Eating Well on a Budget: 5 Food Deals to Finish Off the Semester Right

As a first-generation college student, navigating my way through university life has often felt like I am swimming in the dark; I know that there is a surface, yet I am unsure which way is up. Not knowing the do’s and don’ts from the get-go has presented some unexpected hurdles; however, it is impossible not to recognize the tenacity and life-skills that this struggle has given me. One important life-skill has come in the form of budgeting and making the best out of the deals the city has to offer.

Image Credit: Gift of College


At home, my roommates and I have a drawer dedicated to coupon clippings and upcoming deals for our grocery list. While more time consuming, buying and cooking your own groceries is often the healthier and cheaper option to eating out. The trouble is, this method does not work in favor of a busy college student during midterm and finals season, which is why over the last few weeks I’ve kept an inventory of restaurants and food places that are student-friendly and will make finals week just a bit more bearable. 

Buffalo Wild Wings: Traditional Tuesdays and Boneless Thursdays

Buffalo Wild Wings is my holy grail of wings. Every Tuesday they offer $0.75 traditional wings that always hit the spot, and more importantly, every Thursday they offer a similar deal with $0.75 boneless wings with the seasoning of your choice. Pro-tip: don’t order by their sizing chart, they’ll charge you by the regular price then. Instead, order the number of wings you want, double checking that the special is still on.

Chili’s: 3 for $10

Admittedly I don’t frequent Chili’s, however, their 3 for $10 deal is worth the visit. For only $10, restaurant goers get their choice of a three-course meal with an entrée, a starter and a fountain drink or iced tea. Chili’s does not have a limited day for this special, nor is there an expiration date posted online. 

Prime Time: 50% OFF Beer & Liquor 

For those searching for a boozier drinking option while on a budget, Prime Time Sports Bar offers 50% off on their beer and liquor Monday through Friday with other offers on Saturdays. Each day has its designated hours for the special.

Olive Garden: Lunch and Early Dinner Duos

For a heavier meal, Olive Garden is the place to go. On Monday to Friday (hours varying), they offer a lunch duo with a choice of pasta or lasagna, all paired with unlimited salad and breadsticks. Similarly, their early dinner duo offers more options to choose from starting at $8.99.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream: Bring Your Own Banana Thursdays

For those in search of a cheap sweet-tooth soother, Buster’s Real Ice Cream has a promotion on Thursdays where a customer can bring in their own banana and half the price of a banana split from $6 to $3.

Restaurant deals are endless if you do your research. Google the location you’re eating at for local deals, check on Yelp for reviews or search the restaurant sites for deals beforehand. And at the end of the day, if you can’t find a deal, it’s always worth it to bring your ID for the chance of a student discount.