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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.

Delaware governor signs legislation restricting drivers’ cell phone use

July 14th, 2010

Delaware has became the next state to restrict cell phone use while driving. Governor Jack Markell (D) signed legislation requiring motorists to use a hands-free device while driving. Sponsored by Rep. Darryl M. Scott, House Substitute 1 for House Bill 229 takes effect January 2, 2011. The comprehensive statewide restriction requires drivers to use a [Read more...]


Study shows anonymous whistleblowers less likely to be believed

July 13th, 2010

According to a new study, corporate directors, who are ultimately responsible for internal whistleblowing systems, often do not take action at all regarding anonymous allegations, even when the allegation involves very serious accounting breaches. However, if an identical non-anonymous allegation surfaces, audit committees often launch into action and the corporate director allocates significant resources to [Read more...]


NELP reports on model state hiring initiatives to reduce barriers to employment for individuals with criminal records

July 13th, 2010

Nationwide, over 20 cities and counties – six more just in the past year – have taken steps to reduce barriers to employment for individuals with criminal records, reports the National Employment Law Project (NELP). Several states have now followed suit, building on the successful track record of the local hiring initiatives. These local hiring initiatives [Read more...]


Toll of stress impacting health care costs, absenteeism and workplace safety, according to survey

July 12th, 2010

Employers understand the detrimental effects stress is having on their organizations, and are responding with multiple strategies to help workers cope, a recent survey by Buck Consultants indicates.
The survey, “Stress in the Workplace,” identifies the areas most affected by stress and the strategies employed by organizations to reduce stress for their workers. The research was [Read more...]


Immigration-related pattern or practice bias suit filed against Georgia rug manufacturer and seller

July 12th, 2010

The DOJ filed suit against Garland Sales Inc, a rug manufacturer and seller located in Dalton, Georgia, alleging it engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary and discriminatory hurdles to employment for work-authorized individuals.
According to the DOJ findings, Garland required all non-US citizen applicants to present certain work authorization documents. The [Read more...]