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How Much Do You Spend On Lunch? Visa Survey Shows $936 Annually

From the Editor's Desk 

Visa Survey Shows Americans Who Eat Lunch Out Spend $936 Per Year: 

Men outspend women on a weekly basis by 44%

Picture3A survey by Visa shows that Americans go out to eat for lunch, an average of nearly twice a week and spend $10 per outing. That works out to an average of $18 per week or $936 per year. Men both outspent women at the lunch counter and were also more likely to eat lunch out. They outspend women on a weekly basis by 44%. Of those that eat lunch out, women spend an average of just under $15 per week and men spend about $21.

Shockingly, 1% of people spend more than $50 per lunch or close to $5,000 a year.  On the other end of spectrum, 30% of respondents said that they didn’t buy lunch out at all.

“Simple choices have a large impact on your wallet.  Don’t blow your budget on burgers and fries,” says Nat Sillin Visa’s head of U.S. Financial Education.  “Clipping a coupon, choosing a less expensive item or brown bagging it can save you hundreds over the course of a year.  Eating lunch at a restaurant isn’t a bad thing, but it has to fit within your budget.  Going into debt for a tuna sandwich isn’t worth it.”

Troublingly, respondents who said they make less than $25k per year spent more per meal, at $11.70, than those in any other income bracket.  In contrast, those earning over $50,000 per year spent an average of $9.60 per meal; a difference of 22%.

Additionally, regional disparities exist between those who eat lunch out as well:

  • Southerners lead the regions of the country in spending per week.  The average Southerner eats out twice per week, spending $10 each time for an average of $20 per week.
  • Westerners mirrored the national average spending $10 per lunch 1.8 times a week for an average of $18 per week on lunch.
  • Midwesterners went out for lunch 1.7 times a week and spent only $8.90 per meal.  They averaged $15.13 per week
  • Northeasterners ate their lunches out the least often but splurged the most when they did.  In the Northeast respondents only ate out 1.5 times a week but spent 14% more per meal than the national average at $11.40 for a weekly total of $17.10.

Editor's questions: How often do you eat lunch out? Have you ever truly stopped to consider how much you spend or how much you could save if you cut back? We'd love to know. 

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