Even though fast-food isn’t exactly a 5-star dining experience, you can still end up with quite the bill – that is, if you don’t know all the tips and tricks to help you get the best bang for your buck. If you’re a fast-food enthusiast, stay tuned and check out 10 NEW Fast Food SECRETS That Will Save You Money!
10. Customize To Ensure Freshness
Fast-food can either be the best or the absolute worst – and it’s all about the timing of your visit. If you have a tendency to order your favorite fast-food fix late a night, don’t wonder why it always seems just a little off. Chances are, you’re not getting the best for your money. You see, the later it is at night, the longer the food has probably been sitting around, waiting to be sold. Fewer customers means slower rotation – if any rotation at all – which means you’ll be served older food. And if you crave something that’s not that popular in the first place? The horror you could get. However, there are a few ways to remedy the situation. You can either go to a fast-food place earlier in the day, but if the hunger really hits later, try customizing your order. How could adding extra pickles or holding the mayo change the freshness of your midnight-craving food, you ask? Easy, laziness. Most fast-food outlets wouldn’t think of unwrapping an already wrapped burger to make the changes you asked for, so they’ll end up having to make a new, fresh one just for you. And if you really don’t want to change anything on your order, then just ask for it to be made fresh! The majority of employees will be more than happy to accommodate you and your order; all you need to do is ask! It might not directly make you save money, but it will definitely make those dollars spent worth it in the end.
9. Arby’s Happy Hour
Speaking of the right place at the right time, if you know how to manage your time well, you might be able to score some pretty interesting deals the next time you pull up to an Arby’s. Arby’s has always come through when it comes to offering the best food deals on the market and has even gone beyond expectations in some cases. Many people aren’t aware of all the promotions their favorite fast-food joints offer, so in case you didn’t know, there is such a thing as “Happy Hour” at Arby’s. Also known as the “snack rush,” the Happy Hour takes place every day from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. This promotion has been on and off for many years. During these happy hours, customers can get any slider, cookie, small potato cakes, small curly fries, small shake, or small drink for only $1. A buck goes a long when talking Arby’s grub, especially after a hard day of work. Whether it’s a Buffalo Chicken Slider or a Pizza Slider, it doesn’t matter; they’re all on sale! Obviously, you need to check ahead if your local Arby’s offers this promotion, as not every location does. Forget raising prices and killing dollar menus; you can always count on Arby’s to help you save as much money as possible.
8. Starbucks’s Freebies
Starbucks is definitely one of the world’s leaders. Well, in terms of coffee, obviously. As the biggest coffee chain in the world, it’s entitled to set its own standard prices, which doesn’t always mean cheap. As good as it can be, you can’t deny that sometimes, your pockets hurt a little after visiting your local Starbies. If you still want to enjoy the goodness of Starbucks without having to pay the equivalent of your student loans, this is the secret you need to know. It might seem a bit extreme, or like you’re pushing your luck a little, but it still works almost every time. For a chance of getting a free drink – and actually discover new drinks in the process – try this very simple ask. Again, it’s all about the timing. During rush hour, go to the Starbucks of your choice, preferably in a neighborhood you know has a high level of traffic, and head over to the barista standing at the end of the counter – not the one taking orders. All you need to do is ask if they have any unclaimed drinks just lying around back there. Almost every time, there are going to be at least one or two unclaimed beverages just sitting there. Of course, it depends on the location you’re visiting, but the chances are actually still pretty high. But why are there so many unclaimed drinks? Mostly because of miscommunication between the barista and the person ordering the drink. So, just go on and ask, you have nothing to lose, and only a free drink to gain!
7. McFlurry Hack
The French fries and Big Macs aren’t the only iconic things you can get at McDonald’s. The McFlurry is pretty close in the race of “best McD’s items” since it debuted on the menu back in the 1970s. However, even though the McFlurry is not exactly “expensive” to begin with, there are still ways you can save some dough on your favorite frozen treat. A standard McFlurry usually comes in around $2.39 – which isn’t a lot in theory, but for what you’re getting? Some people would argue that it’s way too much. So, to virtually score the same thing and pay less, just use this DIY solution. There are many floating around on the internet, but this one might just be the closest to the real thing yet. Just order a sundae – Hot Fudge or Caramel, depending on your preference – which usually costs $1.29. Then, here’s another little secret that isn’t universally known by everyone, you can ask the worker to give you a McCafe cookie for around 39 cents. You then proceed to smash it into your ice cream yourself, creating your very own McFlurry, with a unique flavor. The final price should be $1.68, which in the long run, can really add up. Or better yet, if you’re heading home and you know you’ve got a box of cookies at home, just pop some of those in the sundae and enjoy.
6. Keep Those Receipts!
Whenever you go to a fast-food restaurant, you’re always confronted with the question: do you want to keep your receipt? Truth be told, most people couldn’t care less about a $10 receipt, and they decline. And if the worker still gives it to you anyway, you probably end up throwing it away, or it stays somewhere in your car indefinitely – big mistake. Keeping this small piece of paper might have the biggest financial benefit – and you’ve probably never even noticed. What most people don’t know is that the back of these receipts are like gold mines – there’s almost always something on there to benefit you. More often than not, you’ll find discount codes and other savings opportunities. These codes are often leading to surveys on the restaurant’s website, which will then give you access to a bunch of free food items and even sweeter deals. Like Burger King, which often prints an offer for a free burger on its receipts, or Pizza Hut which gives out a free pizza after answering a quick poll. And if you happened to have visited Popeyes in the last six months, you can probably get a free two-piece chicken offer if you order a drink on the side for your next order. In other cases, you need to answer a survey to get a buy one get one or simply a free item. Basically, you have nothing to lose by taking the receipt, only something to gain.
