Dining plan?

<p>I just recieved info from unc about the dining plan and I was wondering what the difference between the flex and expense dollars was. </p>

<p>Also I was wondering what meal plan you would suggest for the first semester on campus. </p>

<p>Thanks for any help.</p>

<p>If I remember right, dining $ can only be used on food, but they avoid sales tax.</p>

<p>Get the smallest meal plan you possibly can -- almost everyone overbuys. The food is moderately nice, but gets tiresome quickly. Also college is a great chance to learn how to cook for yourself.</p>

<p>Flex money can only be used on food - like anything you buy in the bottom of Lenoir or Alpine, etc. The most important thing about expense is that it is your LAUNDRY money, so you need to put a little bit on there. You can also buy food, gum, etc, with expense.</p>

<p>I think I got a pretty big meal plan the first semester of my freshman year b/c I am not the kind of person who cooks in the dorm and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to starve to death. If it's too many meals, you can always downgrade for second semester. I had the 110 meal plan last semester, but I know they seem to adjust it each year so it might be off for next year (105? 120?). I'm a rising senior now, but heck, I still like the dining hall!</p>

<p>Flex money can only be used on food - like anything you buy in the bottom of Lenoir or Alpine, etc. The most important thing about expense is that it is your LAUNDRY money, so you need to put a little bit on there. You can also buy food, gum, etc, with expense.</p>

<p>I think I got a pretty big meal plan the first semester of my freshman year b/c I am not the kind of person who cooks in the dorm and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to starve to death. If it's too many meals, you can always downgrade for second semester. I had the 110 meal plan last semester, but I know they seem to adjust it each year so it might be off for next year (105? 120?). I'm a rising senior now, but heck, I still like the dining hall!</p>

<p>Wow, did not mean to post that twice! My bad!</p>

<p>I have no idea if people recommend it, but I just went ahead and got the unlimited so I wouldn't have to worry about meals or keep up with them. I also definitely am not someone who cooks for themselves, as horrible as that sounds.</p>

<p>Do you have to have a wakovia account to have an expense account? Does the expense account work only on campus or also in the surrounding area (Carrboro Restaurants, Whole Foods...)?</p>

<p>Do current students recommend getting a Wachovia account (if you don't have one)? How useful is it?</p>

<p>On a related note, how are the kitchen in the south campus dorms?</p>

<p>and how much equipment is provided?</p>

<p>I kno how to cook and actually enjoy cooking, I just didn't want to plan on cooking too much if the kitchens aren't very good or dont have enough equipment.</p>

<p>corey91 and IntelQ...
no, you do not need a wachovia account to have an expense account. flex money is used ONLY for food on campus, but it can mean a fast food place in lenoir hall or buying candy at the student store, as long as it is food. expense cannot be used off campus anywhere, but you can use it for anything on campus, laundry, books, food, coffee, printing etc (although you get $40 of printing funds automatically on your onecard).
your basic onecard can be used to access flex or expense money, or you can have a onecard attached to a wachovia account that you can use as a regular debit card in addition to flex and expense. i didn't have a wachovia card, i just had a separate bank account with a different bank, but i didn't mind keeping up with the 2 different cards, so its up to you, a TON of people get the wachovia accounts. </p>

<p>and just a heads up on the meal plans, the blocks of meals, like 150 per semester or whatever, you will often have extra meals left over and you can use them to swipe your friends in, if you get the 14 per week or whatever, you can't. </p>

<p>and chipmoney...
the kitchens on south campus vary. most of the dorms only have one for a whole floor and some of the smaller dorms (maybe just on north campus) share kitchens between 2 floors, and in some cases a floor is quite a lot of students. the equipment varies from old to newish (but i lived there 4 years ago). they have a stove, ice machine, microwave, and sink. nothing special, if you want utensils or anything you have to bring them with you. it is nice to cook sometimes in the kitchens, but it can be a pain/time consuming without everything being right at hand like in your kitchen at home. </p>

<p>a last note on the expense account...do not stress out about putting enough money for laundry (or whatever) on your card for the whole semester, there are little ATM type things in places like the libraries where you can put in cash and it goes directly to your expense account to use immediately.</p>

<p>tarheel2010 is right... I usually just put $10 at a time on my expense (and I've always gone to the OneCard office to do that). I have the Wachovia account, and I love it - it makes life so much easier. And there are lots of ATMs around campus so you can get cash whenever.</p>

<p>The kitchens are really basic. They get gross pretty quickly if people aren't good about cleaning up. The kitchens in Kenan have an oven/stove, a microwave, a sink, and a table. Ha! The kitchen on the first floor has an ice machine. You will find that some people cook ALL the time (there were two girls on my hall who literally lived in the kitchen). The kitchen is not really a place I wanted to spend a copious amount of time, lol. I love to cook and bake at home, but I can't really be bothered in the dorm.</p>

<p>I think my main advice would be to pick a plan that lets you eat at Lenoir 3 or 4 nights a week. It is nice to have a nice cooked meal, even if it's often the same stuff.</p>

<p>But do make sure you cook pretty often, too.</p>

<p>I think even the cheapest plan (ie, the one with most meals) works at about $6-7 per all you can eat meal at Lenoir? You can cook healthy stuff for yourself, and a more varied menu, far more cheaply than that.</p>

<p>Chapel Hill downtown is unfortunately a bit of a food desert though, so buying groceries was a problem for me. I just used to go to Harris Teeter and weaver st in carrboro.</p>

<p>Hell, if you have a car, you could probably shop at whole foods and still do better financially than most of the dining plans.</p>

<p>Wachovia is not my favourite bank, but they do a nice free checking account. Watch the overdraft fees, though. If you are working for the state in any fashion (workstudy?) I suggest ncsecu. Much better.</p>

<p>I've found that very few people in undergrad living in the dorms have time to go shopping for groceries/cook for themselves. If you make time for it you can do it, but it is a major time killer. I don't know how the girls on my hall justified spending app. 4 hours a day cooking for themselves, but I think it was a culture thing for them. If you live in an apartment you would probably have to cook for yourself, but most freshmen don't live in apartments. Or have cars. It really depends on what kind of person you are...</p>

<p>4 hours! That is extreme.</p>

<p>What were they making, roast dinners every night?</p>

<p>Cooking for yourself, at least 3 or 4 times a week, is cheaper and healthier.</p>

<p>Even if you eat dinner at Lenoir or on franklin st (Franklin st in particular is a den of greasy, unhealthy food) ... how much time does it take to go to the grocery store or farmer's market once a week, and pack lunch ever day? Maybe an hour/ week to go shopping, and 15min a day (tops) to pack a lunch sandwich?</p>

<p>Of course, if you have loads of money and exercise regularly then it isn't an issue. But I'd have almost no sympathy with someone who claimed money troubles yet ate out all the time.</p>

<p>I'm all about sandwiches, just not roast dinners. Especially roast dinners with CABBAGE. No, I'm not kidding. Our hall smelled like something died the majority of the time. I'm praying those girls are gone next year!</p>