Even though fast food remains one of America’s cheapest ways to get a meal, the bills still add up, and with everything being far more expensive than it was back in the good old days, ordering a Big Mac is slowly becoming a major source of financial stress. So, read on to discover some fast-food hacks to get major discounts, and in some cases, even entirely free meals!
Do the Subway Surveys
Subway has been the go-to place for delicious sandwiches since the mid-60s, and with the number of fillings, toppings, sauces, and bread, you can never go wrong with the marvelous fast food chain. However, if you start buying their combos with drinks and dessert, the bill might start to get a bit pricey. So, instead of saying goodbye to those footlong heavenly subs, we have a hack for you.
Since we usually toss away receipts, you probably haven’t noticed that at the end of every Subway receipt, there’s a little sentence asking you to take a survey on Subway’s website. Yes, we all hate surveys and don’t want anything to do with them. However, if you take theirs, which literally takes under a minute, they immediately give you a code for a free drink or a cookie!
A Cheaper Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks
Nothing heralds the coziness of autumn like a hot pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. The drink has become such a fall season staple that its taste immediately makes you think of falling leaves and orange colors. Unfortunately, a pumpkin spice latte can cost you up to $6 nowadays, depending on the location.
But worry not! We have a hack so you can keep affording your favorite cozy drink while not having to file for bankruptcy. If you order a blonde roast coffee for $1.75 and ask the nice Starbucks staff to add heavy cream or your milk of choice, you can take that cup of happiness and add two pumps of pumpkin-flavored syrup. Voila! It tastes the same but costs almost less than half the price of an actual pumpkin latte.
How to Upgrade Your Iced Coffee
Whoever came up with the idea of iced coffee should have a statue somewhere. Granted, at first, people probably gagged at the idea of cold coffee, but once they tasted that delicious brew with ice and sugar, it was hard to go wrong. The only problem is that whenever you order a cold brew or iced coffee, you’re really just getting half a cup since the ice takes up at least 50% of the space. We have a hack for that!
Whenever you feel like having iced coffee, try asking the barista for the same drink but without ice. Then ask for a cup of ice separately and add it in yourself. Top it off with the milk or cream of your choice, and you have a full cup of cold brew.
Don’t Miss a Birthday
People often know this but always forget to do it – visit your favorite fast food locale on your birthday or even your birth month. We’re not suggesting you celebrate your birthday at McDonald's (unless you’re a kid), but simply pay a visit to the place.
It doesn’t even have to be on the specific date of your birthday, as long as you go during that month and show some ID, you’ll be able to get massive discounts or even an entirely free meal in a lot of fast food places. For some, you’ll have to be a member of their rewards programs, but others don’t even require that. You can just waltz in and get your favorite food for free.
Replace the Big Mac With a Custom McDouble
Since its debut in 1967, the Big Mac has become a McDonald’s classic, and it’s easy to see why. The issue is these delicious burgers aren’t exactly cheap since a single burger can run you up to $4, and that’s without the drinks and fries. So, what are all those Big Mac fans to do? Well, we might have a solution.
A few years back, someone came up with a hack they named the “Poor Man’s Big Mac.” Basically, you order a McDouble and ask for them to replace the mustard and ketchup for the Big Mac sauce and a bit of lettuce, which they will happily do for no extra cost. They won’t have the middle bun that Big Macs have, but they’ll add an extra layer of cheddar cheese that will make it taste almost the same. The cost? $1.40!
The Wonder of Invented Holidays
One of the best things about the U.S. is its number of invented holidays. For example, Star Wars Day is on May 4th, National Pizza Day is on February 9th, National French Fry Day is on July 13th, and so on and so on. Obviously, every fast food chain offers incredible giveaways and discounts on these marvelous made-up holidays.
Papa John’s offered their menu with a 25% discount on Pizza Day, and White Castle was giving out free French fries on French Fry Day! So, next time you crave a specific fast food, do some research to see if they have a “holiday” coming up soon.
The Sonic App
The iconic drive-in fast-food chain Sonic has been around since it was founded in 1953 in Oklahoma. Seven decades later, Sonic is still one of America’s leading fast-food joints, where people from all walks of life go to get their fill of burgers, milkshakes, onion rings, hot dogs, soft drinks, sundaes, and more.
