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How to thrive on the Gray 10 dining plan

 Written by    February 4, 2019

I, like many of my friends, switched to the Gray 10 dining plan to save a little money this semester. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the 10, some saying it’s the right amount, some saying it’s just not enough. But the Scarlet 14 was just too many meals for me, and I wondered why I was paying for excess.

In these past few weeks, I’ve gotten really comfortable with the 10, and I think I’ve hacked it. You just have to create a system.

At the start of the semester/when returning from break, buy about $10 worth of groceries to make meals in your dorm. This means bread, peanut butter, jelly, TV dinners, pizza rolls, the stereotypical “lazy” meals. Get enough for 4-5 meals that you can have throughout the week that you don’t have to spend swipes on (plus, you can get your groceries from Target or the C-store with the BuckID cash that comes with the meal plan). Since you have meals stockpiled, you won’t even use all 10 swipes; I typically have about 4-5 left. Thus, I have plenty of extra swipes to spend at the C-store at the end of the week to replenish my in-dorm meal supplies. And then the cycle continues. It sustains itself. you never have to run out of swipes or spend your own money on more food.

This is what I’ve been doing, and I rarely spend my 200 dining dollars, which you always have to fall back on if you grab an extra meal. In short, I have a surplus of resources even on the smaller dining plan.

Here are some other tips for getting your money’s worth out of the 10:

  • Stop getting coffee. Okay, I know a lot of students function on coffee, but you’re spending a full swipe or a couple dining dollars every day to feed your caffeine addiction. If you’re going to get coffee, get it in one of the Traditions dining locations, so that it’s part of your meal and you aren’t wasting money on a drink. Plus, Traditions locations have tea bags for you to pick up and take back to your dorm if you want a hot drink later.
  • Use all $8. Don’t spend a whole swipe on a sandwich from Curl; grab an apple and a bag of chips too! Even if you don’t want it right then, you should stockpile your extra snacks that you get with swipes for when you’re hungry in your dorm.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle so you never have to pay for bottled water (or a drink in general) when getting a meal.
  • Take advantage of pre-packaged foods. If I’m getting dinner at Scott and know I’ll need a little extra energy in the morning, I grab one of the packaged gluten free muffins to eat for breakfast. Grab an apple or a banana on your way out to tie you over during a 15-minute class break or a healthy midnight snack. You can get snacks everywhere. utilize them.

If you want more information on university dining options, you can visit their website here. I’ve been on the unlimited plan, the Scarlet 14 and the Gray 10, and in my experience, the 10 works best for me. I get the exact amount of meals I need while paying a lower price. Nevertheless, I’ve had friends who have also found success with the declining balance, so don’t be afraid to switch plans each semester to find what’s best for you.

The lovely Traditions at Scott, where I practically live because I’m addicted to their chicken legs and Mongolian grill.

Advice, Campus Life, Dining, Food, nutrition, Student Life


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