. “Additionally, when you look at it over a worker’s lifetime, that number grows exponentially. Consider the average American who works for about 40 years, starting their first job around age 22. By the time they retire at age 62 they would have spent at minimum $120,000 on coffee and lunch, not including inflation.”

This is especially true for young American workers. The survey found that younger professionals (ages 18-34) spend almost twice as much on coffee during the week than those ages 45+ ($24.74 vs. $14.15, respectively). They also shell out more for lunch, spending an average of $44.78 per week on lunch compared to their older colleagues who spend $31.80 per week. However, it seems American workers of all ages are starting to realize the effect this incremental spending has on their personal bottom line. According to the survey, one-third (35 percent) of employees have made it a financial goal to bring lunch instead of buying it in 2012.

Other survey findings include:

  • Better food and coffee in the office might help cut back personal spending. Perhaps because of how much they’re spending outside the office, American workers would like companies to invest in better food and drinks in the office. One-quarter (25 percent) of Americans wish their company would invest in better vending machine snacks and 22 percent of American workers would like their company to invest in better coffee in the office.
  • Employers should focus on the “simple pleasures” to keep employees happy. Although better food and drinks would be a plus, employees most want to see their companies invest in better office equipment (46 percent) and more comfortable office chairs (32 percent) in 2012.
  • Corporate discounts do not factor into employees’ purchase decisions. Companies looking to attract new candidates shouldn’t focus on corporate discounts as a selling point. The majority (82 percent) of employees say corporate discounts matter little or not at all when buying a new product or service.

“As the recovery gains momentum and companies look to attract and retain talent, they should consider worrying less about big-ticket discounts and focus instead on what will impact their employees’ happiness every day,” said Chavez. “Small improvements around the office, such as better equipment, food and drinks, can make a big difference in workers’ morale. After all it is often the little things in life that tend to make people the happiest.”

Source: Accounting Principals; www.accountingprincipals.com.

Transgender employees can sue state benefits administrator under Title VII

May 18th, 2018

By Nicole D. Prysby, J.D.
Transgender employees’ Title VII claims against the state entities administering health plans and deciding coverage may go forward, held a federal district court in Wisconsin. The employees sued their employer as well as the state entities responsible for administering benefits and deciding on coverage, alleging discrimination because the state employee health [Read more...]


Lyft follows Uber’s lead to not require confidentiality, mandatory arbitration of sexual assault, harassment claims

May 18th, 2018

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.
Following the domino-like effect still playing out as a result of the #MeToo movement, Lyft has jumped onboard with an announcement that it is getting rid of confidentiality and mandatory arbitration requirements for passengers, drivers, and employees who raise sexual assault and sexual harassment claims. The move comes in the wake of [Read more...]


Fired prison health aide may have been ‘one too many pregnant workers’

May 17th, 2018

By Lisa Milam-Perez, J.D.
Reviving a pregnancy discrimination claim brought by a prison medication aide who ostensibly was terminated for violating the protocol against fraternizing with inmates, the Tenth Circuit noted her supervisor’s angry lament that “I have too many pregnant workers,” as well as the shifting reasons for her discharge, among other factors, in concluding [Read more...]


Events allegedly relegating EPA employee to ‘professional purgatory’ weren’t adverse actions

May 17th, 2018

By Kathleen Kapusta, J.D.
Rejecting an EPA employee’s assertion that he was relegated to “professional purgatory” when his supervisors undermined his authority and placed barriers in his way by excluding him from a meeting where one of his projects was discussed, assigning a briefing paper to his subordinate rather than to him, and allowing one of [Read more...]


Arizona employer owed no duty of care for secondary asbestos exposure to employee’s child

May 17th, 2018

By Nicole D. Prysby, J.D.
No special relationship existed between an employer and the son of an employee and therefore, the employer owed the son no duty of care regarding secondary exposure to asbestos, held the Arizona Supreme Court. After the son’s death from mesothelioma, the family sued the employer, arguing that the father, who worked [Read more...]