But with the inflation in prices, a Sonic combo can run you up to $7, which can be a little steep if you visit it more than twice a week. So, we strongly suggest you download the Sonic app for your smartphone and create an account. It takes less than a minute and will enable you to get 50% discounts on any drink item and access any happy hour deals.
Buy “Sam's Club” Gift Cards
Gift cards might have been huge back in the mid-2000s when you still had to buy a song or movie from iTunes. But getting a gift card nowadays seems pointless, mainly because the sole definition of the card is a piece of plastic with an assigned value that can only be used in one place. Kind of pointless, right? Well, almost.
When it comes to fast food in the U.S., gift cards can be a very good thing to have. For example, take the major retail store “Sam’s Club” – often, the store sells gift cards for fast food places at a huge discount. In 2020, they sold $30 gift cards worth $50 at Krispy Kreme and $60 cards with a value of $75 at Domino!
Use Your Student Card
This hack is only for students or siblings who look alike and have a brother or sister at college. But in any case, if you can get your hands on a student ID, you’re in for some serious discounts at your local fast-food restaurant. Some places, like Chipotle, will give you free drinks if you show your student card; others, like Subway, will give you a meal with a 10% discount.
So, if you’re trying to save some bucks, like every student out there, remember to ask the staff at the next fast food place you visit if they offer discounts – you might be pleasantly surprised. And perhaps, you can keep the frozen pizza breakfast and instant noodles to a minimum in college.
The McNugget Revolution
Any frequent McDonald’s visitor usually has their favorite meal, whether they’re die-hard fans of the Big Mac or McNugget lovers. If you’re the latter, we have a serious hack for you. However, this might depend on which U.S. state you live in, since prices can vary depending on state taxes, real estate, etc.
Luckily, this neat little trick applies to *most* McDonald’s across the country. It turns out that if you order three 4-piece McNugget meals, it will actually be cheaper than ordering a ten-piece meal. So yes, we’re basically saying that you can get more McNuggets for less money!
The Ultimate Arby’s Hack
Since 1964, Arby’s has been the go-to place for quality fast-food sandwiches with some of the best meat cuts in the country. So, it’s no wonder why this classic American chain has countless regular customers, and if you’re one of those, you know the bill can start racking up. However, no one wants to say goodbye to those perfect roast beef and cheddar cheese sandwiches, so here’s a hack for you.
Arby’s signature sandwich – the Classic Roast Beef, will ring you up to $3.99, but if you order two Jr. Roast Beef sandwiches, that will total $3.18. We know that’s only an 81-cent difference, but it starts to add up if you’re a regular at Arby’s.
Use the Wonderful Pizza Size Calculator
Whenever we’re in the mood for pizza and are not just ordering for ourselves (and even just for ourselves sometimes), we tend to order the largest-sized pie, thinking we’re getting the best bang for our buck. However, this isn’t always right, as it’s been reported that just because a pie is larger doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wider in surface, which is what you really want.
So, some genius came up with the Omni Pizza Size Calculator, a website that compares different pie sizes and prices and ultimately tells you which is the better deal. Don’t you just love the internet?
Get a Pizza Profile
We know that opening an account for anything is a bit annoying – and you probably have hundreds already, most of which you can’t even remember. But, if you’re going to open one more account for the rest of your life, make sure it’s on a pizza website. Basically, we’re telling you to create a Pizza Profile, which is just entering your email and some quick details.
Why do this? Because if you have a profile with Dominos, for example, every time you order, you earn ‘Piece of the Pie Rewards’, which are points that are worth money. Sooner than you think, you’ll be able to order free pizzas, thanks to these points.
Save by Choosing Your Toppings
Some pizza places have fabulous pre-designed pizzas on their menus, with insane ingredient combinations that you would never think to put together. But it’s also more fun, and often more satisfying, to choose your own toppings – not to mention more cost-effective. For example, a large Hawaiian pizza will almost always be more expensive than just ordering a regular pizza and adding pineapple and ham.
So, our advice to pizza lovers everywhere is always to check the menu prices and make sure you’re not better off just adding the toppings yourself. If you can save some extra bucks, that just means more money for your next pizza!
Order a Chipotle Burrito Bowl Instead of a Burrito
Ever since the first Chipotle opened in 1993, this Mexican fast-food joint has become an American favorite. The bowls, burritos, and tacos are simply unbeatable, and with this hack, we’re about to share with you, they’ll become even tastier.
