Dear Dale is a Fea­tures advice column.

I spent $400 at the vending machine in my dorm last semester. How do I save money and budget better?

-Over­spent Oliver


Wow, that’s quite a feat. Even though it comes out to about $4 a day, that adds up quickly. The foods you’re likely getting from the vending machine are candy, chips, and sugary drinks. The bigger issue is your diet and eating habits in general. Do you eat enough protein and other nutri­tious foods, or do you rely on quick sugar and caf­feine spikes to keep you going? Try eating more bal­anced meals and perhaps you won’t crave the vending machine trips as much.

If you can’t change your eating habits, try changing your spending ones. Put aside a weekly budget for yourself or try to earn money to keep up with your vending expenses. Try using only cash at the vending machine instead of credit cards – it’s easier to see how much you’re really spending that way. Finally, try pur­chasing those foods in bigger quan­tities at the grocery store or Amazon if you don’t have a car on campus. For the sake of your health and wallet, good luck this semester.

- Dale

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