Ben Borgers

I Used All of My Meal Swipes!

May 13, 2022

At the beginning of the semester four months ago, I set a goal to use all 400 of my meal swipes by the end of the semester. Tufts forces freshmen to be on its most expensive and overkill meal plan for their first year, so I figured I would put that meal plan to good use.

And yesterday, I managed to finish them all!

It’s honestly been a lot more effort than I realized. I built a website that would keep track of how many swipes I had to use to be on track:

I followed the “ideal” number (the second bar) for a couple of weeks, but then I realized I had to make some adjustments to the calculation. That’s where my issues started.

Suddenly I was 10-15 meal swipes behind at all times. And it remained like that for most of the semester. I was using the maximum possible meal swipes every weekday — 6 swipes (2 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I missed some meal periods, but not very many.

So when it got towards the end of the year, with about 40 swipes left I did the calculation and realized that I could finish it. I moved out quite early since I live close to Tufts, but finishing them required going back to campus every weekday to use 6 swipes (and in the process, I studied for finals on campus). It was quite the inconvenience, but I was so close to my goal that I couldn’t give up then.

And yesterday, it paid off!

So what did I do with all those meal swipes? I mostly used extra meal swipes to buy granola bars:

Even though granola bars on campus are about 3x overpriced, I managed to buy around 100-200 granola bars of them throughout the semester. Even after giving a lot away to friends (from other, less meal-swipe-fortunate universities), here’s the stash that I came home with:

You’ll also notice a lot of bags of chips mixed in. The thing is, you can’t mobile order granola bars. But you can mobile order chips. So sometimes, when I was running late in the mornings, I’d use my two breakfast meal swipes by mobile ordering 7 bags of chips and then picking up my order later in the day.

So in the end, was it worth it? No, probably not. But it’s fun to have stupid goals and to accomplish them. And I can sleep well knowing that I got my money’s worth* out of this meal plan.

* Or at least as close to my money’s worth as is possible on a Tufts meal plan.

Bonus photo — me using my last two meal swipes: