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32 Ways to Hack Fast Food Menus and Save Money

dtran5 profile picture
February 22, 2017 · 5.4k Views

If fast food is your thing for convenience and cost, we're about to make it even more worth it for you. Did you know that you can get the same food on the same menu for cheaper if you just know how to order? For example, instead of getting one Big Mac, you can build your own - the same sandwich - using other McDonald's menu options for cheaper. Keep reading to learn how!

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32 Ways to Hack Fast Food Menus and Save Money french fries icon


mcdonald's

  •  Big Mac substitute: Order a McDouble without ketchup and mustard, and ask for lettuce and the Big Mac Special Sauce instead. You won't get the sesame bun, but you will get a very close Big Mac for about $1.39 (total savings of $2.30)
     
  • Real eggs: McDonald's apparently uses three different types of eggs for their breakfast. If you want a real egg, ask for a round egg that's made to order in an egg ring. The folded, rectangular eggs are scrambled and pressed into that shape.
     
  • Fudge vs. syrup: If you're ordering a McDonald's Mocha, ask them to use fudge instead of syrup for better taste.
     
  • Sausage McMuffin upgrade: Get a better tasting, cheaper Sausage McMuffin by ordering it with a round egg on the side, which is another 50 cents. It's still $1.30 cheaper than ordering a Sausage McMuffin with Egg, which costs $2.99.
     
  • No cheese, please: Order your Filet-O-Fish without cheese to guarantee that it comes out freshly hot.
     
  • The more, the merrier: In the 4-piece of Chicken McNuggets, each McNugget costs 30 cents ($1.19 total). If you have the capacity to consume, order a 20-piece for $5, coming out at 25 cents a McNugget. You also get more free sauces. If you can't handle 20 pieces, order two 4-piece McNuggets instead of one 6-piece.
     
  • Warm bread: It's not baked fresh out of the oven, but you can request to have your bun steamed for a fresher taste.
     
  • Grilled cheese: It's a secret menu item and employees know how to make it. McDonald's grilled cheese consists of two buns, turned inside out, and cheese in the middle.

 

starbucks

  • Get French: Order a French Press instead of 2 Grande drip coffees and you can save $2.10.
     
  • Short is better: An 8 oz. Short and a 12 oz. Tall have the same amount of caffeine, but a Tall costs 80 cents more. 
     
  • Light ice, please!: If you want more bang for your buck, ask for light ice. Otherwise, they'll fill your cup to the brim with ice!
     
  • Forget water bottles: Thirsty? Order a free Venti water at Starbucks. It's basically the equivalent of 2 water bottles, that would probably cost $4.
     
  • A bigger cup: Ask that your beverage be put in a cup the next size up so you have room to add cream, sugar, milk, etc. without it overflowing or spilling.

 

chipotle

  • Protein crazy: If you ask for two different proteins, it's likely that you'll get more meat than usual - about 1.5 times more meat.
     
  • Carb-o-load: You can always ask for extra rice for free. This could easily turn your Chipotle bowl into two meals!
     
  • Kids menu: Order a kids' meal, which comes with fruit or chips, a beverage, and tacos or a cheese or meat quesadilla, for under $5. It's still a filling meal, and at least $2.50 cheaper than a regular entrée at Chipotle.
     
  • Free guac: Get free guacamole if you opt out of protein.
     
  • Free tortillas or taco shells: Order a bowl (which by far gives you the most food for the same price) and ask for tortillas or taco shells on the side. Again, this could easily turn your food into two meals if you just save the sides for later.

 

taco bell

  • Triple Layer Nachos: Instead of getting Chips & Cheese that'll cost you $1.30, order the Triple Layer Nachos without beans or sauce for $1.10. You'll get more nachos.
     
  • Guac is extra: Guacamole is extra, but it's only 35 cents extra. Add it to your beef or bean burrito for a *fancier* meal.

 

domino's pizza

  • DIY Hawaiian: Instead of ordering a large Honolulu Hawaiian off their menu, order a large, 3-topping pizza with pineapple, ham, and bacon. You'll save a whopping $10. If you want the whole shabang, the Honolulu Hawaiian also has shredded parmesan asiago and roasted red peppers, but you can still add those to your customized large pizza and still save $7.
     
  • Discounted pizza: This is valid at lots of pizza chains. Call to order for delivery and ask if there are any orders that weren't delivered or picked up for carry-out. The pizza place will usually give you a discount for those pizzas, but your pizza might be cold.

 

arby's

  • Classic Roast Beef Sandwich trick: Order 2 Junior Roast Beef Sandwiches and combine them for the same amount of food but $1.19 cheaper.

  • Free food: Buy something - anything - off the menu, then call the number on the back of the receipt to complete their survey. Copy down the survey code and get in line again for free food! You'll get a free Roast Beef Sandwich or a Beef'n Cheddar Sandwich.

 

subway

  • Avoid the Philly: Don't order the costly Philly Cheese Steak. Instead, ask for a Double Steak and Cheese because it's the same exact sandwich with more meat and it costs about $1.50 less.
     
  • Share a Footlong: If you and your friend are okay with the same bread and meat, split a Footlong and customize your own halves. You can change the cheese, produce, and condiments. It can save you a couple bucks.
     
  • Old cut style: If you order it this way, the Subway employee will make a V-shape or trench in your bread to hold your ingredients and toppings better than if s/he were to just slice it along the side.

 

burger king

  • Customize it: Order your burger to your liking so they have to make you a fresh burger, and you won't get one that's been sitting under a heat lamp. 

  • Off the broiler: Mention you want the off the broiler option for your burger so the employees wil run a fresh, uncooked patty through the broiler. This guarantees a fresh patty instead of again, one that's been sitting under a heat lamp.

 

wendy's

  • Fresh fries: If you want fresh, hot, crispy fries, order them unsalted. They'll have to fry you up a new batch of fries, and you ca just salt them yourself with salt packets. Try this at all your fast food places.

 

jamba juice

  • Customize it: Customize your beverage by ordering the ingredients "light" or asking for extra. You can also substitute ingredients, and employees will accommodate it at no extra charge.

 

jack in the box

  • Double up: Get two $1 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers, take off one bun, and smash them together (okay, don't smash them). Now you've got yourself a Double Bacon Cheeseburger for $2 - that's $2 in savings.

restaurants where you can get free food

healthy and inexpensive fast food options

 

dtran5 profile picture
Daisy loves to write with humor and can be quite the sarcastic commentator when it is appropriate. Loves carbs, fashion, staying active, and pinning the latest DIY projects for her room (which she will actually never do).

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