$5 here, $37 there: Americans' indulgences add up

NEW YORK Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:19pm EST

A barista makes espresso in New York, February 26, 2008.  REUTERS/Keith Bedford/Handout

A barista makes espresso in New York, February 26, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Keith Bedford/Handout

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Those venti lattes add up.

U.S. workers spend more than $1,000 a year on coffee and another $2,000 on lunch, with men and young workers more willing to indulge in a $5 coffee than women or older colleagues, according to a survey of Americans' workplace spending habits.

The survey, by Accounting Principals, a unit of staffing services company Adecco SA, found that U.S. workers, on average, spend $37 per week for lunch, but men spend more: $47 a week, versus $27 for women. Men also pay more for coffee -- $26 a week is typical -- and are more likely to complain about the selection of office vending machines.

One of the sharpest differences is between young workers and older ones. Professionals between 18 and 34 spend almost $25 a week on coffee, $11 more than co-workers over age 45, Accounting Principals said. Such free-spending ways may be changing. Nearly half of the young vow to save this year by bringing lunch to the office.

Americans' total annual bill for coffee and lunch is double the $1,500 a year spent on commuting to work, said the poll, which surveyed 1,000 currently employed Americans and was conducted last month.

Office workers are not clamoring for change, however. Asked whether their bosses should upgrade the lunch room or buy better coffee, workers said comfortable chairs and better computer equipment are bigger priorities.

(Reporting By Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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