Company 'Perks'?

Half of American workforce buys coffee at work, spending more than $20 a week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Half (50%) of the American workforce buys coffee regularly at work, spending more than $20 a week on coffee, an average of approximately $1,000 a year, according to the Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey for 2012.

Accounting Principals polled employed Americans about their financial attitudes closing out 2011 and looking forward to 2012. The survey also looked into the amount of money people spend on work related expenses. The telephone survey was conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Accounting Principals among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 employed Americans aged 18 and older. The survey was fielded between December 22 and December 27, 2011.

Nearly one quarter (22%) of American workers wish their company would invest in better coffee in the office. And younger professionals (18 to 34) spend almost twice as much on coffee during the week than those aged 45 and above ($24.74 vs. $14.15, respectively).

And workers prefer to buy rather than pack their lunch. Two thirds (66%) of American workers buy their lunch instead of packing and bringing it, spending an average of $37 per week. This means that on average American workers are shelling out nearly $2,000 a year on lunch alone.

Perhaps workers are starting to realize the effect buying lunch has on their personal bottom line, said Accounting Principals; in 2012, one third (35%) of employees have made it a financial goal to bring lunch instead of buy it.

The younger workforce shells out more for lunch than their older counterparts. Younger professionals (18 to 34) spend more on lunch during the week than those aged 45 and above ($44.78 vs. $31.80, respectively).

This higher spending is felt by younger employees, as many (45%) plan to bring lunch in 2012 to cut down expenses.

Differences with lunch and coffee purchases during the week are not limited to just age, said the report. Men tend to purchase and spend more than women on food and beverages at work.

Men buy more coffee (54% vs. 45%) and lunch (69% vs. 62%) during the week compared to

women. And men spend nearly two times more than their female counterparts on lunch ($46.30 vs. $26.50) and coffee ($25.70 vs. $15.00) during the week.

But American workers are unclear on what's the biggest drain on their wallet, it added. When asked which work expense they most want to be reimbursed for, 42% of employees chose commuting costs and only 11% chose lunch expenses.

The survey found American workers spend less money on their commuting costs than they do on lunch, however. American's who pay for their commuting expenses pay an average of $123 a month to get to work. This translates to approximately $1,500 a year on commuting expenses, well below the average annual lunch tab of $2,000 a year.

Working Americans value good food and drinks in the workplace, Accounting Principals said. Perhaps because of how much they are spending outside the office, respondents would appreciate more company investment in vending machine snacks (25%), coffee (22%) or tea and other hot beverages (17%).

Younger workers (18 to 34) are more likely to want their company to invest in better food options in the company's vending machines than their more senior colleagues aged 45 and above (35% vs. 21%).

Click here to view the full survey, including charts, as well as data on employee reimbursement, bonuses and financial habits and planning.