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How to Make an Extra $3000 Per Year


What would you do with an extra $2000-$3000? Accounting Principals asked Braun Research to survey 1,000 employed Americans over the age of 18 that produced some stunning results about spending habits. The evidence shows that seemingly small spending habits can really add up over the course of a year.


Half 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. This purchase might come to mind next time you find yourself wondering where all your money has gone. A few bucks each day really adds up. To make matters worse, younger professionals (18-34) spend almost twice as much on coffee during the week than those aged 45+ ($24.74 vs. $14.15, respectively).

Eating out versus packing from home

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. If you are in the 18-34 year range, you may be spending about $4,000 total per year on eating out and coffee. Holy moly.

Think your commuting costs are high?

When asked which work expense they most want to be reimbursed for, 42% of employees chose commuting costs and only 11% chose lunch expenses.

However, the survey found American workers spend less money on their commuting costs than they do on lunch. American’s who pay for their commuting expenses pay an average of $123 a month to get to work. This translates to approximately $1500/year on commuting expenses, well below the average annual lunch tab of $2,000 a year. I’d be curious to see what locations these statistics came from or if it’s an average of our whole country. My husband walks to work and I drive our car to my multiple jobs. Between driving to/from work and any other driving we do (gym, church, grocery store, visiting friends/family, etc.) we spend around $250/month on gas. That comes out to $3,000 per year, a little more than the average commuting cost according to this survey and that’s mainly from one person since my husband doesn’t use the car much.

What changes could you make to your daily routine that would add up in savings over time? If you absolutely need your morning coffee, purchasing a Keurig with the reusable k-cups may pay off in the long run if it will save you both time and money by not driving through Starbucks on your way to work. One change could be taking leftovers from dinner for your lunch; simply make a few extra servings of your entrée and pack it in your cooler. Lunch doesn’t have to mean boring sandwiches (need some lunch ideas?) If already pack your lunch, another money-saver could be ditching the disposable paper bags and Ziplocs and use an insulated lunch bag and Tupperware. The options are endless but can add up over time with a little planning ahead. I’ll take that extra $2,000 anytime, please and thanks.

What small purchases do you make that add up over the year? Have you made any small changes to save money?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Wow! I can relate to the coffee! I’ll try to make a Frappe here at home so I don’t have to go out.

    • Niiiice maybe you should post that frappe recipe for any other readers who might want to try it. Like myself 🙂

  2. Great tip on saving even when packing a lunch — no more Ziplock baggies. I actually want to make reusable sleeves from fabric for sandwiches. They’re cute, practical and save cash.

  3. FYI that K cup coffee costs about $50 per pound as opposed to ~$5-10 per pound depending on the brand. Not a great cost savings, IMHO.

    • Good point, that’s why I recommended the reusable k-cup so you can use your own coffee with the machine.

  4. This is why free coffee at work is such a nice benefit. If I do need a cup of coffee, I go with McDonalds. It costs only $1.

  5. Jessica,
    As you mentioned in the article, it says that 42% said they’d rather have their commuting costs paid than lunch every day.
    Well, I’m in that category. So if they asked me the question I’d say absolutely. My commuting expenses are upwards of $300-$350/month due to maintenance and fuel, and we have no liens on our vehicles. However I pack my lunch almost every single day to help pay for those costs.
    Heck, I’d love to walk or even bike to work. That would at least give me some exercise. However 33+ miles in one direction doesn’t make it any easier to do that. 🙁
    But I’m also not spending as much as I would in housing if I lived closer to work either. It’s really the best fit for our family overall.

    • I’d choose commuting costs as well if that’s what I had to pay! My husband & I had to weigh factors like housing and commuting costs when we moved. It ended up being cheaper for us to pay more for an apartment within walking distance to my husband’s work than to get a cheaper apartment but need two cars. Thanks for your comment!

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