Coffee, Lunch Spending Tops Tax Refunds

Want to save $2,000 a year? Pack your lunch. Wanna save another grand? Fill a thermos with coffee while you're at it.

The average amount working Americans spend on coffee and lunch is more than the average tax return refund they will receive, with two-thirds of American workers buying their lunches, according to a survey by Accounting Principals, a staffing and recruitment firm. The average spent on lunch alone is $37 a week, or $2,000 a year.

The survey found noticeable workplace spending differences by gender and age. Men spend $46.50 a week while women spend $26.50 on lunches.

Americans spend more money on their lunches than on their commuting costs, which was average of $123 a month, or $1,500 a  year.

Accounting Principals asked Braun Research to conduct a telephone survey of 1,000 employed Americans, 18 and older, from Dec. 22 to 27.  The survey found men tend to purchase and spend more on coffee than women, 54 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

Half of Americans buy coffee regularly at work, spending more than $20 a week, or $1,000 a  year. Younger professionals ages 18 to 34, spend nearly twice as much on coffee - $24.74 - during the week than those ages 45 and up - $14.15.

The average tax refund in 2011 was $2,913, according to Yahoo Finance.

Americans are not planning to use their year-end bonuses on food or drink, however. The survey found 57 percent of employed Americans plan to use their year-end bonus to pay off debt.

And, according to the survey, one-third of employees have a financial goal of bringing their lunch to work in 2012.