A $5 meal plan for a high school student can sound like a blessing to keep a student’s funds relatively in check, but really the idea of spending only $5 for lunch is far-fetched and very unlikely. So could the average student live on $5 a day, a budget roughly $.80 higher than the families supported by federal food stamps? I say no, taking into consideration that lunch will cost the average student between $6 and $9 each day.
Eating out for lunch every day inevitably adds up. Whether or not you are spending money provided from your parents or pulling from your own pocket, spending more than $5 a day for even three out of the five school days each week adds up to over hundreds of dollars spent by, in its simplest form, ingesting the necessary vitamins and nutrients to allow for a functioning body.
Of course during the peak hours of lunchtime, the majority of the local shops and restaurants offer some sort of “lunch special”. Despite the straightforward title “special” given to these lunchtime meals, these specials are anything but special to the customer. The customer is unknowingly being, or perhaps knowingly and still choosing to be, ripped-off. Lunch specials are distinguished by their lower prices and often their personal meal sizes, like offering a two slice pizza lunch rather than a whole pizza, but often times the size of the meal that you are paying for won’t have a fair correlation with the price you paid. Jersey Mike’s Subs, a chain restaurant located about five minutes from Apex High School’s campus, offers a $6 student discount for each regular sized seven-inch sub purchased, not including tax fees. Although, categorized under the big and bold letters, “Lunch Specials”, I wouldn’t consider a dollars-worth of savings on an already overpriced sub that I potentially have the ingredients to make myself in the comfort of my own home (but choose not to solely because of laziness and the luxury of eating out) a special.
Attempting to persuade juniors or seniors to stop spending money all together on restaurant provided meals is a lost-cause, especially taking into account the wide variety of easily accessible lunch options. Rather than paying full price for meals or becoming influenced by false claims, students should look into coupons. Coupons books sold annually for both the lacrosse and softball sports teams of Apex High School offer coupons that could save you money on eating out locally. A Jersey Mike’s Subs coupon featured in the softball coupon book offered the purchasing of one regular sized sub (around $7) and two drinks (about $1 each) for a free sub of equal or lesser value than the first, ultimately paying approximately $9 for two regular sized subs and two drinks. The same two meals with this coupon cost only about $4.50 per person, keeping you under your daily budget of $5. Varying coupons can also be found online and in local Southwest Wake Newspaper.
It is possible to eat well without breaking the bank. And even if you aren’t breaking the bank yet, you can still take advantage of the resources that will help keep some of your spending money in your wallet.