Ahh, fast food. You taste you good! But you’re SO bad. Bad for both my health and my wallet.
Seriously! Have you seen the price of some combo-meals? For our family of four, we can spend more at a Subway sometimes than we can for a nice sit-down meal, complete with a tip! That’s crazy.
While fast food can be useful when you’ve got about 30 seconds to find something to eat before your next kid’s soccer game, here are 15 tips that will help you to spend less on fast food.
1. Be conscious of where you’re going.
Like I mentioned, some fast-food places can cost just as much or more than a nice sit-down place. Be aware of which places these are, and avoid them.
2. Be creative.
Sometimes ordering two smaller meals can cost more than splitting one larger meal. For example, ordering a Subway foot long and splitting it is often cheaper than paying for two 6 inch sandwiches.
3. Practice portion control.
While the picture of a Whopper or foot-long sub may look appetizing, put your health in check first and consider what you may be about to eat. Money aside, some of those sandwiches may have enough fat and calories for half of your entire day. Quite simply: That’s gross …
Instead, skip paying +$5 for a mega-sandwich and consider something smaller and more modest like a plain cheeseburger or chicken sandwich. Not only do these selections cost less, they will also hang around on your gut for less time.
4. Skip the extras.
As delicious as bacon and cheese is, leave it off. Some places charge as much as a dollar extra for each of these up-sells. Make your sandwich cheaper and healthier by skipping the add-ons.
5. Split the fries.
I LOVE french fries. But I also know they are bad for me. So instead of me and someone else each ordering our own, I’ll usually offer to buy just one and split it. Not only do we eat less that way, but it always works out to be less.
6. Always use a coupon.
When it comes to fast food, there is never a shortage of available coupons. Comb through the local paper or look online. Check a site like Retail Me Not or Offers.
7. Always check the receipt.
Speaking of coupons, don’t forget to check the receipt. Often there is a discount code for something free the next time you visit.
8. Kids eat free.
Frequent places that give kids meals free or at a discount. Check a website like KidsEatFree.com to see what’s available in your area. As a parent, this can be a great way to save a bunch money on what your kids eat. There was a tex-mex place that we used to frequent where the kids would always eat for free when they were young, and it was awesome! $10 for a family of 4.
9. Order water whenever possible.
I can’t stress this enough: Water is about one the healthiest and best ways to save money there is. Not only will you skip all the calories of a sugary pop, you’ll also skip paying $2 per drink.
10. Order a small drink.
Okay, so you didn’t listen to me about Tip #7. That’s fine. If you do go ahead and order a drink, order the smallest size there is. Most fast-food places have free refills. So as long as you get up and refill your drink, you’ll save some dough in the process.
11. Always refill your drink before you leave.
When the meal is over, you’re not done with that drink yet! Fill up your cup and take it with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re thirsty right now or not. At some point you will be, and you’ll be glad you got that free refill when you are.
12. Drink coffee at work instead of making it at home.
Are you a coffee drinker? Does your work provide free coffee? If so, consider it another employer benefit and save yourself the expense of buying everything you need to make it at home.
13. Brew your own coffee instead of buying it from a restaurant.
No coffee at work? Don’t like it? Okay, then brew it at home. It will be FAR cheaper than paying for it everyday from a restaurant.
14. Learn to love plain coffee.
If you do order coffee, learn to love it plain. Skip the expensive, sugary versions that cost $5 or more. Not only do they contain way more sugar than you need in a day, but they are way-over priced when compared to the plain coffee option.
15. McDonalds Ice-Cream.
Another one of my favorite kids + fast food tips. McDonalds ice-cream is sometimes 50 cents in the summer. Compare that to a boutique ice-cream parlor that charges closer to $4 per cone, and its a no-brainer of a deal!
Featured image courtesy of Flickr