The impoverished college student’s guide to eating for free


From parking permits to textbooks to those useless iClickers that will only be needed for one class, you will be spending a lot more on your education than what your tuition and fees suggest.

To those students who are new to K-State, accept that you will be poor for the next few years. To those who are returning, you know what’s up. The best tasting food is free food. In your collegiate career, you’ll have many opportunities to cash in on free meals. This guide will show you how.

Campus organizations, special events

An important part of acquiring free grub is to know who’s giving it away. Many student organizations hold campus events that feature free food. During the first two weeks of school, they will be everywhere. It’s possible to do a lap around campus and walk away with free hot dogs, ice cream, bottled water, candy and more. Take advantage of these while you can.

Find out when campus organizations meet. Oftentimes, they will serve free food at their meetings. Even if you wind up not interested in the group, at least you can walk out with a free snack. Always check the K-State homepage or The Collegian for the latest on free stuff.

After the first couple of weeks, events with free food will be a little less common, which is when you’ll have to look off-campus.

Eating free at restaurants, grocery stores

What’s better than eating and not having to cook? Not having to pay for it either. Several national restaurant chains offer free items when people sign up for an email newsletter or app, as expanded upon by Urban Tastebud’s article, “How to get free food at 156 restaurants without getting arrested.”

So sign up with an email you don’t mind receiving spam with and enjoy things like free pancakes from IHOP, a free baked good from Panera or a free waffle from Waffle House.

Similarly, more than 400 restaurants across the country offer some sort of free item on your birthday or when you download an app.

After exhausting your free-food run at restaurants, there is still one option left: grocery store samples. No one is suggesting you should stuff your pockets with 1.5 pounds of food like a Minnesota man did a few years ago, but a little light grazing is definitely okay.

There are a number of ways to score some free food out there, make sure to take advantage of them in order to save a little money during the semester.