If you’re a die-hard fan of Chipotle, like we are, you’ll be familiar with their scrumptious burritos and also be aware that they can be quite costly. However, if you order the Burrito Bowl, which has the exact same ingredients but in a bowl, you’ll get a free tortilla on the side and be able to wrap up your own mega-burrito for the same price!
Be on the Lookout for the Next Big Opening
Okay, so we know that attending the grand opening of the one hundredth million McDonald’s joint isn’t an exciting activity. It’s not like attending the opening of Disney theme park or an architectural marvel, but here’s why you should still go. Every time a fast-food restaurant opens, it goes crazy with giveaways to its first 100 or so customers.
For example, in 2014, McDonald’s gave away one year of free Big Mac meals for the first 100 drive-thru customers and diners. Imagine a year of free Big Macs! And McDonald’s isn’t the only fast-food giant that has pulled these stunts; Wendy’s opened a restaurant in 2020 that offered a free frosty to any customer that visited that day. In short, keep an eye out for any big openings in your neighborhood.
Use Your Kids’ Report Card
Yes, you read that right. If you’re a parent, you might as well take advantage of this neat little hack. If one of your kids is an honor student with all straight A’s, or at least mostly A’s, then take his or her report card to your local fast-food joint for a free snack.
Many restaurants give out free snacks, and even meals, to kids with good grades. For example, Baskin & Robbins will give any kid with a good report card a free ice cream, and Krispy Kreme will give them a box of six free donuts if they have six A’s on their report card. Now, THAT'S an incentive for doing well at school!
Pay Less for More Meat
A magical hack for any Chipotle fans out there is the fact that you can pay less for more meat. Now doesn’t that sound just incredible? Next time you order a burrito or burrito bowl, ask for half orders of two different types of meat.
More often than not, staff members will give you ¾ portions of each, so you end up with much more protein in your meal for the exact same price. When all is said and done, you will actually be paying less for a higher amount of meat, and you get more variety in your meal!
The Ultimate McFlurry Hack
Ever since the McFlurry’s creation in 1995, it’s become one of America’s favorite desserts, and it’s easy to see why. However, if you visit any McDonald’s, this scrumptious dessert can cost you up to $4.39, whereas any Sundae will cost you $2.69, and a McCafe cookie is only 79 cents.
If you crush and sprinkle that cookie over your Sundae, you’ll get a dessert that’s almost identical to the McFlurry and save 91 cents. That’s almost an entire dollar less for this delicious dessert. It may not taste exactly the same as the famous McFlurry, but hey, for nearly a dollar less, it’s worth a try.
Try the Kids’ Meal
One of the greatest things about any fast-food joint is the fact that they have Kids’ Meals. As helpful as this concept is for any parent, not having to overthink what to order for their little ones any time they get in line, it’s also a very useful menu item for adults.
More often than not, a kids’ meal is more than enough to satisfy most people’s appetite and half the price of a full-sized adult meal. Additionally, a kids’ meal will always include a drink and dessert without the added-on price. So next time you’re at McDonald’s, order the Kids’ Meal and see if it fills you. If it does, you’ve just found a way to eat your favorite food for half the price.
A Stronger Vanilla Latte
We all love the vanilla lattes at Starbucks, but for those of us who like our drinks with an extra kick, these lattes are a bit on the light side. If you want a stronger drink but don’t want to forego the delicious vanilla taste, order a “grande iced shaken espresso with vanilla.”
The iced shaken espresso has three shots of coffee and vanilla syrup. So, it’s basically just a stronger vanilla latte and costs less money. You can enjoy the delicious vanilla taste and get the caffeine kick you need, and all for nearly half the price!
Don’t Forget Sports
The U.S. is very big on sports – whether it's football, basketball, baseball, you name it. Almost every sport has a loyal following of dedicated, die-hard fans. And fast-food chains are well aware of this, so don’t forget to check for any sports-related discounts or promotions at your favorite joint.
For example, Taco Bell always gives out free Doritos Locos tacos when it’s baseball season. You don’t even have to order something in order to get the free taco, just roll on by and demand your free meal. This applies to many other chains whenever it's football or basketball season, so keep your eyes peeled. God bless sports!
Culver’s Cheese Curds
Certain fast-food chains have their signature dishes, and the cheese curds are definitely Culver’s. If you haven’t spent much time in the East or middle part of the U.S., you’ve probably never even encountered a Culver’s, but if you do, the cheese curds are an absolute must. Especially because they are a hundred times better than their French fries.
