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Meal Plan Question

theWavetheWave Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
Hi all. This question is mostly for upper class cmu students but what meal plans are "worth it" for non-freshman? I mean I won't be eating campus food for every meal but would like to have an option of quickly getting my meals done in campus when im busy. i noticed food cost more when u pay in cash for the same amount of food u get with a block.

for example, im asiana, 7.50 meal block will get u a meal + side + drink. but in cash this price goes up way more than 7.50

Has anyone done some calculations to figure out which non-fresh plans are worth it?
Post edited by theWave on

Replies to: Meal Plan Question

  • completelykatecompletelykate Registered User Posts: 1,176 Senior Member
    I recommend Yellow Plan, and that's what most of my friends seem to have too. How many meals a day do you plan to eat on campus & how late do you usually get up? If it's just lunch or dinner block you need, get a yellow plan. Otherwise get like Tartan Flex or something similar (one of the commuter plans).

    DineX is basically useless unless you are really bad at budgeting your own spending. If you end up with spare DineX, as a lot of people do, you're screwed because you can't get that money back. I'd go for a plan with no or little DineX.

    And in terms of blocks, it seems most economically feasible just to get enough blocks to cover those few restaurants where a block makes sense (like Asiana or Resnik food court or the Cafe). For places like Maggie Murph for example, if you just want a bagel and coffee that's about $4-5, but a block is $7.50 and includes one of their gross moldy oranges. (get your own fruit... campus fruit is straight up gnarly.) Schatz too - as far as i can tell they charge you the same price whether you are using a block or not, so it doesn't save you money to use blocks at Schatz.

    Also... Asiana? People eat there? :p
  • CaliforniaDancerCaliforniaDancer Registered User Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    ^Sorry to hijack this thread a little, but huh, is DineX really that bad an idea?

    I got myself just DineX because I only plan to eat lunch and get random stuff like coffee or whatever on campus, so I figured blocks didn't make sense, especially since I don't often get the drinks or the sides. (Okay, and also I might need the DineX to buy coffee more frequently that I would like to admit :p). I just bought some for first semester though, because it said it rolled over to second semester and then I could add more later too. So I figure I'll see what I use first semester and then if some rolls over, no big deal, and then I can see how much more DineX to add second semester? The form said you could add more at any point/you can always upgrade, so it made sense in my head, but that doesn't always work out :p

    Or does that not work for some reason? 'Cause if not, I better change my meal plan ASAP :D

    Oh, and agreed about Asiana, but hey, that's another story.
  • completelykatecompletelykate Registered User Posts: 1,176 Senior Member
    I mean, there's nothing obviously wrong with DineX, but why wouldn't you just use cash or your own debit card? That way you can be assured that you will never be scrambling to spend money needlessly at the end of the semester because you ended up with too much DineX.

    I just bought some for first semester though, because it said it rolled over to second semester and then I could add more later too. So I figure I'll see what I use first semester and then if some rolls over, no big deal, and then I can see how much more DineX to add second semester?

    DineX doesn't roll over to the next semester unless you buy it under the declining balance program, to my knowledge. Unless the policy is changing for this coming year, if you have extra left over at the end of semester, it vanishes.
  • steelersngatorssteelersngators Registered User Posts: 722 Member
    truth. my floormate bought fourteen boxes of pizza the day first semester ended. ph and Asiana is nasty plus they always run out of tofu.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,610 Senior Member
    Personally, I'd say don't bother with meal plans if you're living off campus. Make a trip once every other week to a Giant Eagle, stock up on sandwich supplies, and bring your own food. It'll cost about 1/5 the price per day, and you can always splurge by buying food on campus if you want. Not to mention if you're not tied to the meal plan you can always walk down to Craig St to grab lunch/dinner.

    Also, dining must have really improved since I graduated, since at that time Asiana was one of the best places to eat on campus. :(
  • CaliforniaDancerCaliforniaDancer Registered User Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    I mean, there's nothing obviously wrong with DineX, but why wouldn't you just use cash or your own debit card?

    Eh, good question :p I guess I just find it more convenient to have DineX attached to my ID? That actually is such a lame reason, I can't even believe I just wrote it, lol. On a more legitimate note, I guess I thought it my help me with budgeting - e.g. my food/lunch money can only be used for that because it's not like I can use it for anything else if it's in the form of DineX.

    In other words, I may not have any really great reason. Oh well! Glad I didn't get that much though; thanks for the info.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 30,597 Senior Member
    Interesting back when my oldest applied everyone told him to get the smallest mealplan possible with the most DineX dollars possible. He mostly used his DineX money off campus. However he didn't use the meal plan after freshman year.
  • mom2012and14mom2012and14 - Posts: 888 Member
    There's another option -- the cash option (sort of like DINEX) and you get a 10% bonus. So buy $800 and you have $880. And it does roll over to the second semester and can be swiped in machines for soda, water and coffee.

    This is useful for upper classmen and also an option to supplement meal plans for those who cannot seem to get enough of the yummy vendor food served on campus (I hope you detect sarcasm in that comment).
  • CaliforniaDancerCaliforniaDancer Registered User Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    ^Hmm, okay, maybe that's what I have, then. Because I definitely got a 10% bonus (it's already on my finances homepage), and I was 99% sure it said it rolled over to 2nd semester when I got it. But then again, it does say DinExtra 2011-2012...so maybe not.

    Very confused, but I think I'll be fine in any case :D
  • completelykatecompletelykate Registered User Posts: 1,176 Senior Member
    Yeah, I'd do plaid cash if i were you (that's what the program is called). You can add plaid cash at any time, so start out with like $300 and if you spend that you can just add more. :p That way you're way less likely to underspend and lose the rest of your money to Andrew Carnegie.
This discussion has been closed.