According to a September 2013 study by Visa, Americans who eat out for lunch spend nearly $936 a year on average, solely on lunch. This breaks down to about $18 a week, or eating out twice a week at nearly $10 per outing.
Looking to cut back and save that money for something else? By preparing a meal at home or buying frozen those two days (based on an average frozen meal cost of $4, lunches can be prepared fresh at home for even less), peope can save an estimated $10 a week or more, roughly equaling $520 a year.
This is enough to pay for:
- A bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne 2002 ($440) and 1 oz. of Royal Imperial Caviar ($80)
- 16G iPad Air with Wi-Fi compatibility ($499)
- Charter a Schweizer 300C helicopter for one hour, day or night ($400-500)
- 3,360 Marshmallow Peeps ($511 for 28 cases of 24 packages of Peeps, with 5 peeps per package)
- Round-trip flight from Seattle, Washington to Honolulu, Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines ($408)
- MICHAEL Michael Kors Large Hamilton Traveler (purse, $398) and a MICHAEL Michael Kors Large Jet Set Multifunction Phone case (wallet, $98)
Other findings of the Visa Lunch Spending Survey:
- Men outspend women on a weekly basis by 44 percent.
- 1 percent of people surveyed spend more than $50 per lunch. That adds up to close to $5,000 a year.
- 30 percent of respondents said that they never bought lunch out.
- Respondents who said they make less than $25K per year spent more per meal, at $11.70, than those in any other income bracket.
- Those earning over $50,000 per year spent an average of $9.60 per meal; a difference of 22 percent.
- 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 spent the least, going out for lunch 1.7 times a week and spending 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 ate out 1.5 times a week but spent 14 percent more per meal than the national average at $11.40 for a weekly total of $17.10.