Budgeting your meal plan

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Jennifer Bennett | jbennett49@radford.edu

As we are getting down to the last few weeks of the semester, those of us who have the Flex meal plan may be wondering what to do with the left over money, or how to budget the money to last them until the end of the semester.

If you have too much money on your Flex plan; congratulations, you’ve got the better of the two problems. You can get whatever you want, without having to worry about the money on your plan. If you have a lot left over in the last week or so, there are always trucks on campus that have cases of beverages you can buy with your flex plan, and shave off a lot of the excess amount you have on it.

If you don’t want to use your money on drinks, Muse Dinner is always an option, since it is the most expensive on-campus food option there is. With the student discount, each person is $10, so if you go frequently, it will quickly add up.

It could be a good thing to have too much money on your Flex plan–especially during finals week. You can go to any of the dining places on campus and have a food break.

However, budgeting your Flex plan can be difficult. Depending on how much you spend in the beginning of the semester will determine how much you will have to suffer in the end. Go to Wendy’s on campus, where you can get an entire meal for $3, or you can order things off of the value menu and save even more money. Some of the other food places on campus are more expensive than others, and while they might be nice to go to when you have the extra money, it sadly cannot be an everyday visit anymore.

It can be difficult to budget money with this plan, because you’re not guaranteed a certain amount of swipes per week and you have to figure out how you want to spend that money.

I saw people last semester who had no money on their Flex plan, and had no choice but to eat ramen in their dorm room or to go off campus and get food; however, off campus food options are more expensive. The costs of Subway or Jimmy Johns add up very quickly.

I have put myself in the second situation where I have too little money that is left over on my meal plan and have to worry about how often I can go and get food. It is not a good situation to be in, and I will definitely remember this next semester when the money on my meal plan starts over.

Overall, the Flex plan is a great option for a meal plan.  However, it also takes a little bit more responsibility. It is wonderful to be able to go wherever you want on campus and get discounts all over. Either situation you are in, remember that we only have a few weeks left of the semester and then you can go back to your home and get food provided for you.