Eating at a restaurant is normally more expensive than eating at home. Restaurants have to buy ingredients, pay workers’ wages, and turn a profit. Fixing a meal at your house only requires groceries and a stove or microwave. But there are ways to cut the expense of a restaurant meal down to an almost homemade level. Yes, you can save money and eat at your favorite fast food restaurant.
Practically every fast food restaurant touts a special menu of low priced items. Many have entrees like hamburgers or cheeseburgers or even double cheeseburgers for only one dollar. Some sort of value-sized drink is usually cheap along with cheap sides such as French fries, side salad, or potato. It’s not surprising to find an ice cream sundae or apple pie as a special priced dessert on the frugal menu. Fast food restaurant managers know most customers who purchase an item off of the low priced menu will add a full priced food or beverage item to their purchase, which makes a nice net profit for the franchise.
A simple trick that will keep more money in your pocket is packing a small ice cooler with lettuce, tomato slices, bottles of soda, and ice. Order a cheap double cheeseburger in the drive thru or order inside ‘to go’ and have a nice, little picnic in the parking lot. Adding your own lettuce and tomato to a plain, value burger makes a great tasting, deluxe hamburger. Your chilled bottles of water or soda pop will quench your thirst for a fraction of the money the fast food restaurant would charge you for their fountain soft drinks. If you prefer a drink with ice cubes in it then bring a glass and use ice from the cooler.
When you are at a restaurant and using a cooler from home isn’t an option, there are still ways to save money. Fast food places encourage you to order combos, which include an entrée, drink, and side item for a slightly discounted price than ordering all the items separately. Saving a dime or quarter is good, but saving a dollar or more is better. Do you really need a soda pop with your hamburger and fries? Ask for a cup of ice water and save over a dollar. Do you really need empty calorie French fries? Skip the fries and save over another dollar. If you really want a fountain drink in the restaurants paper cup then order a small and refill it multiple times that saves you at least fifty cents.
You can save money while eating at your favorite fast food restaurant by ordering smarter and in moderation. If you are willing to put in a little effort, you can transform cheap menu items into deluxe products. Order smaller sizes and save money and calories. With proper planning and preparation you can turn a trip through the drive into a delightful picnic experience.