Fast food tips to keep you within your food budget

Five Fast Food Facts

by Rhiana Jones

Related Articles

5 Ways to Save while Dining Out

Fast Food The Frugal Way

10 Tips for Dining Out on the Cheap

Sometimes you just have to eat fast food. We all have the best intentions. We plan meals ahead of time. We make dinners and put them in the freezer. We try and keep the pantry full. But you have to admit that sometimes you just have to have fast food. Here are some fast food facts to help you keep within your food budget:

  1. Eat off the value menu. It may seem obvious, but it's the number one rule you should remember. Most fast food chains have a $1 or value menu. It's always cheaper than a combo and it's much better for your health to eat a small burger, small fries and a drink, rather than a super double bacon cheeseburger, extra large fries and a quart size soda.
  2. Order off menu. Was your fast food chain running a super special $2.99 meal recently or offering a special item selection? Most places will still give you the special item or price if you request it. I've been ordering a special $2.99 meal from a local chain location near me for ages, even though they took it off the menu two years ago.
  3. Beware of the extras. Some places have a lot of little hidden extra fees they tack onto that $5 combo meal, such as thirty cents to upgrade your fry size, sixty cents for cheese, or fifty cents for each extra sauce. Before you know it, your $5 meal can turn into a $7 or $8 meal.
  4. Deconstruct your combo meal. It is true that a combo is usually cheaper than individual items. However, what if you don't need a 32-ounce soda and an extra large fry? Would you save a couple of dollars per person to order the specialty sandwiches separately and with a small fry and drink? Work out the pricing before you order. It only takes a couple of minutes and you could still have your super deluxe bacon cheeseburger and save money too.
  5. Think about sharing. No one needs the amount of calories in a large combo meal. Often my husband and I will order one combo meal and an extra burger (usually off the dollar menu) and share the fries and drink. A 24-ounce or 32-ounce soda is more than enough for two people.

So the next time fast food is the only way to go, save some bucks by trying these fast food tips.

Rhiana Jones is a frugal living blogger. For deals, giveaways, freebies and more, check out her blog at

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.


Debt Book