Although fast food is delicious and convenient, fast food restaurants can take a toll on your wallet. With inflation on the rise, fast food prices are at an all-time high. According to the USDA, American households spend approximately 10% of their disposable income on fast food. Since fast food is a significant expense for many people, we’ve compiled this guide to help you save money at the drive-through.
1. Look at the Menu Ahead of Time
When visiting popular fast-food chains, the most common mistake people make is purchasing the wrong item. It’s important to be aware of expensive menu items in order to avoid them. By viewing the menu beforehand, you can make a calculated plan, and stick to your budget. Make sure you view the menu prices that correspond to your specific region. Never go to a restaurant without a plan. Need extra cash? Check out this site that pays up to $25 per survey.
2. Purchase a Value Meal
Most fast food restaurants offer “value meals” that are more cost-efficient than other menu items. It's typically cheaper to purchase one of these meals than to buy the items separately. For example, a small value meal might be cheaper than purchasing an entrée, and a side item, individually. Look closely at menu prices before you purchase a standalone item. It’s possible that you could save a good chunk of change by buying a meal. Additionally, some restaurants offer a family meal that feeds multiple people. If you are with a group, consider splitting a family meal instead of buying your own meal.
3. Sign up for the Rewards Program
Make sure to take advantage of rewards programs. Typically, you can sign up for a restaurant’s incentive program by downloading an app. Otherwise, you’ll need to speak to an employee in person. When you use these programs, you will receive points for every purchase you make. These points can be redeemed for free food and can result in big savings.
4. Look for Coupons
Searching for coupons is another strategy for reducing fast food expenses. If you sign up for a company’s email list, they might send you seasonal coupons and personalized offers. Save your receipts from fast food restaurants. Receipts often include coupons that can be redeemed on your next visit.
5. Don’t Make it a Habit
It’s important to keep in mind that preparing your own food will always be the cheapest option. With prices higher than ever, frequent fast food purchases add up fast. It’s okay to treat yourself but always keep your budget in mind.