Tag Archives: meal plan

Meal Swipes & More: Paying for your Meals at Purdue

6 Jul Text "meal swipes and more: paying for your meals at Purdue" over picture of dining court food

Purdue Dining and Catering offers several different payment methods to its patrons: meal swipes, dining dollars, Boiler Express, and cash/credit options. Below you will find an explanation of each option, culminating in a cost-effectiveness evaluation.

Meal Swipes: During academic semesters (including Maymester and summer school), students have the ability to purchase a meal plan, providing them with meal swipes. There are several different types of meal plans, which are covered in this blog. Meal swipes allow the student to swipe his or her student ID card and enter the dining court quickly. They are prepaid via the meal plans, which range in totadiningdollars_tall_meal-plan_purdue (2).jpgl pricing from $2,998-$5,398. Depending on the meal plan purchased, a student can have anywhere from 8 to unlimited meal swipes per week. Students holding one of the unlimited meal plans are given 16 meals per year with which they can swipe in friends or parents. Students on the 8 or 13 meal plans cannot bring in friends or parents, as the swipes are exclusive to the intended cardholder.

Dining Dollars: The second most popular student option. Dining dollars come pre-loaded on the student’s meal plan. Some meal plans are sold without dining dollars, so be aware of the dining dollar total presented with the meal plan you select. Dining dollars can only be re-loaded if you purchase the Boiler Flex Unlimited plans. Dining dollars are a great option, as they allow the student to bring in guests. The student will be asked whether or not their guest is a fellow student. Student pricing is slightly cheaper, as it is tax-free. The guest will be asked to produce a student ID to verify their status. A student dinner with dining dollars costs $9.60.

BoilerExpress: a third, slightly more expensive option. BoilerExpress accounts are helpful for off-campus students, employees of the university, or the student who has run out of dining dollars. Their pricing is a little steeper, coming in at $11.40 for a student dinner. Students can use their BoilerExpress accounts to bring in friends and parents in a manner similar to dining dollars. Employees can use BoilerExpress accounts to purchase meals at a discounted rate. BoilerExpress accounts are also valuable in their potential for refunded money. Unspent dining dollars expire at the end of the academic year; unspent BoilerExpress money can be refunded to a student as long as the account total is in excess of $10. It’s important to note that any deposit in a BoilerExpress account results in a convenience fee of $3, so when depositing, be sure to think ahead to future costs.

Cash & Card: Finally, anyone can purchase entry to Purdue’s buffet-style dining via cash or credit card. This is the most expensive of the options, costing $11.90 for a student dinner, and $12.73 for a non-student guest. Students can, again, show their IDs for tax exempt pricing, and if a family chooses to eat at a dining hall, children aged 3-10 will receive a discounted price. Purdue Dining accepts Visa and MasterCard.

Ideally, an incoming student will select the most appropriate meal plan and feed his or herself primarily using meal swipes. This is the most cost-effective option, assuming the student is not overpaying for unused swipes. If a student runs out of swipes for the week, the next best option is to pay using dining dollars. If the student does not have dining dollars, they can use BoilerExpress, or lastly, pay using cash or a credit card. It is important to make sure you know how many meals you have left per week! You can ask the employee who swipes you in to let you know how many meals you have remaining. If you choose to buy a meal using dining dollars or BoilerExpress, be sure to ask for your receipt, as it will have your current account totals printed on it. Being aware of your options when it comes to the dining halls can save you more money than you would expect!

Healthy Eating on a College Budget

29 Sep

Heather Kessler, Purdue University Alumna
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

healthy-eating-on-college-budget

Is it really possible to eat healthy while on a small college budget? There are many guides on the internet offering advice on this topic. I’ve gone ahead and broken down a few of the most common suggestions.

1)      Always have low-budget healthy staples on hand.  This is just a small list of what can be helpful to have in the pantry or fridge at all times.

list of healthy foods

2)      Have a plan before you shop.

  • Check to see what is on sale that week at local grocery stores, and what coupons are available
  • Make a menu for the next week (or two)
  • See what you already have in stock in your kitchen
  • Make a list of the other items you need
  • Stick to that list while shopping for items
  • Try to stay around the perimeter of the grocery store as this is where the healthy produce tends to be.  The aisles usually contain items that have been processed and are not very healthy.

grocery store producs

3)      If you struggle with buying more when you have a card, plan how much you are willing to spend ahead of time and get just that amount in cash.  This will help you keep to your pre-determined budget and be less likely to overspend.

4)      For fruits and vegetables try to stick with what is in season and on sale, as it will keep the prices down.  Frozen vegetables are also good to use and will keep longer (and can usually be found at lower prices than fresh vegetables).  Canned is okay, but they tend to use more preservatives in the canning process.

5)      For lean protein on a budget, try to stay with white meats.  Chicken and turkey are both great options.  If you are willing to spend a little more money, salmon or tilapia offer wonderful health benefits.

6)      Whole grains offer the most nutrition for the dollar with items such as bread or pasta.  Try to avoid white bread and pasta since they are processed and most of their nutrients have been taken out.

