There is a Such Thing as a Free Lunch


Steven Wilson
Features Editor

Being a freshman on campus at UCSB while saving money is like trying to hula hoop and juggle at the same time. Not an easy thing to do, but after reading this article, hopefully you’ll get some idea of how to practice both. After arriving on campus you will be amazed at how much money you spend per day. Between on campus restaurants, expensive meal plans,  school supplies, hanging out with friends, and  shopping trips, you might unknowingly rack up a huge bill. A meal plan for freshmen comes out to about eleven dollars per meal. With such a hefty daily charge, it is extremely beneficial to find cheaper places to eat, as well as shop, to help you and your parents save some of that green paper.

As a freshman, there will be times when the dining commons are closed, when your friends want to go out on the town, or when you need new clothes and just want to go shopping. All of these expenses add up and pretty soon your parents will be asking where the money they just put into your account went.

But do not panic! There are definitely ways around this account-draining problem. As you will soon find out, living in the dorms is a benefit as well as a curse. You will make tons of friends but you will also spend a ton on food.  One down side to the meal plan is becoming dependent on them instead of them being dependent on you, the consumer. With operation times normal for the working world but not for the college population, sometimes you may miss a meal or two per week. Maybe you were busy studying, or maybe you were out with your friends and lost track of time. Whatever the reason, using all of your meals each week will obviously help you save some cash.

Another down side with the dining commons is that you will most likely still need to buy meals off campus. To help you out, there are all sorts of deals available for pocket change that will still fill you up. Taco Tuesdays at Chino’s may not be your first choice for quality, but you can get a lot of food for your money. Another good deal is at Giovanni’s, where you can get a huge slice of pizza for a little over a buck. At Silvergreen’s,  you get a free item on your next purchase or at least a couple of coupons on every receipt.

A bittersweet fact about the dorms and the meal plan is that  cooking for yourself can be difficult. You may not think that is a down side, but learning how to cook for yourself will be one of your greatest benefits when it comes to penny pinching. You get to buy your favorite foods for a cheaper price. Yes, you have to cook it and then clean up afterwards, but you get more satisfaction from knowing you saved money and  that you ate a good, healthy meal. Costco can be one good resource that will save you a lot of money in the long run. One  trick is to find a friend with a Costco card so you get the discount and avoid the thirty dollar annual membership fee. The food comes in bulk but if you have roommates, then combining and sharing food can save some green overall. Another good way to save on food can be coupon clipping; many local grocery stores either send out ads or you can go onto their web site to print savings out by the dozen.

Photo By: Hannah Peterson, Content Editor