On a budget: Spend less on weekend visitors
Although I’ve formed great friendships here, some of my favorite weekends at MSU so far have been when my close friends from home come to visit. After seeing the same set of faces every day, it’s refreshing to catch up with those who you haven’t seen in months.
The problem is, I always seem to spend an unnecessarily large amount of money on such weekend adventures.
For those who live on campus like me, it’s nearly impossible to avoid spending an arm and a leg when friends visit. With the high price of cafeteria food, purchasing tickets to sporting events and the never-ending temptation to go shopping, even minimal costs such as a few rides on the buses can add up. It either is the host or the guests who end up spending a bulk of the money.
So lately, I’ve taken to finding clever ways to avoid spending a small fortune during weekend visits.
After several feast-filled weekends, I’ve noticed most of my money goes toward food when I have guests. For the most part, my friends tend to avoid the cafeteria because they feel it’s not worth $9 for “school food.”
So to avoid cafeteria dinners, my friends and I often order takeout food from nearby, inexpensive food places, such as Domino’s Pizza, 143 N. Harrison Road, or Rice Kitchen, 551 E. Grand River Ave., which we evenly can split the cost for and save as leftovers for the next day. We usually order the Almond Boneless Chicken Dinner Combo from Rice Kitchen for $7.65, which comes with steamed rice and can feed about two to three people. If we’re in the mood for pizza, we typically get a medium Artisan Pizza for $7.99 because it’s just enough for one meal and maybe even leftovers — and it can fit in my mini fridge.
To make sure I have a variety of snacks readily available, I like to know when I’m having visitors at least two weeks in advance so I can make a conscious effort to use my daily Combo-X-Change — an option that comes with on-campus meal plans and provides one free food and drink item combination every weekday — so I can stock up on snacks and drinks, and my friends don’t have to go shopping for the trip. I try to mix it up and get an even amount of breakfast foods, such as cereal and granola bars, and microwaveable lunch or dinner items, such as Chef Boyardee microwaveable products and Ramen Noodle Soup.
When it comes to entertainment, MSU plays host to several campuswide events on the weekends, such as Campus Center Cinemas every Thursday through Sunday evening in Wells Hall. Although it is free just for MSU students, it only costs about $2 for nonstudents.
Wharton Center hosts several events on the weekends as well, such as plays and musical performances, and tickets often can be purchased up to a week before the show. Even though Wharton Center often hosts large-scale performances that tend to be on the pricey side, they also hold an array of smaller, more intimate shows that are inexpensive and fun. For example, my friends and I like to see the Spartan Dischords perform if they happen to have a concert while they’re here, and tickets can be purchased for about $8 each .
Granted, most on-campus events aren’t usually free for those who are not MSU students, but spending $2 to see a movie is better than spending an entire paycheck at the mall.
Although it might not be easy to resist the urge to spend fistfuls of cash among old friends, it’s beneficial to hold back, and for some, it’s even necessary. In the end, your friends and your bank account will thank you for it.