Try not to waste any of the food you have, you invested good money into those items and they should be used.  If you need ideas on different entrees to make with the same ingredients Pinterest or The Food Network have many different ideas and they are easy to navigate through.  Here’s to healthy eating and more money in your bank account!

Choosing a Meal Plan at Purdue

31 Aug

For the 2016-2017 school year, Purdue Dining & Catering will be offering six different meal plans. If you are an incoming freshman, four of these six possibilities will be open to you.

Boiler Flex Unlimited 500 Plan: For the Famously Hungry Student
If you plan to eat at a dining court three times a day, seven days a week, this is the plan for you, as you will have unlimited meal swipes. The Flex 500 plan is also most favorable for students who prefer to eat in retail operations, as it provides the student with $500 dining dollars (more than any other plan). Dining dollars allow students to pay using their ID rather than cash/credit at retail operations. The Boiler Flex Unlimited 500 Plan comes with an additional 8 meal swipes per week in one of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations. Students on this plan also get 8 free guest meals per semester, adding up to 16 total guest meals per school year. This allows students to bring in friends and family without sacrificing dining dollars or Boiler Express totals. This plan costs $5,398.Meal_Plan_Purdue_tall2.jpg

Boiler Flex Unlimited 250 Plan: Unlimited on a Budget
Students on this plan also receive the yearly 16 guest meals, unlimited access to the dining courts, and 8 meal swipes per week in one of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations. However, they get half the dining dollars of the previous plan ($250 as opposed to $500). The Flex 250 plan is more suitable for a student who does not plan to eat in retail operations frequently, but would still like to get in their three full meals a day. This plan costs $5,172.

13-Meal Track: For the Less Voracious Eater
This plan gives the student a finite number of meals per week. This plan is suited well to students who will likely skip breakfast in favor of sleeping in. With this meal plan, a student can purchase lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, as well as lunch on Sunday. As this plan has a finite number of swipes, the student is free to spend as many of his or her 13 swipes in any of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations as they would like. They also receive $450 dining dollars, allowing them to eat at retail operations or pay for friends at their discretion. This plan costs $4,554.

8-Meal Track: A Meal Plan on a Budget
This option is the cheapest, but it does not offer dining dollars to students, meaning they will have to pay with BoilerExpress or cash/credit at any retail operations. Similarly, they would have to use BoilerExpress or cash/credit to pay for friends or family. A student on this meal plan might have classes scheduled throughout the day and find his or herself only able to eat in the evenings and weekends. These students are also welcome to use as many of their meal swipes at any of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations as they would like. This plan costs $2,998.

If you will be a Purdue student at sophomore status or above, two more options are available to you:

Boiler Block Plan: A Plan Off-Campus Students Might Be Particularly Interested In
This option provides students with a total 246 meals at the dining halls throughout an entire academic year. This plan is also unique in that these students are allowed to use their swipes on their friends or other guests. If you choose this plan, be sure to stay on top of how many swipes you have remaining! This plan also comes with $450 in dining dollars so students can take advantage of restaurants in the Union or other retail operations. These students are also welcome to use as many of their meal swipes at any of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations as they would like. This plan costs $4,292.

Boiler Gold Plan: Available For Hawkins Hall Residents
It consists of $1500 dining dollars and no meal swipes. As Hawkins Hall residents have kitchens on each floor, students using this meal plan might cook the majority of their meals in the hall and occasionally get a meal or two per week at a dining operation. The Boiler Gold Plan is a good backup to have handy when working on group projects on campus or if you need a quick Starbucks pick-me-up during finals week! This plan costs $1500 for the academic year ($750 per semester).

When choosing your meal plan, you should take into account the amount of meals you eat regularly, as well as your class schedule and previous habits. You can upgrade your meal plan to add more meals at any time, so if you start out on the 13-Meal Track and find yourself wishing you could eat more often, you can change your meal plan mid-semester. Purdue will then bill you the difference. However, you cannot downgrade your meal plan mid-semester; you will have to wait until winter break to change it. While the financial costs should play a role in deciding which plan is right for you, always make sure you are getting enough to eat!

On-the-GO!

On-the-GO! is your carry-out option for dining. Located adjacent to Earhart, Ford and Windsor Dining Courts, On-the-GO! provides a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and snack items. Beverages are free when you swipe your PUID and use the refillable cup that is provided to each student during move-in. You may use multiple swipes per visit in On-the-GO! On-the-GO! offers convenience for students who don’t have time to stop and sit down for a meal. The service is quick and the choices are many.

One meal swipe = 1 entree & 3 side items + a free refill in your reusable mug

What You Will Find At On-the-GO!

Cereal bowls, milk, muffins, bagels, yogurt parfaits, Little Debbie snacks, granola, cookies, Pop Tarts, Smucker’s Uncrustables, snack mixes, cottage cheese, apple slices, whole fresh fruit, pita bread & hummus, entrée and house salads, wraps, sandwiches, veggie combos, Coke, coffee and more.

All On-the-GO! locations are open to all Purdue students using meal swipes. You can use multiple swipes if you’d like. On-the-GO! only accepts meal swipes that accompany your meal plan.

Looking for options other than the dining courts? 7 Extra Ways to Use Your Meal Swipes

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