I was told by multiple upperclassmen to purchase the smallest dining plan when I came to Virginia Tech as a freshman. I was promised to have “so much money” left over at the end of the semester and that I would “never” run out of funds. I am not sure if food prices went up or if those upperclassmen did not eat, because with over a month left until the end of the semester, my small dining plan is not going to make it through finals.
I’m not the only one complaining about having to make under $100 of meal plan money last until the end of the semester.
I’ve ventured to each dining hall to find the least wallet-stretching options that will help make your dining plan last.
Even though Qdoba burrito bowls and shrimp fried rice are extremely hard to resist, it is wise to refrain from those dishes until the renewal of your dining dollars in January. Honestly, there are few options in Turner that are cost-efficient, but due to its convenient location on the academic side of campus, sometimes it is your only option. Dolci e Caffe offers a selection of crepes that are filling and delicious that start at around $2.75 in flex dollars. Also, if you venture downstairs, 1872 Fire Grill offers homestyle meals that provide the quality and quantity of food that’s worth your money. For example, grilled barbecue chicken is under $3.
Frank’s Deli offers a variety of sandwiches and subs for a low price. One of its signature specials is the build-your-own sub, which costs less than $3 in flex dollars. These are not only inexpensive, but also extremely delicious. It is important to stay in line and not venture to the left for a smoothie, because those cost more than a sandwich. In Hokie Grill, Chick-fil-A can be dining-plan friendly if you choose to refrain from the milkshakes or salads. Pizza Hut offers pastas, wings and personal pizzas that are really yummy, but not good for the state of your wallet.
If you’re searching for a homestyle meal, JP’s Chop House in West End offers a wide selection of freshly carved meats and many types of fish. Unfortunately, the meals are quite overpriced. Paying twice the usual amount for the catch of the day will break the bank, which makes it not the smartest option at West End. If you travel over to Seven 70, you can get a sandwich or a wrap for under $3 in flex money that is filling and tasty. Also, Bistro Firenze offers pizza and pasta, which can be a smart option if you don’t need a huge portion of food to fill you up.
This buffet is definitely the most cost-efficient for people who eat a lot of food. You can get anything from Indian to Italian for a cheap entrance fee of $4.65 for dinner. With one swipe, you have free range of drinks, food and dessert. This food may not be the healthiest, or the tastiest, but is definitely the best for students who have a big appetite. The only downfall of this dining hall is that the hours, 7 a.m. through 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. through 7 p.m. on typical weekdays, are weird and inconvenient.
Along with these major dining halls, there are plenty of other options for cheap food around campus. Au Bon Pain and Burger ‘37 in Squires are places to stay away from because they are very overpriced and the portions are small. One cheap, tasty option for breakfast or a quick snack is Deet’s Place, under D2. There, you can get a quick bagel or coffee for under $1.50 in flex dollars.
It is important to pay attention to prices around campus as we are nearing the end of the semester and the money in our dining plans continues to dwindle. There is always the option to add more money on your dining plan, but it is easiest to try to eat with a cost-efficient mindset.