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Financial Literacy for Everyone

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Visa Survey Shows Americans Who Eat Lunch Out Spend $936 Per Year

Men outspend women on a weekly basis by 44%

September 25, 2013

Foster City – September 25, 2013 – A new survey by Visa shows that Americans go out to eat for lunch, an average of nearly twice a week and spend $10 per outing. That works out to an average of $18 per week or $936 per year. Men both outspent women at the lunch counter and were also more likely to eat lunch out. They outspend women on a weekly basis by 44%. Of those that eat lunch out, women spend an average of just under $15 per week and men spend about $21.

Shockingly, 1% of people spend more than $50 per lunch or close to $5,000 a year. On the other end of spectrum, 30% of respondents said that they didn't buy lunch out at all.

"Simple choices have a large impact on your wallet. Don't blow your budget on burgers and fries," says Nat Sillin Visa's head of U.S. Financial Education. "Clipping a coupon, choosing a less expensive item or brown bagging it can save you hundreds over the course of a year. Eating lunch at a restaurant isn't a bad thing, but it has to fit within your budget. Going into debt for a tuna sandwich isn't worth it."

Troublingly, respondents who said they make less than $25k per year spent more per meal, at $11.70, than those in any other income bracket. In contrast, those earning over $50,000 per year spent an average of $9.60 per meal; a difference of 22%.

Additionally, regional disparities exist between those who eat lunch out as well:

  • Southerners lead the regions of the country in spending per week. 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 went out for lunch 1.7 times a week and spent 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 only ate out 1.5 times a week but spent 14% more per meal than the national average at $11.40 for a weekly total of $17.10.

Interview Availability: Nat Sillin, head of Visa's U.S. financial education programs, Practical Money Skills for Life ( and What's My Score (, is available for interviews to discuss the survey findings as well as offer consumers tips on how they can budget properly. Contact: Hugh Norton, (703) 683-5004 ext. 133

** The results contained in this report are based on interviews conducted from August 23 – 25, 2013 in cooperation with GfK'sOmniTel. A nationally representative telephone omnibus survey of 1,005 interviews among adults aged 18+ were completed, with 753 respondents on landlines and 252 respondents on cellular telephones.


Contact: Will Gale for Visa Inc., (336) 681-1274