Money Saving Tips For Residence Hall Students


By Michael Barone

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It’s every college student’s nightmare; finals week is in the midst of pillaging your brains and you need that last boost of energy to get through the waves of information. You decide to go to the Eagle Express Market to grab an energy drink and some snacks so you can power through, but when your card gets scanned, you find out that you’re out of money. At the end of last quarter, I saw people scrambling to find that last dollar so they could make it to spring break. If you were one of those people to run out of money, here are some tips on how to stretch your meal plan so you don’t have to scramble at the end of this quarter.

Avoid impulse buys:

If you’re going to the market just to get a new jug of milk, don’t go wandering off from the refrigerator with the milk in it. You’ll see that bottle of soda or bag of chips and say, “I should get that, it looks good.” Buying little items of junk food may not seem like they’re impacting your money, but they slowly add up to a significant amount.

Look for the on-campus events:

You see the signs all over. There are constantly events going on around the campus that provide either free food or have unlimited food for a small cost. Going to these events can keep you from spending more money by giving you an easy meal to have.

Don’t eat every meal at Tawanka or Baldy’s:

Or any of the restaurants on campus. While they are very convenient to go to, it’s not cost-effective to eat at them every meal. Try buying things to help you make meals in your microwave or dorm kitchen. The $7 you’d be spending on that burger and fries can buy you a box of macaroni and cheese, a nice drink, some bagels and maybe even some candy for dessert. Not only did you get more food, you can save the leftover macaroni for another meal.

Cook big meals:

When you cook, try to make more than you think you can eat. You can save the leftovers so you can eat more than once with the same thing. Then you can eliminate the need to go buy more food on campus.

Plan ahead:

If you know that you’ll be rushed in the morning, go buy an apple, juice and some muffins the night before. You won’t have to worry about grabbing food you don’t need in the morning. Also, remember to keep an eye on the expiration date on what you buy so you know how long you can keep your food.

Buy bulk items:

Buy some items that will last you for more than one meal. Bread, cereal and noodles are just a few options you can get.

Ask your family:

If you travel back home on some weekends, try to see if your family can make extra food that you can package and take back to Cheney. If you can’t head home, call your family and ask them to send a little care package. They’ll be glad to help.

Be creative:

Find interesting ways to make meals with food you normally wouldn’t combine. Try putting some spaghetti sauce on a tortilla shell with some cheese, it will make a tasty and unique pizza burrito. If it sounds possible, just try it.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to save your money and have enough left over so splurge at the end of the quarter. These tips aren’t just useful for your meal card, they’ll help you out in the future when you’re living on your own.