We’ve reached that point in that semester where most UMass students are beginning to panic over their quickly declining UMass dining dollars. The start of second semester started out with bliss as students willingly spent their dining dollars on coffee, bagels, and pizza. Now the realization starts that we can’t keep living the luxurious, carefree life that we once did. However, there is no need to panic as you can still enjoy your favorite meals from Blue Wall by following some of these helpful tips to satisfy those hungry cravings, while not leaving you dry for the rest of the semester.
1. Side Salad from Star Ginger
Star Ginger has some awesome dishes, including their curry or siracha chicken. They are incredibly generous with their portions, especially the rice. A way to really get a full-size meal at this restaurant is to get their side cole-slaw salad. They give you a mountain of shredded vegetables and cabbage, and the asian-sesame dressing they use is to die for. This whole meal is typically on the cheaper side, so feel free to treat yourself to an added spring-roll as well.
2. Don’t Create Your Own Salad
It’s often tempting at Green Fields to build your own salad because of the many toppings they offer at their salad bar; however, doing so can quickly add up. The best way to save your money here, while still enjoying their delicious salads, is to get one of their salads on their menu. Even if you do not want all of the toppings included, feel free to tell your server to add one ingredient or drop another – most will do so without adding extra costs. Be careful though, adding extra egg, bacon, or chicken will cost you more.
3. Chicken is the Way to Go
It most places in Blue Wall, chicken is the cheapest way to still get that protein and taste of meat. Although beef and pork are delicious, they tend to cost more than chicken. Places, such as Tamales and Star Ginger, are pretty generous with their meat portions, thus chicken is definitely the way to go to satisfy your grumbling stomach. #SpoonTip: If you’re on a health kick, avoid any fried chicken. Topping off your salad with some grilled chicken is a great way to get some of that needed protein, but just beware that if you ask for extra chicken, you will be charged.
4. Avoid Meat If You Can
Not really into that meat grind? Well, that’s good news for your dining dollars. Typically having meat as part of a dish is an extra cost. Avoiding these costs can really help keep your meal at a reasonable price. Therefore, don’t be afraid to go meatless once in awhile, as it can really save you some bucks in the end.
5. Order Both Beans
Got a big appetite and craving some Mexican food? Tamale’s salads automatically come with a fried tortilla shell filled to the top with a delicious burrito salad. Feel free to customize your bowl with your choice of either brown or white rice, beans, meat, and extra toppings. Ordering both beans will get you double the amount without any extra added costs, and don’t be afraid to add some grilled corn, pico de gallo, salsa, or sour cream – free of any extra costs. Avoid ordering guacamole or various meats because these can quickly drive up the price of that delicious bowl.
6. Side of fries
In the mood for a snack, but not an entire meal? Try just getting a side of fries at the Grill. The servers there are pretty generous in the amount of fries they are willing to give. You even have the luxury to choose from either regular or sweet potato. It’s a great snack to munch on while you catch up on your studies, and it doesn’t cost more than $4.
In the mood for something sweet but afraid to spend those precious dining dollars? Paciugo is pretty reasonable about their portion to price ratio. Even ordering their smallest size, which can cost less than $2, will get you a decently sized portion of gelato. If that is not enough to satisfy your cravings, then go one size up and order 2 flavors. Those servers really pack those tiny cups like no other; it’s definitely worth the few dollars spent.
8. Drinks are a no-go
Ordering a drink with your meal is not always the way to go. Save a couple cents or a dollar by ordering your meal without a drink. There are always cups by the soda fountains that you can use to quench your thirst. Although they are not as big as the cup you are given when ordering, it is definitely worth a try if you’re saving some money. Also, don’t worry about the guilt, everybody understands the broke-college student struggle you’re going through.