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How to Get Free Food in College

February 5th, 2008 admin


Honestly, even though I’ve graduated, I still get pretty excited about a free meal. I’m starting to think that feeling never really goes away. So, whether you actually need to get food for free to stay in budget, or you just want a good free-slice-of-pizza pick-me-up, here are a few ways you can find free food on and around your college campus:

Free Food at the Cafeteria
One of the most sure-fire ways to get free food is to put in some hours working at an on-campus cafeteria. A lot of them offer free food as a benefit (it doesn’t come out of your pay or anything). I worked at the caf for about 6 months my sophomore year, and got free food every time I worked-not leftovers, either, but an actual fresh hot meal. Nice.

Student Discounts
Be on the lookout for this any time you’re at a local restaurant or eatery of any kind-especially the smaller non-chain places. One local pizza place down here gives you a super-cheap deal if you show your ID, other places you can get a free drink.

Also, check for student discount coupon booklets. We have a free one for San Diego colleges called the Student Dollar Stretcher.

Clubs, Films, and Seminars
Most people know that the best way to draw a college crowd is free food-I’ve seen clubs offer everything from pizza to boba, and all you had to do was go to a meeting. There are also a lot of one-night seminars or film showings where free food comes in to play-they want the room full, you want a free slice of pepperoni with double cheese-it’s a match made in heaven!

Look Online
Did you know there are actually websites that track free food events on college campuses? One called Hungry Hungry Coeds tracks free food offerings for a random smattering of schools-from Georgetown to UT Austin-and the upcoming free food events. (They’ve also got a pretty funny page of tips about how to get the optimal experience out of foraging for free food at school.)

**update** Wisebread recently posted a great blog article with lots of other ways for college students to eat for nothing. Make sure to browse through the comments there, too–they have some good ideas!

Happy eating!

Photo: pizza by André Montejorge

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Entry Filed under: discounts deals & freebies,food & recipes

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tim  |  February 5th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Another great way to get free food is to head on over to your local Costco or Sam’s Club, especially around lunch time. They will have a wide variety of stations set up with FREE samples. If you play your cards right (and bring a variety of disguises) you can hit each sample stand two or three times.

    Oh, and don’t just eat and run…act like you’re really interested in the product and ask for a second sample!

  • 2. Jamie  |  February 5th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Haha Tim that is such a great idea! The best thing is you can go back almost any day and the food will be different. I always make Costco runs at lunch time for this exact reason. 🙂

  • 3. Free College: Scholarship&hellip  |  February 5th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    […] Surviving College Life has a few great ideas for students on a budget to consider as well:  How to get free food in college! […]

  • 4. How To Get Free Food in C&hellip  |  February 6th, 2008 at 1:57 am

    […] To Get Free Food in College Surviving College Life has a post How To Get Free Food in College. They have some notable tips, but you also got to appreciate the Hungry Hungry Coeds philosophy as […]

  • 5. University Student Articles  |  April 6th, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    lol tim thats brillient, first time go as you, second add a hat and a scarf then a baggy coat XD you can also try and become a mystery shopper, keep the products you buy *most companys allow you to* sell them on ebay and woot, you got paid to shop and then when you buy food to the amount of the bought item its technically free 😛

  • 6. 10 Ways To Get Free Food &hellip  |  September 22nd, 2008 at 4:02 am

    […] How to Get Free Food in College at Surviving College Life […]

  • 7. sara  |  August 6th, 2009 at 8:10 am

    how can i get free college meal please help me

  • 8. Kaci  |  August 20th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Our local Zaxby’s would give us 15% off our meal during finals if we showed our student ID.

    Also, check the nearby rest area (usually off an interstate, more crowded areas may not have them) because they usually have booklets, coupons, deals, and brochures with discounts or free meals/events inside. Another bonus to this is that you can take as many as you like to use.

  • 9. Kaci  |  August 20th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    OH! And I hate to double comment but if you sign up for online newsletters you can get coupons and free meals in your inbox. Some of my favorites are Zaxby’s, McDonalds, Hooters, and Buffalo Wild Wings. BWW actually sent an e-mail with a coupon for 6 free wings with any sauce during finals week (coincidence) one semester which made me feel awesome, like I had earned it!

    This options may not be good for healthy/other eaters. But it’s worked for me.

  • 10. Free Food at OU  |  September 1st, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Stop paying for food. Free Food at OU is a resource for Oakland University students to find events on campus that offer free food. Oakland University is located in Rochester Hills, MI.

  • 11. Greg  |  February 3rd, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Another great way to find free food at college is through this website: http://food-bot.com. It has an automated computer program which uses AI to find free food events in emails and posts them on the website for college students to enjoy!

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