“I’m Not in the Mood for Cream…” said no one ever.
Good thing I’m a sophomore so I can’t gain the Freshman 15. Wait, there’s a Sophomore Seventeen? I guess before I can get into senseless worrying about my ever-expanding waistline, I should explain my situation. I’m a new transfer and obviously before I moved up here I was told how good the food is. It’s not that I didn’t believe people, it’s just that I thought I had better will power. Now that I find myself living a mere block above places like The Melt, Gordo, Crepes a Go Go, and (most alarmingly) Cream, I realize that I literally have no power of will. What I do have, though, is an end to my cash, so I came up with 5 easy ways to avoid going broke on food.
1. Cook for Yourself
Obviously, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk from a grocery store like Safeway or Trader Joe’s and be your own personal chef. Doing this while living in the dorms is a little tougher, but not impossible. There are common kitchens, but if that’s too much of a pain then Trader Joes has good microwaveable meals that go for pretty cheap. For those living in apartments this should be a no-brainer. Not only will it save you money, it will help you develop useful cooking skills for the future.
2. Portion Control
A Chipotle burrito is huge. Instead of eating the whole thing in one sitting, try splitting it in half to save for a later meal. It’s a super easy way to cut your spending and feel like you had a treat meal for two days. Quick tip: if you’re going to do this and are eating at a restaurant in a place like the Asian Ghetto, get it to-go even if you’re eating there. It’s a lot easier than having to go back and ask for a box.
3. Buy a Meal Plan
Who doesn’t want to relive freshman year? Just kidding, but seriously. If you’re one of those ladies who always finds herself on campus, a meal plan could actually be pretty beneficial. Non-resident meal plans come with “bonus points” meaning that a meal point costs less than a dollar to buy. Since your spending is always on your Cal Card, a meal plan is a really good way of keeping track and limiting the amount of money you spend.
4. Go to Events, Get Free Food
This one is probably easier to accomplish at the beginning of the semester when clubs are in recruiting mode. There are so many clubs on Berkeley campus that you could probably spend a solid month eating at various events. And hey, maybe you’ll make some good friends while you’re at it. Seriously, though, go to things that sound interesting and eat their food.
5. Have “Treat” Days
The food in Berkeley is actually worth eating, even though it’s expensive. So take a day or two out of the week to try new places. It won’t kill you to spend a few extra dollar two days a week to find what could be your new favorite restaurant. Treat yourself. You work hard!