Are the meal plans good value? Watch

username4207886
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And while I'm at it, how good are the restaurants around campus? Is there good variety?
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niv1234
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(Original post by DanielOnTSR)
And while I'm at it, how good are the restaurants around campus? Is there good variety?
Hi!
I'm on meal plan at the moment so feel free to ask me any questions! I think it's super convenient but I don't think there's much choice - especially because I'm vegetarian. Some weeks I run out of money and other weeks I have way too much money left and have to buy random junk as the money doesn't roll over. But I'm glad I'm on meal plan as I don't think I'd be able to cook every day after uni!

The restaurants on campus aren't the greatest -there are cafes dotted around but they all sell the same food. There's a Chinese restaurant, a costa and a starbucks on campus that you can use meal plan at. There are some restaurants at the Vale too where we eat dinner and the food changes every day - sometimes its good and sometimes not.
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username4207886
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Thanks a lot for replying! I didn't realise that your money doesn't roll over, so I'm glad you mentioned that. I don't think that I'll mind cooking that much but the cash aspect does make me think - would you say its cheaper to live on meal plan or to self-cater?
(Original post by niv1234)
Hi!
I'm on meal plan at the moment so feel free to ask me any questions! I think it's super convenient but I don't think there's much choice - especially because I'm vegetarian. Some weeks I run out of money and other weeks I have way too much money left and have to buy random junk as the money doesn't roll over. But I'm glad I'm on meal plan as I don't think I'd be able to cook every day after uni!

The restaurants on campus aren't the greatest -there are cafes dotted around but they all sell the same food. There's a Chinese restaurant, a costa and a starbucks on campus that you can use meal plan at. There are some restaurants at the Vale too where we eat dinner and the food changes every day - sometimes its good and sometimes not.
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esralled
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No, it's garbage and a total scam. As the other poster mentioned, you have to use all your money by midnight on a sunday otherwise it's lost. No matter how hard you try, you can't justify spending £55 a week on groceries. It's definitely cheaper to buy your own meals; you can live comfortably spending half that. Plus you don't want to get to second year and realise that you have no idea how to budget for food, because your maintenance loan decreases each year.
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niv1234
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(Original post by DanielOnTSR)
Thanks a lot for replying! I didn't realise that your money doesn't roll over, so I'm glad you mentioned that. I don't think that I'll mind cooking that much but the cash aspect does make me think - would you say its cheaper to live on meal plan or to self-cater?
I think it depends on which accommodation you live in. I have a meal plan room and I get £56 a week on food but there are still self-catered accommodations that cost more.
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Sotired23
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As far as I know the meal plans are changing from September 2019. Money will roll over week on week and not expire until the end of June.
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Anonymous #1
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For 2019/2020 students it does roll over each week.
(Original post by esralled)
No, it's garbage and a total scam. As the other poster mentioned, you have to use all your money by midnight on a sunday otherwise it's lost. No matter how hard you try, you can't justify spending £55 a week on groceries. It's definitely cheaper to buy your own meals; you can live comfortably spending half that. Plus you don't want to get to second year and realise that you have no idea how to budget for food, because your maintenance loan decreases each year.
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esralled
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(Original post by Anonymous)
For 2019/2020 students it does roll over each week.
I wouldn't know, you'd have to ask the university.
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amanpatel
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Yes, this is true. They told me this at an offer holder open day on the 13th April 2019.
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Isinglass
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https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/study/a.../mealplan.aspx

New students 2019-2020

What is my weekly budget?

You’ll have £52.50 to spend each week.

You’ll also get a Meal Plan-only discount of 10% off all food and drink.* That means when you’re dining on campus with friends, you’re better off on Meal Plan.

*Does not include alcohol.

When can I use Meal Plan?

You can start using Meal Plan on the first Monday of Welcome Week. That’s after Moving-In Weekend, so be sure to have cash or a bank card to cover your first few days.

Meal Plan payments cover 32 weeks of your 42-week accommodation contract, and your weekly budget will be added to your card over those 32 weeks. Outside term time, catering offers a reduced service, but all the outlets that are open will continue to take Meal Plan, and you can keep using your budget. That means if you’re staying here during the vacations, you can use Meal Plan across the whole 42 weeks of your contract.

What if I don’t spend all of my weekly budget?Any money you haven’t spent will roll over to the next week. That means if you eat out or cook for yourself a lot one week, you won’t miss out. Just make sure you spend all your Meal Plan balance before the end of the 42nd week of your accommodation contract, as this won’t be refunded.

The amount credited per week has been reduced by £2.50, but the extension to cover use outside of the 'core' 32 weeks and the money rolling over are improvements on the current scheme. Cue fevered buying of boxes of cereal in week 42, perhaps, though? And self-catering is still much more flexible (and as a previous poster has said, you wouldn't be spending over £50 a week on groceries (even if you intended to buy enough food to cover a packed lunch every day).
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