The only downside is that their curds are significantly more expensive, but we’ve found a way around this. If you order a combo, make sure to substitute the fries with cheese curds. They will add a small extra charge, but it will be nothing compared to ordering a side of cheese curds with your burger.
Customize Your Sausage Egg McMuffin
The Egg McMuffin at McDonald’s is one of the best breakfast items you can order, and if you add sausage, all the better. And to add even more joy to your breakfast, you can actually pay less for this delicious dish. Instead of ordering the Sausage Egg McMuffin, order a plain Sausage McMuffin and then order a ‘round egg’ on the side.
You can add the egg to your muffin yourself, and voila! This little tip can save you up to $1.30, all without giving up any part of your favorite McDonald’s breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, after all.
Extra Rice at Chipotle Is Free
Any fast-food chain has to have tons of its ingredients available in seconds, which is why it prepares everything in bulk beforehand. And even though thousands of people pass through some restaurants every day, they still have food left over. So, it is not surprising that asking for extra rice at Chipotle will cost you nothing.
Most employees at any Chipotle will happily throw in several scoops of extra rice in your dish for free. You will get more food at no extra cost. You can take some home and save it for lunch the next day! Not bad, right?
The Root Beer Float at Chick-fil-A
Even though Chick-fil-A has a small menu, it is one of the country's best fast-food chains for fried chicken. They keep their menu small, but each item is delicious, and their desserts are nothing short of amazing either. Especially if you learn this hack: ordering a root beer float.
This is not on their menu; any employee will know what you mean. It simply consists of taking one or two scoops of Chick-fil-A’s yummy Ice Dream and adding it to a root beer. The particular creaminess of their Ice Dream will make this one root beer you won’t forget any time soon.
Get Water for Free at Starbucks
This might seem too simple even to call a hack, but you’d be surprised at how many people never think of this. Starbucks might be fantastic at branding and preparing drinks, but it is also extremely over-priced, even when it comes to a small bottle of water.
But we all know you need some water after four cups of coffee and working on your laptop for hours. So instead of drinking from the faucet, or getting a tiny little cup from the staff, go to the counter and specifically ask for a Venti cup filled with iced water. Any employee will be happy to give you one for free.
Order Taco Bell’s Triple Layer Nachos
Fewer snacks or entrees are more satisfying than nachos with cheese, and you can’t go to Taco Bell without getting at least one order of these delicious chips. But next time you visit a Mexican fast-food place and have a craving for those delicious cheesy chips, don’t order the Chips and Cheese from their menu.
Order the Triple Layer Nachos instead but ask them to remove the beans and sauce. You’ll end up with more nachos and cheese for a much cheaper price; you’ll be so happy they’ll taste even better than they normally do. And that’s saying a lot.
The Fabulous Land, Sea, and Air Burger at McDonald
If you haven’t heard of it yet, let us introduce you to McDonald’s Land, Sea, and Air Burger – and it is exactly what you imagine it to be, a sandwich with meat, chicken, and fish. In McDonald’s language, means combining a Big Mac, a McChicken patty, and a Filet-O-Fish sandwich.
Since this is not your run-of-the-mill sandwich, it isn’t featured on any McDonald’s menu, but any employee at any locale will happily give you one of these bad boys if you order at the counter. So if you’re feeling adventurous and in the mood for 3000 calories, try this monstrosity of a sandwich next time you’re at the Golden Arches.
The Foot-long Subway
This little tip seems obvious but actually isn’t. Too many people do not know when to order the foot-long at Subway. Usually, when you visit this sandwich empire with friends, family, or your partner, you end up ordering a 6-inch sub each.
If you’re thinking you get more food this way, and the very important fact is that you each get to order your sub however you want it, you’re in the wrong. In reality, if you order a foot-long and ask the staff at Subway to put different ingredients in each half, you end up with exactly the same amount of food for a cheaper price.
Replace the Philly Cheese Steak at Subway
Anyone who’s ever stepped foot inside a Subway branch is probably well aware of its decadent Philly Cheese Steak sub. And if you’re not, you’d be smart to rush to your nearest Subway right now. But for those who already know of this gem, we have a hack that will make you joyful.
Next time you visit your local Subway and are in the mood for a Philly Cheese Steak, try ordering a Double Steak and Cheese instead. We promise it is the same sub but with more meat and much cheaper. What’s not to like?
