You've definitely been there: when your friends want to go out to Panera, but you went out for sushi yesterday. You spent more than $1,000 on your meal plan, so why can't you just get together in the dining hall?
Lucky are the guys and gals who can afford to go off campus to eat everyday, but for the majority of us, that isn't the case. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with being social in college on a budget without missing out.
Limit going out to eat to once a week
If you have a meal plan, USE IT! You've already paid for it, and instead of shelling out extra money on an expensive restaurant meal, get most of your meals in the dining hall. To mix it up, you can try the retail options most dining services run on campus. If you limit eating off your meal plan to just once a week, you'll enjoy it way more than if you eat out every day.
Plan before you go out
The social scenes of many schools are based around the bar, which can quickly add up to an expensive night out if you figure in the cover charge, drinks, and Uber rides. Instead of planning to drink only at the bar, pregame at your dorm or a house party.
If you can, walk to and from the bars, or take a bus. As far as cover charges go, you probably won't be able to score a discount, but if you pick only a few bars to go to instead of hitting up all of them.
Shift your spending to where you really want it
The best way to avoid not having enough money to do the things you want is to shift your spending from other categories to savings for the things you truly want. For example, if your library offers copies of textbooks on reserve, use them instead of buying your own. Or, if you want to save money to get coffee with your friends, make your own in the mornings, and spend the money you saved at the bar.
Talk to your friends and plan other activities
You don't have to miss out on college life just because you're on a budget. If you feel comfortable, open up to your friends and suggest cheaper alternatives. Chances are, they'd be happy to spend less too, and they're probably in the same boat as you financially.