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Meal Plans??!!??

bwang34bwang34 55 replies5 threads Junior Member
edited August 2006 in University of Pittsburgh
Has anyone looked at the costs of the meal plans and do some math on it?

It seems like a total ripoff! I bought a 19 meal block plan and have to pay $1910 with only $160 going into my dining dollars. Counting all the day in the first semester, I end up paying almost $7 a meal. Who spends $7 on breakfast or even lunch?
($1910-$160)/(14weeks x 19 meals per week)

If I bought a 6 meal block plan it would be even worse.,$10+ per meal and being forced to eat the rest of the time on my own money.

How does the system use the meal blocks anyways? Is it going to take away one of my blocks if I just bought some morning cofee?

Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this? I am not rich so $$ is a big concern.
edited August 2006
11 replies
Post edited by bwang34 on
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Replies to: Meal Plans??!!??

  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Check the website, but when we went on the dorm tour the student guide said that your meal blocks expire each week on Sunday night (I think) and what you do with any blocks you don't use is go to the "store" downstairs in the Towers (something like a 7 eleven sort of thing) and you can spend your meal blocks on snack food type stuff. This way you can fill up a "food box" in your room to tide you over between meals.

    If you just buy coffee, that would probably come out of your dining dollars and not a meal block. This is my guess based on my older child's school. Then you could "spend" your breakfast meal blocks at the convenience store on Sunday nights if you've got some left over.

    Also find and locate all the different food locations on campus where your meal blocks are usable and figure out a routine that works for you. My other child went the entire first semester w/o figuring out there was a "food store" in the building next to her dorm where she could have gotten lots of stuff to take to her room.

    If you can afford it, a microwave and a fridge in your room are almost a necessity. They will pay for themselves in preserving and reheating leftovers, fixing microwave soups and snacks, etc. Get a plastic box for under the bed to store extra food with a tight lid to help ward off ants. My older child's dorm had a real ant problem for anyone who did a lot eating in the room.

    The student we talked to seemed to think the meal plan could be fairly flexible if you figure out how it works with all the locations and that no one gets too hungry. Also it looked to us at Pittstart that there was no sales tax on food off campus, so that should help too.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    The meal blocks can be good if you like the all-you-can-eat cafeterias, or if you choose the meal block selection at the other on-campus eateries. You will pay more for the same food if you use cash.

    However, a lot depends on your schedule and whether you eat at normal times. If not, it may be harder to use up your meal blocks. My son wants a plan with a low number of meal blocks and more dining dollars, as the dining dollars last all year (or all semester?). Keep in mind that commercial restaurants in the area, like Primanti's, only take cash.
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  • Lex248Lex248 149 replies2 threads Junior Member
    bwang34: i noticed the exact same thing a couple of months ago and called them up about it... they said nobody had ever pointed this out to them and that they would get back to me (verbatim) "right away so that this can be rectified" ... well, a couple of months later, still no reply... im thinking of calling them again next week... and, obviously, other people have noticed haha...
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    It's true, the meal blocks are cheaper if you buy a bigger plan with more blocks.
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  • iloveagoodbrewiloveagoodbrew 1666 replies15 threads Junior Member
    Yea this is a rip off. I went for the cheapest plan. With the money I save, I can buy good healthy food at much cheaper prices.
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  • bwang34bwang34 55 replies5 threads Junior Member
    It's nice to know that I'm not just imagining this! The lower priced meal plans seems to be a bigger ripoff though, you end up paying for more per meal block.

    I kind of wish we could just choose to buy our meals using cash...we can have what we want, whenever we want.
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    Buying good healthy food at a much cheaper price. . . . .where would be a good place to buy healthy food that students w/o a cars can get to?
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  • nurse123nurse123 147 replies2 threads Junior Member
    There is a Panera Bread. Also, Pamela's serves pancakes, fresh turkey, fruits, and healthy salads. Those are two choices that are certainly healthier than some fast food places.
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  • iloveagoodbrewiloveagoodbrew 1666 replies15 threads Junior Member
    Buying good healthy food at a much cheaper price. . . . .where would be a good place to buy healthy food that students w/o a cars can get to?
    There is a bus service. Just go to ther local Price Chopper or whatever supermarket there is.
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  • gacloud13gacloud13 4 replies0 threads New Member
    With the free bus transportation you can easily get to Giant Eagle (grocery store) and a Whole Foods. They are also opening a Trader Joes in Pittsburgh near the Whole Foods.

    One of the main reasons why students move off campus is the meal plan.

    I was an Resident Assistant for 4 years which comes with free room and board, I was a veggie and was able to live. The food is not that bad and they try to have variety.
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  • ats7321ats7321 79 replies1 threads Junior Member
    There's actually only one all you can eat cafeteria at pitt everything else on campus either has block deals or you can add up the price of what you want and use a block for it. Each block is given a price value, two years ago it was 5.25 and last year it went up to 5.40, I'm not sure what it is this year. You have to use all of your blocks by the end of the week or you lose them, and all of your dining dollars by the end of the semester. You can't use a portion of a block so if you're buying something like coffee you'll using dining. Actually our coffee places as well as the cathedral cafe don't take blocks.
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