Last month, Mark Cuban made headlines by telling people they could save money by refraining from purchasing coffee and eating out. He was criticized for being out of touch.

In an effort to understand how much workers are spending on dining out as well as their current financial situation, in September, surveyed 800 corporate workers who go into the office on a weekly basis.

Key findings:

  • 71% of workers buy lunch 3+ times a week; half spend $20 or more per lunch
  • 1 in 5 workers purchase at least one coffee daily
  • 75% of workers say having an extra $250/mo would make a difference in their lives
  • More than half are worried about their finances
  • 1 in 4 workers say it’s hard to keep up with monthly expenses
  • One-third have credit card debt

71% of workers buy lunch 3+ days/wk

Instead of eating at home or packing a lunch, at least three times a week, 71% of workers say they purchase lunch. Ten percent say they buy lunch five days a week, and 25% say four times a week. Nearly half (48%) say the average cost per lunch is $20 or more.

Many workers also purchase breakfast during the workweek. Sixty-percent of workers say they buy breakfast at least three times a week, and 10% say they buy breakfast everyday. Forty-four percent of workers say they spend $15 or more per breakfast.

1 in 5 workers buy coffee everyday

During the workweek, many workers are also purchasing coffee. Twenty-one percent of workers say they buy coffee everyday, and 90% buy it on a weekly basis.

Nearly two-thirds of coffee purchasers spend more than $5 on each coffee. Additionally, many workers admit they buy more than one coffee per day.

“If your budget is tight and you could really use an extra couple of hundred dollars per month, then you’ve got to be proactive and make some changes to your spending,” says Gates Little, CEO of altLINE at The Southern Bank Company.

“But purchases like this are so easy to overlook because first of all, they’re necessary – we’ve got to eat – and secondly, they can go under the radar because they’re small purchases. But the problem is they add up, and if we get lazy with our budget, we often don’t even care to know how much they’re adding up to each week.

“That’s where the biggest part of the problem is – avoiding our budget altogether because we know that we could easily save money by giving up these little pleasures. But if you can force yourself into the habit of bulk buying ingredients to prepare lunch at home, including your coffee, you’ll appreciate the savings. And it doesn’t even have to be everyday of the week. Start with a couple of days of homemade lunches and take it from there.

“We don’t often think of our workday lunch and coffee as ‘eating out’ but that’s just what it is – and with service fees and tips on top of sky-high inflation, eating out has never been more expensive.”

3 in 4 workers say an additional $250/month would make a difference in their lives

Regardless of their willingness to spend on dining out, most workers feel a couple hundred dollars each month, the amount many spend on dining out, would make a difference in their lives.

Seventy-five percent of workers say having an additional $250/month would make a difference in their lives. Additionally, among those who don’t agree an extra $250/month would make a difference, 60% say $500/month would.

Nearly half of workers are worried about their financial situation, and 25% say it’s difficult to keep up with monthly expenses.

Furthermore, half of workers have some type of debt, and one-third have credit card debt specifically.

Of workers with debt, half are worried about paying it back. In fact, 30% of debt holders say the debt they owe is increasing each month.

“It’s often the small, daily expenses that we overlook when budgeting. It’s because we don’t see these expenses as significant – for instance, seeing your balance go down by $5 for a cup of coffee seems negligible compared to larger expenses like rent or car payments,” says Ricardo Pina, founder of The Modest Wallet. “However, these small purchases can really add up over time and impact our overall financial situation.”

“That being said, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself occasionally. The key word here is “occasionally.” If you find yourself buying coffee or meals multiple times a week or daily, it may be time to reassess your spending habits. Instead of buying coffee every day, consider bringing a thermos or investing in a coffee machine for your morning caffeine fix. Prep and pack lunches at home instead of eating out every day.

“Budgeting doesn’t have to mean completely cutting out all small luxuries. It’s about finding a balance and making responsible choices with your money. You may be surprised at how much you can save by making small changes in your daily spending habits.”


This survey was commissioned by and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish. It was launched on September 21, 2023, and 800 respondents completed the full survey.

To qualify for the survey all participants had to be employed for wages full-time with at least 11 employees at their company. All respondents were screened to include only those with a career in an office/corporate environment.

To avoid bias Pollfish employs Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure both random and organic surveying. Learn more about Pollfish’s survey methodology or contact [email protected] for more information.