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Surviving the Last Two Weeks on Less Than 100 Meal Points

For students living on campus, 13 weeks of Starbucks, Mixed Greens salads, and Nacho Night are rough on a meal plan. Unless your parents let you opt into Food Services’ largest meal plan, level six, chances are you’ll be contacting Mom and Dad soon to add some money, if you haven’t already.

If you’re worried about making those last 70 or so meal points last through finals, don’t fret too much. It’s possible, you just have to be a little more mindful of what you’re buying.


If you get breakfast every day, it shouldn’t cost too much. However, like anything else, watch what you buy. A bagel, cream cheese, and a “hand fruit” (a banana, apple, or orange) from places like The Mix, The Big Onion, or Sisu should come in at around $1.50.

If you eat breakfast every week day between tomorrow (Wednesday) and let’s say the Thursday of Finals Week, that’s twelve meals.

$1.50 x 12 = $18 meal points on breakfast

Lunch & Dinner

It’s easy to think that the best “deal” on lunch and dinner is to eat at the dining commons since you’re able to eat however much you care to for one flat fee. However, if you don’t plan on eating too much, getting a sandwich or a wrap from somewhere like Fresh Express or The Mix may be the wiser choice.

Most sandwiches and wraps at these eateries are priced at a maximum of $6.79, which comes down to $2.38 with the 65% discount. If you were going to get one meal from the a la carte option every day between tomorrow and Thursday of Finals Week, the 16 meals would come out to $38.08 on your meal plan. 

While it may be cheaper in the long run to only eat at a la carte dining areas, it’s still possible to go to the normal commons without over-exhausting your meal points. If you eat dinner ten times between now and the end of Finals Week, it would cost $42.50 on meal points.

If you choose to eat lunch rather than dinner at the commons, meals are only $3.60 each. Weekend brunches, however, are charged at the dinner rate.

Following this plan, you’d get by on $98.58. This obviously doesn’t account for every meal, but let’s be real, most people aren’t going to be eating every meal on campus anyway.

Other Tips

  • Avoid buying convenience store items when possible. Unless they’re prepared by Food Service workers, most items sold don’t get the 65% discount given at dining commons and on a la carte foods.
  • Try not to go for any fourth meal, Nacho/Wing Night, or any late night foods in general. It’s almost swimsuit season anyway.
  • If you’re going to eat at the HUB, don’t use meal points there. You’re only given a 10% discount, the same as LionCash.
  • Some suggest using the take out option at the commons to hoard food and get multiple meals for the price of one. If that’s the route you want to take, then so be it, but know that cashiers are supposed to check to make sure you don’t over stuff containers. If you’re caught, you’ll be double charged.

What are your tips for getting by when your meal plan gets low? Share them in the comments.

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About the Author

Ali Fogarty

Ali Fogarty is a senior from the suburbs of Philadelphia majoring in Public Relations and Political Science who's passionate about Netflix and everything bagels.


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