Brown-Bagging like a Billionaire

I recently came across a survey put out by Visa, studying the amount of money Americans spend on eating lunch out. Many of the results weren’t too surprising to me, as I am certainly guilty when it comes to eating out.

As a single guy, I’ve always had trouble making grocery shopping cost effective. I go to the grocery store, thinking I’ll buy ingredients to make, say, loaded nachos, and end up spending $30 to buy the ingredients I need. Many times, I’ve actually ended up putting my items back on the shelves, and heading for Chipotle, head down and grocery-specific ego deflated. I like to think I am financially savvy in most areas. In grocery shopping, not so much. And so I end up eating out a lot. America, apparently, can relate.

The Visa survey found that Americans go out to eat for lunch an average of twice per week, spending around $10 each time. That sounds about right to me, but this was the finding that I found shocking: the amount spent had an inverse relationship with the average income of the eater.

That’s right, an inverse relationship. What does that mean? Respondents in the lowest income bracket recorded, those making under $25K per year, spent the most on their lunches. Yes, those with the least discretionary income spent more than those with unlimited discretionary income.

This got me thinking, what is driving those spending patterns? Once again, it appears to be an issue of financial literacy. I remember hearing Dave Ramsey say once, “the people you see working out are rarely the ones who need to.” The same goes for spending. Often, the wealthy become wealthy because of the habits they have acquired throughout life: saving instead of spending, and being frugal when others are carefree. It turns out much of that mindset is what got them brownbaglunchapplethere in the first place.

So today, if you want to dine like a billionaire, pack your lunch.

Want to learn more about expenses in business and life? Check out our episode from Season 2: “Income & Expenses.”