If you know anyone who goes to StFX you’ve probably heard them talk about “DCB.” Every year I hear so many first year students say that they didn’t know about it or what it was until the end of first semester, so that’s why I want to give you the scoop on this apparently hidden gem. Maybe you already know what it’s all about, and if so, great! But maybe you’re just as confused as the rest of us when we start at X or are looking for some insider tips.
First things first- What is it?
DCB is an initialism that stands for Declining Cash Balance.
When you sign up for a meal plan, a certain amount of money is applied to your Student ID card. This money can be used at any of the Sodexo campus food outlets to purchase food, coffee, or an assortment of other treats. This is important- coffee will become a necessity once midterms arrive. As you purchase these items the balance left on your card decreases until it reaches $0. The amount that you start with depends on the meal plan that you purchase (see chart below). That means that as long as you have your Student ID (and there’s still money left on it) you won’t go hungry or without coffee for long!
As you can see, most meal plans come with $250 or $300 in DCB. The DCB that comes with your meal plan is non-taxable. Non-taxable DCB just means that it is not subject to sales tax. Non-taxable DCB is connected to meal plans and cannot be purchased separately or switched to taxable. This means that you can only buy items that were made on campus (bagels, muffins, salad/sandwiches/soup, coffee, etc.) and certain items are not available to purchase on their own. For instance, if you are using non-taxable DCB you cannot buy bottles of water or juice unless you also buy soup or a sandwich and make it a meal. Confusing, I know, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick.
Taxable DCB is subject to sales tax and can be used to purchase any available items at any of the retail locations without restrictions. It can be purchased from the Residence Office (the outside corner of meal hall opposite Mini Moes) in $50 increments. Kathleen Adams in the ResOffice is super friendly and approachable and will help you out with whatever you need, so don’t hesitate to ask!
So now that you know what it is, what can you do with it?
Here is a list of places on campus that take DCB:
- Meal Hall (Morrison)
- If you run out of meals for the week/month or want to bring a friend who doesn’t have a meal plan to Morrison, you can pay using DCB – just ask the Sodexo worker who swipes you in to use your DCB
- It provides you with an all-you-can-eat selection but it a little pricey so we don’t recommend using DCB every time you go
- Mini Moes
- Located in the outside corner of meal hall, closest to the library and Nicholson stairs
- Very popular in the breaks between classes so get there fast
- KMC Cafeteria
- Located to the right when you enter the KMC main doors
- Great place to go after attending free skate at the arena
- Known for their all-day breakfast
- Bloomfield Café
- Located on the 2nd floor of the SUB
- Grill station, smoothie station, Rita wraps, burritos, and Starbucks coffee are all popular choices here
- The Inn
- The campus bar serves food from 5pm-8pm Wednesday through Saturday and accepts DCB for food purchases (not drinks)
- If you’re not yet 19 you can still go for food, you just need to leave before 8pm
- MSB Café
- Located in the newly renovated Mount Saint Bernard building
- Not much selection, but great if you’re walking by and in a rush
To figure out how much you have left you just need to ask one of the lovely Sodexo ladies when they ring you in.
So you know what it is and where to use it, now for some Insider tips
- As much as it feels like free money, it’s not
- Be aware of how much you started with and how much you’re spending so you don’t run out by December (it happens)
- Try to only spend half by Christmas break so you still have half for second semester
- Pay attention to how much things cost
- Make mental notes of how much you’re spending and make a loose budget
- $2 coffees every day do add up, maybe stick to one every second day, or every day you have an 8:15am class instead
- Rita wraps and burritos from the SUB are (in my opinion) the best use of your DCB
- They’re delicious, filling, and good for a quick lunch on a busy day
- The lines can get long at lunch though so be aware of when you show up if you’re in a rush
- The Inn is another great use of DCB
- Ask your RA about having a floor dinner there or just go with friends for a nice change from meal hall
- They have everything from mozza sticks, to burgers, to salads, and everything in between (note: wings aren’t actually cheaper on wing night)
- You can get coffee cards!
- Both the Starbucks and Sodexo outlets have coffee cards so you can get a free hot drink after you buy so many- it’s a great way to save if you drink a lot of coffee
- When you get a hot drink from the SUB or KMC ask for a Starbucks coffee card
- When you get a hot drink from Mini Moes ask for one of their coffee cards
Hopefully this has helped you learn a little more about this AWESOME resource available to you! Now you just need to figure out how to not spend it all in one place…