5. Get The Kids’ Meal
For those times when your appetite’s just not all the way there, and you don’t feel like eating a huge meal, sit-down restaurants are probably your worst enemies. They will most likely not let you order from the kids’ menu because, well, you’re not a kid. But at fast-food joints? It’s a whole other story. When you want to get a decent meal for less money, just order off the kids’ menu – no one’s going to say anything about it. You might be thinking; how could a kid’s meal at a fast-food place be enough for an adult? Well, if you go to Culver’s, in particular, you might be in for a teat of a decent size. You can get a cheeseburger, fries, a small drink, plus a scoop of that delicious frozen custard for only $4.99. You’re practically getting eight bucks worth of food for only 5 – not too shabby of a deal; plus, you’ll probably be full enough to carry on with your day, and you get a nice dessert to go with it. For less than $5, you can order the carnitas meal at Chipotle and the six-count original nugget meal at Chick-fil-A. Essentially, wherever you go, if you want to save a couple of bucks or simply if you have a small appetite, the kids’ meals should be your next go-to!
4. Random Holidays
Nowadays, it feels like there is a celebration day for everything. Hot Sauce Day, Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast Day, or even Eggs Benedict Day – there’s too many to count. With so many random “national days” now, it’s hard to keep track. But, if you want to make your fast-food experience even better, there are a couple that you should know like the back of your hand – this knowledge could come in very handy if you’re a fan of freebies. Like knowing that March 14th is National Pie Day, where you might find yourself getting free pizza, or when National French Fry Day is, so you can score some free fries, and so on. The most beneficial day of all, though, is National Fast Food Day which is on November 16th. Last year, many fast-food joints were offering tons of crazy deals; all you needed to do was ask. At Dunkin’, you could get a free Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich. At Burger King, you could grab a free kids meal with any purchase, Popeyes offered a free large side with the purchase of a family meal, and visiting McDonald’s got you a free McFlurry with the purchase of a Big Mac and French Fries through the mobile app. In other words, to turn a random day to your advantage, do your homework!
3. Get The App
This one isn’t so much of a secret, but it’s still something more people should be aware of. Today, the majority of fast-food restaurants have an app. At first glance, this may seem a little like insignificant information, but after taking a closer look, you might want to reconsider downloading them. Most fast-food apps not only contain a bunch of deals and coupons, but some will even reward you with gifts upon download. Let’s take Burger King, for instance. The Burger King app gives you access to exclusive coupons available only if you have the app, which can include free food and “buy one get one”deals. Depending on the location, you can even use the app to order ahead and skip the line when you pick it up. At Chick-fil-A, it’s the rewards program that’s really worth it. When you place an order on the app, you automatically earn points, that way, you don’t ever need to remember to scan your membership code again, and the more you spend, the more benefits you unlock. Plus, it tracks your progress, so you know exactly when your next reward is going to be. And finally, if you download the McDonald’s app, as a first-time user, you will get a free large order of fries. And, from now until June 27th, you can get an additional free medium order of fries. You’re probably better off downloading every app from every fast-food you fancy; you just might be pleasantly rewarded for your effort.
2. Subway Salad
Everyone knows that eating healthier can be a little more expensive – specifically at fast-food restaurants. It’s like there’s a health tax on every decent offer or something. In any case, there is always a means to hack your way around the ridiculously high prices of healthy food. Like if you go to Subway, for example. Sure, technically, Subway is considered a little “healthier” than most fast-food places – in theory – but if you want the healthiest odds on your side, the salads are your best bet. However, if you want to opt for a salad instead of a sub full of carbs, the bill will surely follow. For the same portion size in terms of ingredients, you pay up to 2-3 dollars more for a salad than a sub. So, instead of ordering a salad, order your favorite sandwich and tell them to hold the bread. And without the bread, the only container available around is the salad container – voila! You got the salad you wanted and saved some money at the same time. And since the sandwich usually comes with a dressing, they can just pour it on top of your hacked salad, and you’ll be good to go! And if the employee asks you if you want a salad, just smile and say no! BUt still get the cookie, though – they sure are delicious!
1. Stick To The Combos
Sometimes, the cheaper the food, the smaller the portions are. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the cheaper the food, the better the deals are. You might be tempted to get everything separately, especially if you don’t feel like a soda with your fries, but as it turns out, the best bang for your buck lies in the already made combos. A little tip; they’ve been put together for a reason. Take KFC. A good meal at KFC isn’t always cheap – unless you know how to order. To get the most value for your money, sticking with the combo will get you a long way. Not only does it pack a lot of food, but it’s also insanely cheap. In a five-dollar box, you will get a small chicken sandwich, a side, a medium drink, a biscuit, and a cookie. All this food for only $5 is one heck of a deal – considering that everything without the sandwich would cost about $4.50. You simply can’t even argue the value of this deal! It might seem like you’re not getting all that much at first, but trust us, it’s plenty! So, really, ignoring the combos and assuming that they’re not worth it is a rookie mistake – and now, you know.