Budget Buddy

Eating on campus is a favorite topic among incoming first-years. And for good reason: students love food and want to make the most of their dining dollars. At Campus Dining, eating is easy with 32 different dining venues on campus to choose from including three markets and more than 1,000 delicious options. Budgeting dining dollars, however, is not so simple for those new to campus. That's why we created Budget Buddy, a budget management tool to help keep students on track. Just click on the appropriate dining plan below to view the dining dollars target.

As of today, March 30, 2023 there are 77 days till the end of the Spring Quarter 2023 This is the target balance for the First Year Max dining plan.

Dining Dollars

Starting balance:


Targeted balance:


Targeted balance based on 74 days in Spring Quarter 2023.

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Balance too low?

Students with a balance that is nearing zero can add money to their Campus Express account, which they can use at any dining venue. They can access Campus Express dining programs through the Money Matters tab on the Cal Poly portal.

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Balance too high?

Students who find themselves with a large amount of dining dollars remaining at the end of the quarter have a few options. They can donate to the Mustang Meal Share program and help fellow students struggling with food insecurity. They can stock up on groceries like snacks and drinks or personal items at all Campus Dining markets. Cal Poly products like chocolate, jam and BBQ sauce are a market staple and make great gifts to bring home.

Staying on budget

The trick to staying on budget is for students to monitor their balance. Students can keep up to date on their dining funds through the Cal Poly portal. They can also swipe their PolyCard at any register at all Campus Dining operations to see their remaining balance. Dining dollars roll over quarter to quarter and expire at the end of the academic year. Students should make a habit of checking their balance often, at least weekly. It’s a new pattern to add to their college-life list, like calling home once a week to let everyone know how things are going!