There’s no doubt that fast food can be unhealthy at times, but it doesn’t have to be overly expensive, either. You can actually save money and eat well at fast food restaurants by following a few simple tips.
Here are some ways you can save money on fast food to help you stick to your budget and your healthy eating goals.
1. Share Your Meal
Yes, sharing is caring. Eating out can be expensive, especially if you’re trying to save money. But if you share a meal with a friend or family member, you might actually end up saving money.
For example, if you and your friend order a burger, fries, and a drink each, you’ll both be splitting the money. The same meal, if you each order separately, costs more. But why stop there? You could even share a meal with a few more friends.
This way, you will be able to save more money and will treat yourself to a good meal.
2. Avoid Restaurant Weekends
Restaurant weekends are one of the worst times to try to save money. The food is overpriced because most people take advantage of it. It also usually comes with a long wait time. And if you have an option between two restaurants, and one location is typically less expensive, you should definitely go there.
Also, avoid fast food chains that offer one-dollar menu items. Many fast-food restaurants offer dollar menu items that are priced around $1. But in many places, this doesn’t apply to all menu items.
Make sure you’re looking at the prices as a whole before getting your order ready. Order your food ahead of time to avoid tipping charges. Many fast food chains offer phone ordering where you can avoid tipping or dealing with wait staff altogether.
3. Use Coupons at Restaurants
One of the best ways to save money on fast food is to avail coupons. This can be done by taking discounts from your favorite restaurant or browsing through offers online.
For those who are very familiar with coupons, you can even get free meals altogether. If you don’t have time for this, then make sure that when you order your meal, you’re ordering something that is not only affordable but also as low-priced as possible.
Coupons can help you get more for your price, as well as introduce you to new places. Try ordering off the sides menu or asking for extra vegetables instead of fries.
4. Visit Nearby Stores
For those of us who don’t have time or money to plan ahead, we need easy go-to eating options. Accept the fact that fast food can be expensive at times. But you don’t have to always rush to the restaurant to extinguish your hunger.
That’s where nearby stores come in handy. A nearby grocery store is perfect for the person whose hunger strikes out of nowhere with nothing readily available to eat. When you’re hungry and no stores nearby, you can head out for a drive and look for a place that will serve your needs.
5. Start Cooking at Home
Eating at home is better for your wallet, health, and the environment. Even though fast food is cheaper, it is not necessarily cheaper to eat out frequently. A bag of groceries can last you a week or even two weeks, depending on the size of your family.
This means that you will spend a little more initially, but you will save money in the long run. By cooking at home, you will also have more control over what you eat. You can cook only healthy food, and you can cook only the food that your family will like.
So, what can you do when that’s not an option? Order wisely. Choose smaller portions, so you don’t overeat. Opt out for lower-calorie sides like broccoli or salad with oil & vinegar dressing.
6. Find Places Where Kids Eat Free
You may not believe it, but there are many restaurants out there that offer free food for kids. Some of them open this deal on weekends, but most of them have this option for a whole week. So, in order to cut costs on food, you have to find at least one fast food corner that will serve you well.
However, before ordering the food, you must ask if the kids’ package is available. Because you definitely don’t want to end up with a whole bund of kids on their doorstep just to find out they are no more offering this deal.
7. Look out for Time-Sensitive Deals
Wouldn’t you be delighted if you got a 2 Hamburger Combo for less than $7.00? Yes, some restaurants offer these kinds of deals at certain times. All you have to do is remain updated with the menu prices of popular restaurants, and you’ll have economic deals on the go!