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Save Money on Fast Food

My primary goal when it comes to fast food is just don't. Its unhealthy, its small expenses that add to big expenses, and its just downright nasty at some establishments.

That being said, it is often at times too convenient to pass up.

So if you're in the same boat, please eat smart and pay smarter.

First understand that the numbered combo meals are designed to get us to spend maximum dollars per visit. Menus are designed to capitalize on the fact that the average person either doesn't read the full menu or is unwilling to take the time to piece together a meal from the value menu. My local McDonald's charges $6.29 for a twenty piece chicken nugget box. A four piece box costs a dollar. By reading the menu and ordering 5 of the 4 piece boxes, a person can save $1.29. Granted, most people do not order a 20 piece, but I don't think the pricing difference is an oversight.

Here are some tips for reducing costs at a fast food restaurant.

1) The kids menu portions are closer to the recommended portion size for adults than anything else on the menu. So eat smaller and spend smaller! Look at it like this a combo meal ranges anywhere from $4.50 to $6.50 or more! Factor in a supersized fries and a supersized drink for only fifty cents more and you have a meal fit for a small family. Do you really need that much food? Absolutely not. Look elsewhere on the menu. Value menus are popping up all over the fastfood world. These value items are typically smaller and definitely a better bang for your buck.

2) Learn to Share or Save. Share a large fry or large soda or even the whole meal with some one else. Its just the right amount of food to satisfy and the cost of the meal is halved when you let some one else join in on the fun. If you buy a meal from a fast food joint, eat half and save the rest for later. Microwaved fries taste horrible to me, but wrap them in a moist paper towel and they're from the greaser fresh!

3) Read the menu! Many restaurants sell a double cheeseburger for a few cents more than a single. If a single burger and a few fries is not filling enough, go for the double burger. It only adds a few pennies to the cost of the meal. Exploit the value menu like nobody's business!

4.) Not only is water better for you, but it’s also free. You can usually save around $2 a person by ordering water instead of soda.

5.)In our area, some of the fast food places have weekly specials — like Sonic burgers half price after 5pm on Tuesdays, a meal at KFC on Tuesday and Wednesday for just $2.49, half price soft drinks and slushes during happy hours at Sonic and a local drive-in, etc. Learn your areas specials, and utilize them if you want a fast-food-fix.

6.) Check your receipts! One make sure you were charged correctly and two you may have an offer to complete a survey and get free food out of it.