If one of your resolutions this year is to save more money, you might want to start with your coffee budget. Staffing firm Accounting Principals surveyed 1,000 employed Americans about their work-related spending habits and found that almost half regularly buy coffee while they're at work -- spending about $1,092 a year, in fact, or more than $20 a week.
And that's only the beginning: in addition to buying coffee, two-thirds of those surveyed buy their lunches rather than packing last night's leftovers, spending about $37 per week, or nearly $2,000 annually. That's a total of about $3,000 on coffee and lunch, some of which was well-spent and some of which probably could have been better spent on rent and vacations and pets and other things that make happy, productive employees.
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More interesting, perhaps, than the raw numbers are the spending habits of the young versus old and the women versus the men. The survey found that younger professionals between 18 and 34 spend considerably more on coffee than do workers 45 or older. They also laid out about $45 per week on the midday meal, versus about $32 for those 45 and over.
The survey also found that men buy coffee and lunches more frequently than women, shelling out, for example, an average of $46.30 per week on lunch, versus just $26.50 for women. However, the survey revealed that lunchtime expenditures noticeably decreased for both groups with age, suggesting that it only takes a decade or two to realize that regularly spending money on subpar office lunches isn't really a fair trade for the time you spend packing your own meal.
The survey asked respondents about their financial wishes and goals for this year. Reflecting the sorry state of most breakroom pantries, a full quarter of both men and women, particularly those among the younger groups, wished their company would invest in better vending machine snacks and 22% wished the office coffee machine dripped better-quality coffee.
Unfortunately for the majority of us who don't work for Google or Apple, your boss probably is more concerned about your billables than the office edibles, so we suggest you invest in your very own cubicle coffee survival kit, buy your own fresh beans, and make your own fresh cup every morning. Then, join the 45% of young professionals surveyed who plan to brown-bag their own lunch this year and focus on using the money saved to pay off credit card and other debts. Starting with the debts incurred buying coffee every day, hopefully.