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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

Choosing the cheapest dining dollar plan at GCU requires a game plan. As someone who has had this plan in both a dorm and an apartment, I have three suggestions to stretch your dollar while staying full throughout the day.

My body has been screaming for consistent nutrients since September. With an average of six dining dollars to spend per day this academic year, it has been a struggle to avoid malnourishment.

Take Advantage of Campus

Go to The Grid. They have $6 sushi and $1.89 Pop-Tarts. They also have chicken salad for $2.99, pre-packaged in a little cup. For a light lunch or snack, I get a protein bar and a Pop-Tart package. For the rest of the day, I may cook pasta in my apartment or scrouge up whatever is in my pantry.

If you want a sweet treat, The Habit has pretty cheap ice cream cones (the sundaes cost more but have the added benefit of chocolate syrup). I also save a Pop-Tart (there are two per package) for dessert sometimes if I feel up to it.

Fresh Fusion has $8 soup and sandwiches. My friend says that their grilled cheese with tomato soup is really good.  

Choosing an entrée over a meal at Chick-fil-A is another cheaper option. Their chicken wrap is big; I usually save one half for later. Of course, I don’t always follow my own advice so strictly. I listen to my body and if my stomach still feels hungry, I eat more.

Apartment Tips

If you live in an apartment, get copious amounts of pasta like a squirrel gathering nuts. There are so many different types like protein, lentil, squash and gluten-free pasta. This will help decrease the amount of dining dollars spent each day and provide some nutrients. Trader Joe’s has cute seasonal pasta (like pumpkin-shaped noodles) at relatively low prices.

You can also buy bagged rice and beans or canned vegetables at Target. The cheapest options usually cost $1-3 dollars per package.  

Dorm Tips

If you live in a dorm, collect microwavable rice and mac-n-cheese like your life depends on it. For those with various diets, I know that Target has vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese; they also have little microwavable cups of brown and white rice. These two things got me through my junior year when I lived in a dorm.

For breakfast, I always have a protein bar. I get lightheaded from hunger easily, so I make sure that it’s filling. They come in endless flavors; two brands that I like include Clif Bars and Power Crunch. Individual bars are offered at The Grid and The Herd Stop. Target has bigger packages of those bars as well.

If you like peanut butter, try a peanut butter Clif Bar. Your third eye will open, and your life may be changed forever.

Although these foods may not accommodate everyone’s taste, I hope this inspires you to search for the things you like for less dough. This makes me feel like a proud middle-aged mother scoring a bargain at Costco.

Emily is a Professional Writing major at GCU. She is expected to graduate with her bachelor's degree in Spring 2024. She loves writing about the environment, history and self-care. Her interests include anything with glitter, playing video games, slamming out tunes on the piano and lying down on grass in the summer.