How Geneva Students Eat Out on a Budget - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Campus Life
October 28, 2015

How Geneva Students Eat Out on a Budget

Almost every school is finding new ways to keep their students entertained while balancing rigorous class loads, friends, athletics and for students like me, a job as the cherry on top. But what about that fuel that keeps our batteries charged in order to do all of the fun stuff that college has to offer? What about the food? We all know the mouthwatering feeling when we sink our teeth into a loaded burger from the dining hall, but if you’re like me when the weekend comes, that daily burger is looking less and less appealing. Here are five ways how you can cleanse your pallet and eat out as a student on a budget.

Take advantage of the daily specials. Restaurants typically have mouthwatering daily deals that will help you pinch your penny while still satisfying your craving for finer-than-the-dining-hall eats. Suggestion: try something on the special’s list that you’ve never had before! Not only does this make life exciting, but you can let your belly rest easy by knowing that it didn’t burn a hole in your pocket.>

Go for the coupons! Restaurants like Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Denny’s, Chili’s, Bob Evans, and Applebee’s and hundreds more have coupon listings for crazy deals that you won’t be able to pass up. Get your scissors ready to clip for savings at! Coupons offer discounts for meals or group rates that will save you cash.

I’ll have water, please! Save money, order water. Ordering a soda (or a pop if you speak Pittsburghese) can sometimes raise the bill by $3 or more. And then there are the refills. Most restaurants charge a reduced price for refills which is great until you get the bill and your overall cola intake has cost you $6. Unless, of course, you go to Applebee’s. Then the refills are free. And Geneva students love Applebee’s. But if you’re really trying to pinch your pennies, order water!

Here’s a list of restaurants in the greater Pittsburgh area that provide free refills: Chili’s, Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and my personal favorite, Starbucks; but only if you’re a Loyalty Member.

Save room for dessert! If you haven’t already noticed, buying dessert is crazy expensive. If that crème brûlée is calling your name and you just got paid then it’s totally worth the extra $7, but if you’re like me and you can’t bear the thought of not satisfying your sweet tooth after a meal, just remember that the package your mom sent you back in your room has a bag of M&M’s in it. Think ahead when you go snack shopping and grab a tub of Ben and Jerry’s or a box of cookie dough for the weekend desserts.

Speaking of snack shopping, obviously shop for snacks that are tasty, but keep in mind that it’s important to buy snacks that are filling and provide redeeming nutritional qualities. Here’s a list of savory snacks that are high in protein and low in saturated fats: almonds, cheese sticks, Triscuits made with sweet potato (personal favorite flavor – Sweet Onion with Brown Rice), Clif Bars, Justin’s Almond Butter and oatmeal. Snacking before a meal is a healthy way to curb your appetite so that you don’t end up going to town on ordering the largest item on the menu and burning a hole in your pocket at the same time.

Everyone has their own method of saving money while eating out, but the most important thing to remember is that you should listen to what your body is telling you. Be mindful of physical cues and feed yourself based on what your body needs and wants!

—Celia Harris '16

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