Cheap Eats For When You Run Out Of Meal Points

It’s a tale as old as time. As the semester comes to a close and the pressure of exams begins to build, the urge to stress eat becomes paramount.

If you’re like any normal student, you likely have the desire to head to the market and grab some snacks. Unfortunately, just as the days of the semester start to dwindle, so do the meal points. If you’re lucky, you may still have enough to buy a bag of pretzels.

To prevent you from starving during the last week of school, while also not breaking the bank, here are some options for cheap eats on campus and downtown:

Baseball Promotions

If you love dinner and a show, check out a Penn State baseball game, where weekly promotions can save you some money. Every Tuesday & Thursday the team provides students with the opportunity to purchase a Triple Play Package. The package includes a ticket, hotdog, and soda.

If Tuesdays and Thursdays don’t work for you, Wednesdays are the team’s wing night and Fridays are dollar dog night. You can’t beat dollar dogs.

Destress Fest

The Penn State Libraries’ Destress Fest will hook you up with some snacks at the library spaces across campus throughout finals week. It’s, uh, brain food.

Ask Your RA

Toward the end of the semester, RAs often use the remainder of their budgets to provide snacks in the lobby of the dorms. Options might range from bagels and donuts for breakfast to a Chipotle buffet for dinner.

Canyon Pizza

Ever eat Canyon sober? Neither have I, but if you’re low on cash, the famous State College pizza shop is known for its dollar slices. The joint only sells cheese slices for a dollar, but you can’t complain when you wasted all your meal points on chasers.

Birthday Freebies

Sign up for restaurant email lists downtown and take advantage of their birthday giveaways. Even if your birthday isn’t coming up, just pretend it’s actually sometime next week and cash in on your prize.

Once you sign up, you’ll probably receive an email for a free item depending on the restaurant.

Dunkin’ Donuts

When you’re low on energy, become a DDPerks member and receive deals like $2 coffees after 2 p.m. You can even take advantage of the two sandwiches for two dollars deal when you sign up.

Download the app and add funds to your account to earn points. Every 200 points is a free drink.

Get A Fake ID

According to the dining hall meal prices, children under six eat for free. Have your friend take a picture of you, send it to that sketchy website and have them print out a fake Penn State ID card claiming you’re five years old.

Use Your Friends

Befriend a freshman and force them to buy your food with their leftover points. Or maybe your roommate refuses to eat campus food and has a balance of more than $300. Make them grab you some dinner on their way back from class. Don’t let those precious meal points go to waste!


If you’re really desperate, buy some bread, a jar of peanut butter, and jelly. You can live off PB&Js for the week.

When you inevitably get tired of PB&J, store the bread in the freezer so that it lasts longer and drop it into the toaster. Toast is a nutritious finals week breakfast, right?

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About the Author

Hope Damato

Hope is a 2022 graduate who majored in broadcast journalism and was one of Onward State's social media editors. She resides in her parents house as she is still on the job hunt. Someone please hire her. Feel free to follow her on twitter @hopemarinaa to send her funny tweets or email her at [email protected] to yell.

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