You may just be on a really tight budget; you may unexpectedly have much less money or credit on your meal plan than you anticipated at this point in the semester. However, it's down to the wire no matter your situation. So just what can you do to stretch every last nickel out of your meal plan? Do not buy beverages – this is the first thing you have to have in mind. Is it nice to have an iced tea, Diet Coke, Red Bull, or other drink with your meal? Of course! But chances are those drinks are costing you a small fortune. Opt for water (from the tap, not in an overpriced bottle) as a way to satiate your thirst while saving money. Consider bringing in your own can of soda or limiting yourself to one beverage purchase a day in case you really like something to drink other than water with a meal. Do not buy empty snacks or carb-heavy meals. Those Doritos looks awfully tasty and so does that side order of fries. Unfortunately, however, both will cost you a lot of money and leave you feeling pretty hungry in a short amount of time. 

How to stretch your college meal plan

Opts for loaded with protein and/or fresh fruits or veggies or items high in fiber instead in case you are super tight on meal plan funds, you need to make the most of what you spend and instead of buying snacks or carb-heavy sides. The third thing is connected with buying nutrition and for the full factor. Is that grilled cheese sandwich one of the cheaper things on the menu? Yup. But there's a reason for that. It will also leave you hungry and won't provide a lot of nutrients while it may be tasty. Try a veggie burger instead or a salad with some grilled chicken. They'll provide more nutrition and will keep your belly full for much longer ... meaning you'll save money because you won't be looking to buy more food in another hour or two. Buy something that will leave you with leftovers - A piece of pizza is fast, easy, and cheap. But the $3.50 it costs you will also leave you with nothing leftover. Instead, opt for a long sub sandwich that you can cut in half. You will get two meals for the price of one in case you eat half now and half later. In case you have food in a to-go box, you can enjoy your next meal somewhere other than a dining hall and you can avoid the temptation to buy more food on impulse in addition to this. Do not buy drastically cheap items. Cross it off your list of things you can use your meal plan for in case you can buy the same item at a grocery store, farmers' market, or corner store for substantially less than you have to pay for it on campus. A quick trip to the store to buy things like yogurt, soda, fresh fruit, and  healthy snacks can save you a small fortune.