Genius Spends Only $150 a Year on Food by Eating Every Meal at Six Flags

The maneuver allowed him to pay off his student loans and buy a house.

November 02, 2021


Photo by: New York Daily News Archive/Getty

New York Daily News Archive/Getty

Lots of us like to clip coupons. Saving a buck on a grocery-store item we were going to purchase anyway can provide an exciting rush. A dollar saved and all that. And then there are the extreme couponers — perhaps you know one; perhaps you are one — who make a serious hobby of getting more for less.

But a guy named Dylan recently profiled in lifestyle and culture site Mel Magazine takes the sport of money on food to the next level. Actually, to an entirely new level. This guy has to be some kind of spending-as-little-money-on-food-as-possible champion. A true genius who is rightly being hailed as a millennial hero.

The 33-year-old Santa Clara, California-based electrical engineer spends $150 a year on food — and by doing so for seven years saved enough to pay down his student loans and buy a house, getting married along the way.

How did he do it? He figured out that you can get a year-long membership to Six Flags with a dining pass that includes unlimited entry into the amusement park, free parking and two meals a day. Cost: $150. And since there was a Six Flags only a five minute-drive from his workplace, he ate essentially all his meals there — every day, all year long. Lunch at midday. Dinner on his way home from work.

He started his money-saving maneuver in 2014.

“That entire first year, I don’t think I ever went to the grocery store,” Dylan told Mel Magazine. “I timed it so I was able to go there during my lunch break, go back to work, then stop back for dinner on my way home.”

He plowed the money he saved on the Six Flags free-dining loophole into savings and paying off his student loans.

“One of my coworkers said she spent $1,500 a month on eating out, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m not going down that road!’” he recalled.

Dylan admits that when he started his gambit, the food offerings — such as burgers and fries, pizza, a refillable cup of soda and what he described as a “pathetic sandwich” — were pretty unhealthy, but he says they have improved over the years.

“They’ve got decent options now,” Dylan told the magazine. “Still a lot of bad food, I mean it’s theme-park food so you can’t expect too much from them. But you find the options that aren’t terrible — stuff like tri-tip sandwiches and vegan options like blackbean burgers and meatless meatball subs.”

Yes, he has at times gotten sick of the limited options. The “chicken balls,” for instance.

“I’d estimate I got them around 150 times, and at five per meal, that’s around 750 balls,” he shared. “I don’t know that I could ever eat them again.”

At this point, Dylan says he eats only three or four lunches at the theme park, preferring to eat dinners and weekend meals with his wife, who is not so into roller coasters or, presumably, a theme-park diet. And he has learned through experience that it’s healthier and better for his waistline to forgo snacks and stick to the park’s healthier options — like the salads they’ve added to menus.

Yes, Dylan sometimes takes time to enjoy a roller coaster ride during a meal run, and no, he sees no reason to stop enjoying the super-cheap-dining option Six Flags has — perhaps unwittingly — afforded him.

“As long as they keep changing the menu,” Dylan told the magazine, “I’m happy.”

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