McDonald’s Apple Pie McFlurry
This one is not a hack to save you money, but it will improve your life. McDonald’s is known for its epic burgers, chicken sandwiches, and iconic French fries, but its desserts are also beautiful. And one of its most classic and favorite desserts is the legendary apple pie.
That hot, crunchy, gooey apple pie that comes in its signature box can bring happiness to any human. Now imagine being able to combine that with their McFlurry – yes, this is possible, we swear. Although not listed on their menu, there is such a thing as an Apple Pie McFlurry; all you have to do is order it at the counter. It’s basically a McFlurry with a fresh, hot apple pie thrown inside – pretty hard to beat.
Get Two Jr. Cheeseburgers at Jack in the Box
The Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Jack in the Box is absolutely delicious, and we would never want you to stop ordering it just for the sake of saving since it is one of the pricier items on their menu. It turns out that there is a way around it if you order two Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers.
Just remove one of the buns and place the meat patty into the other bun. Now you’ve got yourself a Double Bacon Cheeseburger for much less money, and with an extra bun! You can save up to $2 bucks with this nifty little tip. And if you’re feeling extra hungry, you still have a whole extra bun to eat.
The Meat Cube at Wendy’s
Apart from their already delicious menu, Wendy’s offers its customers a special, secret burger that only a few know about. We’re talking about the decadent Meat Cube Burger, although it also goes by other names, such as the Grand Slam or Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy 1-lb Quadruple.
This monster of a burger has four quarter-pound meat patties served on the typical Wendy’s bun and topped with all your favorite toppings, including melted cheese. Just make sure you arrive super hungry next time you’re planning on ordering one of these because you’ll be eating a pound of ground beef, plus the bread, the toppings, and the sauces. And probably some fries.
A Cheaper Frisco Melt at Steak N’ Shake
Since 1934, Steak N’ Shake has been feeding some of the best steakburgers to the American population. You can always count on the quality of their burgers and milkshakes, especially when it comes to that insanely good combination that they call the Frisco Melt.
This is basically a buttery grilled sourdough sandwich filled with American and Swiss cheese and two steakburgers with the chain’s iconic Frisco sauce. Well folks, hold on to your hats because we’re here to tell you that if you order their Double N’ Cheese Steakburger with sourdough bread and ask them to add Swiss cheese and Frisco sauce, you get the same sandwich much cheaper.
Order a Dorito Shell at Taco Bell
The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is one of the best items on the Taco Bell menu – that fluffy flatbread oozing with melted cheese covering the crunchy taco shell that holds delicious beef, cheddar, ranch sauce, and fresh shredded lettuce. Well, you might not be able to believe this dish could get tastier, but it can.
Next time you order your Gordita Crunch, try ordering it with a Doritos shell instead of the regular hard shell. Imagine your beloved Gordita with an extra zingy flavor of Doritos, all combined with the cheese and beef; it’s simply too much flavor to handle.
Swap the Kids’ Meal Toy for an Ice Cream at Chick-fil-A
If your kid won’t be too bummed out, or if you don’t even have a kid and are just taking care of your wallet, you can swap the toy in the Chick-fil-A kids’ meal for a dessert. The employees will make the change for no extra charge, and you will get any dessert you like for half the cost of what an adult meal and separate dessert might have run you.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can order an ice cream cup with crumble chocolate topping or just get a simple vanilla ice cream to curb your sweet tooth after the scrumptious fried chicken meal.
Order the Large Fries at McDonald’s
One of the most known ways in which fast food chains make their money is the side dishes, specifically fries. So be smarter than the big chains and do this hack instead next time you visit McDonald’s or Burger King with a friend.
Make sure to order one large-sized meal and split the fries with your friend; in this way, they will only have to order an extra burger or chicken sandwich, and by splitting large fries with you, you’ll both get way more fries and spend much less money than if you each order a small or medium-sized meal.
Always Check if Separate Items are Cheaper
The whole idea behind ordering a combo meal is to save money, but often, fast-food chains actually make more than if you were to buy menu items separately. For example, sometimes getting a small burger and a side of small fries might be cheaper than an entire meal.
Always compare the costs of any fast-food menu and analyze the price difference between ordering a whole meal or just the separate items. Maybe in some places, you’ll have to forego the soda and just ask for a cup of water, but it might be worth it if it saves you a buck or two.
