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maisy03
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#21
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#21
I found this article useful...www.redbrick.me/2014/10/more-for-your-money ...gives you an idea of what you might actually buy
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amberskye
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#22
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(Original post by nikkinak)
I'm going into second year and I was in Mason Halls on Meal Plan last year. Just to give you a bit more of an idea about Meal Plan...

We got around £45 per week to spend on food. Your money ran from Saturday morning (when your card was topped up) to Friday night, when any remaining balance would be cleared and you had a fresh £45 for the next week. Your flatmates will also be on Meal Plan, but your block will probably be mixed.

At Shackleton, you could spend your money on Infusion restaurant in the evenings, or at the Deli at lunchtimes for a panini or sandwich. Also this year they launched Pizza Shack for the evenings too, where a margherita pizza for example only cost £6.95. Great if you have friends round, and my friend and I sometimes shared a pizza one night where I paid, then she would buy dinner for me another night. There is a Costcutter in Shackleton and in the university centre, but unfortunately neither accept Meal Plan.

At the weekends, things were a little different. You could go at lunchtime to get a sandwich or panini etc, but Infusion didn't open in the evenings, so you could either get a pizza from Pizza Shack or cook for yourself. I usually bought a panini or baguette for the evening at the weekends.

On campus, you can spend your Meal Plan money at every university outlet. This includes med school, the cafe in the learning centre and the food court in the university centre. Being a medic, I didn't really try much food outside of med school, but apparently the food court was very popular (if a little expensive if you weren't on meal plan). I'd say generally food on campus is overpriced for what it is. In the students union building, there's a little restaurant and a Subway, neither of which accept meal plan though.

The great thing about Meal Plan was that it really took the stress of cooking away. I'd recommend it for first year, just because you're going to be trying to adjust to living alone away from family, and you want to focus on settling in and getting used to university life, rather than worrying about feeding yourself and ensuring you have enough food to last you. Although it is quite expensive (none of my self catered friends ever spent £45 a week on food!!) it's really just about convenience. For first year I'd say it's useful. Also, if you had any money left over, Infusion also stocked things like milk, bread, fruit, yoghurt, cereal, porridge etc throughout the week, so you could use your meal plan money to get essentials like that.

But just be aware, even if you're on Meal Plan, you will have to cook at some points. Eg. if you're too tired to go down for dinner (bit of a trek from Mason and Maple Bank), or at the weekends. Need to be careful with budgeting too - since you get your money at the weekend, you have to try and ensure you make it last till Friday, or cook instead.

Hope that gives you a bit more insight into Meal Plan
This is really useful information, thank you. I'm thinking of putting Mason as my first choice for accommodations (although I know it's hard to get your first choice, I don't mind where I end up) but if I do get it, what is it like? I've heard that people judge you for living there, but I guess I can cope with that if you had an ensuite, what was it like? Thanks in advance.
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Lauren404
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#23
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(Original post by amberskye)
This is really useful information, thank you. I'm thinking of putting Mason as my first choice for accommodations (although I know it's hard to get your first choice, I don't mind where I end up) but if I do get it, what is it like? I've heard that people judge you for living there, but I guess I can cope with that if you had an ensuite, what was it like? Thanks in advance.
Personally, I wouldnt opt for meal plan. It restricts you to times and set menus which over the year will get a bit repetitive. You will have money left over at the end of the week, which will either get wasted or youll just have to buy pointless things like bottles of coke just to use it up!

You can eat down there on pay-as-you-go kinda thing, which i think is better. If i eat all my meals down there for a week, the ones that I actually want, it costs about £30-£35? Therefore im still saving a tenner just by paying as i feel!

As self catered, my weekly food budget is about £25? Just something to bear in mind.

The only perk to meal plan is the ease, just go and get a meal with no dishes etc, but then you can do that if you just pay when you fancy one!
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amberskye
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(Original post by Lauren404)
Personally, I wouldnt opt for meal plan. It restricts you to times and set menus which over the year will get a bit repetitive. You will have money left over at the end of the week, which will either get wasted or youll just have to buy pointless things like bottles of coke just to use it up!

You can eat down there on pay-as-you-go kinda thing, which i think is better. If i eat all my meals down there for a week, the ones that I actually want, it costs about £30-£35? Therefore im still saving a tenner just by paying as i feel!

As self catered, my weekly food budget is about £25? Just something to bear in mind.

