A California man saved enough money to pay off his student debt, buy a house and get married, by figuring out how to "dine out" for $150 per year.
The 33-year-old genius named Dylan has been eating almost every meal at Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park for the past seven years — saving an absolute fortune in the process.
"You can pay around $150 for unlimited, year-round access to Six Flags, which includes parking and two meals a day," he told Mel Magazine. "If you time it right, you could eat both lunch and dinner there every day."
Dylan had his eureka moment on the first day of his internship as an electrical engineer in Santa Clarita when he noticed he could see the roller coaster park from his office, just a five minute drive away. While considering an annual pass for the rides, he realized that for the one time fee for a dining pass, he could have hit the restaurants twice a day — every day.
"That entire first year, I don't think I ever went to the grocery store," he said. "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."
"It was crazy — I was saving money, paying off student loans," he continued. "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!'"
Initially, he said the menu was "kind of lame", the options being just burgers and fries, pizza, breadsticks, a "pathetic" sandwich, and a refillable soda, which obviously "wasn't healthy at all, which was rough."
As a result, he pulled his frequency to three to four lunches a week; and when his wife initially moved in he stopped doing dinners, as "she's not as big into roller coasters as I am."
Luckily for him, the park began expanding its menu, to include the likes of tri-tip sandwiches and vegan options. "Still a lot of bad food, I mean it's theme-park food so you can't expect too much from them," he went on. "But you find the options that aren't terrible."
The good/bad news was, the park also began including snacks with the pass too... "that's where it got dangerous,” Dylan lamented. "Separate from the meal, you could get Dippin’ Dots, sundaes, churros, pretzels — all that type of stuff. That's when I started adding weight."
He soon leaned to steer clear of the snacks and stick to the "healthier" options. He also, obviously by now, learned off by heart the map of the food options, the exact routes to them, how much time it takes and even how many steps, noting that some routes — such as through Hurricane harbor — he has to bear looking a bit "weird being the only guy dressed business casual while everyone else is walking around in swim trunks and bikinis."
In total, Dylan reckons he has dined there more that 2,000 times, bringing his average spend on meals to about 50 cents.
"We just bought a house here, so I'm not really going anywhere," he added. "As long as they keep changing the menu, I'm happy."