Affording your four years at IU: Tip #4

The eats at IU. 

Just in time for the August 1st deadline to change your meal plan. 

Go standard. 

For those of you who are moving into the dorms, it's obviously essential that you have a meal plan. My suggestion: get the standard plan. For the average eater this is more than enough. When you factor in eating out and microwaveable meals for when you're too lazy to leave your room (this will happen), the standard package should suffice. 

The standard plan gives you 1,300 I-BUCKS. It's a "declining balance system," not a "meal per week" system. This can be to your advantage if you limit yourself on that buffet line or while perusing the shelves of the C-store. If you do run out of BUCKS, you can always add to your plan. 

No more meal plans for you. 

As glorious and convenient as it is to eat on campus, it also costs an arm, a leg and your future first born child. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT get a meal plan after your first year at IU. Restrain yourself and learn to pack your lunch; utilize that kitchen you've been living without for a year. This decision will save you some major bucks, some pun intended. 

Make it stretch. 

A little IU hack for ya: be frugal with your I-BUCKS freshman year, because they rollover to your next semester. The discount lessens from 60 to 25 percent, but you get to keep the luxury of eating on campus for one more semester. I would even consider adding a few more BUCKS to your plan at the end of the year that way you're stocked for fall. Here's the catch: you have to use up all your BUCKS by the end of the fall semester, they won't rollover to the spring. 

Yes, Pizza X does have a special campus late night delivery service. 

Beware of the late night munchies! While you have a meal plan, try and limit your nights eating out. Ordering food at midnight can turn into a nasty habit while living in the dorms. There's a good chance you'll gain that freshman 15 and lose your savings. Your meal plan isn't free money, but it's required and already paid for. Try not to tack on too many more food expenses. 

Limiting eating out goes for all of you who are living off campus too. Spend your dollars at the grocery store. A loaf of bread, cheese and a pound of turkey can feed you for at least a week. I understand that cooking is a pain at times, but cook with the intention of having leftovers.

 

Food is a necessity, but there are ways to pinch pennies in this area. Money saved here can go towards that bursar bill balance. 

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