The only perk to meal plan is the ease, just go and get a meal with no dishes etc, but then you can do that if you just pay when you fancy one!
Thanks for the info. I'll think about it over the next few months while I can still edit my accommodation application
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3kicksatthedoor
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#25
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(Original post by amberskye)
This is really useful information, thank you. I'm thinking of putting Mason as my first choice for accommodations (although I know it's hard to get your first choice, I don't mind where I end up) but if I do get it, what is it like? I've heard that people judge you for living there, but I guess I can cope with that if you had an ensuite, what was it like? Thanks in advance.
MASON: From experience, I didn't find that people judged you. Yes, there were people who lived there who drove shiny new Minis and took delivery of Ocado shopping etc but there were also a fair share of more 'common' people like myself. I thought it was a great hall, plenty of room in the kitchens both for cooking and for having flat parties.
Bedrooms were big enough, you get a 3/4 bed
I liked the fact there's 2 windows in each room on slightly different levels. One is at the same height as the desk, the other at shoulder height and the blinds are decent too. Didn't find the rooms cold either and the radiators are adjustable.
The only downside is the ensuite is a wet room and my shower ended up getting the whole wet room floor wet, despite the divider, so if you want to use the loo or sink then put your shoes on or get wet feet! Having said that, if you shower in the morning then I found the floor to be dry by the afternoon providing the sliding door be left open.

MEAL PLAN: I wasn't on meal plan, but I wouldn't recommend it. You can buy the food they sell for the same price in cash, so it kind of defeats the object unless you get more credit on your card than you pay for. Campus food provides a good offering for lunch, but other than that it is very very limited. Great for sandwiches and paninis and a few "salads." The pre-prepared ones are chicken/fish etc plus lettuce leaves, but the build your own ones are good value. For dinner, your only option is the facility within Shackleton. If you don't fancy the choices on offer that day then there's few alternatives. I used it for breakfast a few times and the offering is good, but you'd be better off going self-catered even if you bought stuff from campus facilities most of the time.
All of the food at Birmingham is prepared fresh from the central kitchens other than the Urban Eat and Ginsters branded Sandwiches/Pies etc, and on the whole is good.
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amberskye
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#26
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(Original post by 3kicksatthedoor)
MASON: From experience, I didn't find that people judged you. Yes, there were people who lived there who drove shiny new Minis and took delivery of Ocado shopping etc but there were also a fair share of more 'common' people like myself. I thought it was a great hall, plenty of room in the kitchens both for cooking and for having flat parties.
Bedrooms were big enough, you get a 3/4 bed
I liked the fact there's 2 windows in each room on slightly different levels. One is at the same height as the desk, the other at shoulder height and the blinds are decent too. Didn't find the rooms cold either and the radiators are adjustable.
The only downside is the ensuite is a wet room and my shower ended up getting the whole wet room floor wet, despite the divider, so if you want to use the loo or sink then put your shoes on or get wet feet! Having said that, if you shower in the morning then I found the floor to be dry by the afternoon providing the sliding door be left open.

MEAL PLAN: I wasn't on meal plan, but I wouldn't recommend it. You can buy the food they sell for the same price in cash, so it kind of defeats the object unless you get more credit on your card than you pay for. Campus food provides a good offering for lunch, but other than that it is very very limited. Great for sandwiches and paninis and a few "salads." The pre-prepared ones are chicken/fish etc plus lettuce leaves, but the build your own ones are good value. For dinner, your only option is the facility within Shackleton. If you don't fancy the choices on offer that day then there's few alternatives. I used it for breakfast a few times and the offering is good, but you'd be better off going self-catered even if you bought stuff from campus facilities most of the time.
All of the food at Birmingham is prepared fresh from the central kitchens other than the Urban Eat and Ginsters branded Sandwiches/Pies etc, and on the whole is good.
Thanks for the meal plan info, might rethink some of my choices now!
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sabbrin
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#27
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#27
Postgraduate student do the have a meal plan




(Original post by 3kicksatthedoor)
MASON: From experience, I didn't find that people judged you. Yes, there were people who lived there who drove shiny new Minis and took delivery of Ocado shopping etc but there were also a fair share of more 'common' people like myself. I thought it was a great hall, plenty of room in the kitchens both for cooking and for having flat parties.
Bedrooms were big enough, you get a 3/4 bed
I liked the fact there's 2 windows in each room on slightly different levels. One is at the same height as the desk, the other at shoulder height and the blinds are decent too. Didn't find the rooms cold either and the radiators are adjustable.
The only downside is the ensuite is a wet room and my shower ended up getting the whole wet room floor wet, despite the divider, so if you want to use the loo or sink then put your shoes on or get wet feet! Having said that, if you shower in the morning then I found the floor to be dry by the afternoon providing the sliding door be left open.

MEAL PLAN: I wasn't on meal plan, but I wouldn't recommend it. You can buy the food they sell for the same price in cash, so it kind of defeats the object unless you get more credit on your card than you pay for. Campus food provides a good offering for lunch, but other than that it is very very limited. Great for sandwiches and paninis and a few "salads." The pre-prepared ones are chicken/fish etc plus lettuce leaves, but the build your own ones are good value. For dinner, your only option is the facility within Shackleton. If you don't fancy the choices on offer that day then there's few alternatives. I used it for breakfast a few times and the offering is good, but you'd be better off going self-catered even if you bought stuff from campus facilities most of the time.
All of the food at Birmingham is prepared fresh from the central kitchens other than the Urban Eat and Ginsters branded Sandwiches/Pies etc, and on the whole is good.
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