Check Out Restaurant.com Regularly
If you’re unfamiliar with this website, we suggest you get acquainted immediately. Restaurant.com is perhaps the best site to go to for coupons and deals. This website will always tell you when it has coupons or promotions for a local fast-food place, and if you check regularly, you might be able to snag them before anyone else does.
You’d be surprised at the amount of free food you can get with a coupon, and if you sign up for the website’s ‘Discount Dining Pass’, the deals are endless. So, if you’re going to waste 5 minutes signing up anywhere online, make sure it’s this place.
Always Check Third-Party Delivery App Deals
Another helpful tip when saving money on fast food is to watch out for any deals offered by your delivery app. For example, Uber Eats or DoorDash might be offering free delivery services or even menu items from a particular fast-food place.
The companies often strike deals with some fast-food chains in order to get more customers. So, next time you order delivery from anywhere, check if there are any sweet deals first. You might be looking at anywhere between 5% to 20% off a meal. Also, if it’s your first time ordering with a delivery app, they usually waive the delivery fee, so keep that in mind as well.
McDonald’s Has the Cheapest Chicken Sandwich
Early on, fast-food chains realized that they had to offer more than burgers and fries if they were planning on keeping their customers. And so fried chicken sandwiches were introduced to the menu and our stomachs.
Hundreds of chains across the country started offering this sandwich with different toppings and sauces and in different variations, but the one that took the prize for the cheapest one was the premium chicken Sammy at McDonald’s, for the low price of $4.39. There might be tastier chicken sandwiches elsewhere, but if you’re looking for value, McDonald’s is your go-to.
In-N-Out Burger Has the Cheapest Fries
The United States has the highest number of fast-food chains per capita, with roughly a quarter of a million locales across the country. So when you’re trying to find out which chain has the cheapest French fries, it can be a grueling, if not impossible, job, to say the least.
Luckily, we did some of the legwork for you, and it turns out that in comparison to the large-sized French fries offered by fast-food joints in the U.S., the cheapest is at In-N-Out Burger. A large serving of fries costs $1.60 at this California fast-food favorite, and now you know for sure that it’s the sweetest deal in the country.
Go for Water if You Can
We realize this hack isn’t for everyone since having a fast-food meal without soda is not even a thought they can entertain. But for more open-minded people, we strongly suggest you ask for a free cup of water with your meal instead. Not only is water free, but sodas are the most overpriced item on any fast-food menu – with a huge markup.
Sodas cost around 25 cents for restaurants to make, and if you were to break down their price within a meal, you’d realize they’re charging you more than $2 for every drink. This is insanity!
Try a Cup of Fries at McDonald’s
Few things are more annoying than dropping a fry while eating in your car. Somehow, that fry, and any others that follow, are never to be found again and fall into the dark vortex that is the floor of a vehicle.
If you want to make sure you never lose another fry again, the next time you order to go, ask the employees at McDonald’s to put your fries in a beverage cup that corresponds to your meal size. These cups will fit perfectly in your car’s cup holder, and you’ll get a larger quantity of fries to boot.
Don’t Get Fooled by McDonald’s Dollar Menu
One of the biggest marketing ploys McDonald’s has pulled in the last years was the creation of its Dollar Menu format, but don’t be fooled. Perhaps a triple cheeseburger might be on the ‘triple dollar menu’ and sound like a pretty sweet deal for $3, however, if you order three regular cheeseburgers for a dollar each, which end up being the same price, you’ll get way more food.
So before your eyes sparkle with low prices and the infamous ‘dollar menu,’ make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. And remember: three regular cheeseburgers and far more satisfying than one triple.
Keep an Eye Out for Twofer Promotions
It’s always a smart move to keep an eye out for McDonald’s buy-two promotions and deals. Basically, this means that you can order two Big Macs for $5 instead of one for $3.99. Even if you end up eating just one burger, you can surely store it in the fridge and save it for later.
Even though it won’t be as fresh, you’ll still enjoy it just knowing that a delicious Big Mac cost you a single dollar. Or, better yet, you can find a friend who’s hungry, and you pay even less if you split the bill and still get a burger each!
Order the Spicy Potato Soft Taco at Taco Bell
Fast-food chains are supposed to have the same prices anywhere you go, but if you consider state taxes and differently priced real estate, it makes sense that these would vary. More importantly, though, this means that one of Taco Bell’s signature beef soft tacos can cost you up to $1.99 if you’re in a bougie part of town.
