Meal Plans: How Much is too Much?

When you come to college, there are a lot of new things you need to start taking care of by yourself. One of them? Feeding yourself. Before 2018, UW Madison made meal plans optional for those living in the dorms, but the semester I came in as a transfer, they were required. I had never lived on my own, so I did not have a great sense of how much I would typically need to spend daily for my food. I was excited to be able to eat in the dining hall with all of my new friends, and I had a lot of money saved up from working throughout high school and my freshman year of college, so I figured the tier 3 option would be best for me. That way I wouldn’t ever have to worry about not having enough money to eat. That seems smart, right?

If I could go back, I would never have chosen that option. I severely overestimated how much food I would eat every day. The $3,000 were put onto my WisCard in two instalments, $1,500 at the beginning of each semester. By the end of the fall semester, I still had $1,000 in my account. I only finally ran out of money on my card this spring semester. That money lasted me a whole year longer than I needed it. It was nice to have, but that extra $1,500 could have easily gone to tuition or rent once I was out of the dorms. So, unless you have a huge appetite or want to feed all your friends, I would not suggest tier 3! But hey, it was nice being able to get Babcock ice cream all the time. 🙂

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