As a student at Ohio University, there are multiple meal plan options. Students pick between different amounts of meal swipes they have each week and have the option to have flex or not. Flex points give $225 to students to use in the cafes and certain restaurants around campus. Having flex also allows students to use leftover meal swipes (valued at $6.50 each swipe) in the three markets on campus. Budgeting leftover meal swipes can be overwhelming, especially when everyone is at the market on Saturday to use their swipes before they expire and get reloaded the next day. Here are some tips to help with spending, planning and budgeting meal swipes:
1. Shop early
Shopping at campus markets early in the week allows for their to be less stress when it comes to the end of the week. The market will be generally empty of other students and the shelves will be stocked and not picked over like they typically are on Saturday when everyone is shopping.
2. Know how many meal swipes you have
Log into your one card office online or through the culinary app to view how many meal swipes you have left for the week. Knowing how many swipes you have allows you to know how much you will be able to buy.
3. Make a list of must haves
Before stepping foot into the market, decide what you absolutely must have. Whether this be shampoo or toothpaste, it is important to prioritize items to ensure you get them first.
4. Calculate as you shop
Calculate the money you have before you shop and subtract money as you buy. Each meal swipe is worth $6.50. Say you have four meal swipes left – that would be $26. This will prevent overspending and allow for you to get the most out of the money available to you.
5. Know when you eat
When shopping early in the week, it is important to save meal swipes for later in the week to use in the dining halls. Knowing when you will eat not only helps in planning the week out and balancing class, homework and eating, but will also help you know what needs to be saved when shopping.
By budgeting meal swipes, you will able to make the most out of the swipes available to you. You will also have things you actually need by prioritizing and using money in a smart way, instead of going to the market blindly and buying whatever is wanted instead of needed.
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)