Do people still buy meal plans when they live off-campus in college? Why or why not?

6 Answers
It's not common, especially if you have a kitchen. It's so much cheaper to grocery shop and cook your own meals than it is to get a dining plan. Plus, if your on campus friends live on campus, you can try and bribe them to give you one of their guest meals every once in awhile!
I didn't have one, just because I hated the dining halls when I dormed and knew I would be committed to cooking for myself. However, if you find yourself spending time on campus instead of your own home, I would definitely recommend a meal plan. It's more convenient and budget friendly then buying food all the time or wasting money on groceries you will never get to use.
I didn't have one when I lived off campus because I cooked a lot, but there were some days when I was stuck on campus all day where it would have been really nice to have a meal plan! I think it depends how much you are going to actually cook/ how often you are on campus so you can weigh out the costs and see if it is worth it.
I didn't have a meal plan when I lived off-campus, but I wish I had gotten one. It was hard for me to find the time to cook meals when I was busy with schoolwork, and I found myself eating less healthy because I didn't have all of the options of a dining hall available to me. It was also difficult because I live in an area where there are no grocery stores close by, so finding the time to buy groceries was another inconvenience that I hadn't anticipated. For me, having a meal plan would have saved me some extra time and planning that I wasn't used to having to do.
Yes! I lived off campus for 3 out of the 4 years I was in college and always had a meal plan. Instead of having to pack a lunch and go to the grocery store often, I could just spend the day on campus and use a meal plan to get lunch. Only having to make breakfast and dinner for myself saved me a lot of time and work. I would try to eat a larger meal during lunch so I didn't have to make a whole meal for dinner because I would still be full. I definitely recommend it!
Some people buy meal plans, yes, but often times they buy the lightest meal plan (not the 7-day or even 5-day plan, but the 55-day plan or whichever plan contains the fewest number of meals). On the quarter system at UCSC, the 55-day meal plan ends up amounting to abour 1 meal per school day (so that you would cook the other meals but have at least one prepared meal they could redeem per day). Some students living off campus might opt for a heavier meal plan if they either do not like to cook, are unable to cook, or don't have time to cook. There are tons of valid reasons for students to continue buying meal plans while living off campus. However, it's often the case that the cost of a meal plan is either roughly equal to the cost of just buying your own groceries, or it may be a little more expensive than buying your own food--in these cases, it comes down to convenience and whether you're interested in cooking for yourself (it's a very important skill!)

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