So, if this is your case, and you’re in the mood for a beef taco, try ordering the spicy potato taco instead and just add beef for an extra 65 cents. A mere 65 cents will get you a larger quantity of beef and those same delicious fried potatoes, veggies, cheese, and chipotle sauce.
Get a Venti for Two at Starbucks
We all love that Starbucks came up with a “Venti” size because “tall” just didn’t cut it anymore. But since a Venti is 24 ounces and a tall is 12, the price is equally doubled. Therefore, the next time you visit Starbucks and you happen to be with a friend who also wants the same drink as you, order the Venti and ask for two empty tall cups.
It will definitely be far cheaper than ordering two tall drinks. And if you or your friend are one of those people who need your whole 24 ounces, well, we can’t help you there.
Order the Small Sized Cup
Nowadays, most fast-food chains will have a self-serve soda machine where you can fill your cup with any flavor you like. This means they charge you for the cup, and the smaller the cup, the cheaper the price. This is why you should always order the small soda cup and just refill it as much as you want.
Since the refills are free, because God blessed America, there’s no limit to how much soda you can drink in that small cup. The only annoying thing is that you might have to get up from your table constantly, but a few extra bucks in your wallet make it worth it.
Grill Your Burrito at Taco Bell
The Crunchwraps at Taco Bell are a thing of delight – all those melted, savory ingredients rolled into one crunchy wrap. The only problem is they will usually cost more than your average burrito, but as always, there’s a way around it. If you order any burrito at Taco Bell and ask the staff to grill it for you, they will happily do so for no extra charge.
The result is a delicious, golden, crunchy burrito, meaning you’re getting a crunchy wrap for almost half the price. Use that extra money to get a dessert or a drink, and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty meal.
Don’t Miss Out on the Extra Freebies at Chipotle
In case you don’t know, any extra you order at Chipotle is free. For example, if you ask for extra fillings on your burrito, like rice, salsa, beans, cheese, or vegetables, they will add them in for no extra charge.
In fact, you can order as much as you want of an extra filling, so you can basically get one large bowl at Chipotle with a load of extra ingredients and split it into two or more bowls. All of it for the price of one single bowl! No wonder Chipotle is one of America’s favorite fast-food joints.
Order Everything on the Side at Qdoba
One of the great things at Qdoba is that you can order everything that’s included in a meal but on the side. Obviously, this will be no extra charge because the price of the ingredients is already included in what you’re paying for the meal.
Why do this? Because if you order tortillas or chips on the side, which they do give you for free, you can opt to order the guacamole and cheese from a burrito or a bowl on the side and use them as dips for your chips. It’s like getting an appetizer for no extra charge.
The Sliders at Arby’s
When it comes to meats, Arby’s is the place to go – be it roast beef, ham, turkey, you name it. One of the food chain’s favorite items though is its Classic Roast Beef Sandwich, which is simply too good to be true. But if you’re a regular at Arby’s, you also know that it is more on the pricier side of the menu, so we have a hack for you.
Instead of ordering the classic roast beef sandwich, order two Jr. Roast Beef Sliders, which have the same ingredients and will save almost $2. Each slider costs $1, and a classic roast beef sandwich costs $3.99, so you do the math.
The Fill Up Boxes at KFC
Whenever you’re in the mood for fried chicken, Colonel Sanders’ joint is by far the best place to go. Few fast-food chains compare to KFC when it comes to chicken, and just like many other chains, it pays off to order combos.
For instance, a Fill Up box at KFC is $5.49, just 50 cents more than the Famous Bowl, and includes a drink and a dessert. Not to mention when you choose the Fill-Up box with the pot pie option since a pot pie order by itself is $5.50! These boxes have been the best deals on KFC’s menu for years.
Order a Double Wrap at Chipotle and Qdoba
We all love the burritos at Chipotle and Qdoba, but they do tend to leave a massive mess behind. Sometimes the tortilla is too thin or has a hole somewhere, wreaking complete havoc. Mind you, there is a way to keep this from happening and keep your favorite shirt from the terrors of red hot salsa.
Next time you order a burrito, make sure to order a double wrap, which basically means that the employee preparing your meal will put two tortillas instead of one. This has no extra cost and is definitely worth the ask. No-spill burritos – is there anything better?
Order the ‘LBI’ at Jimmy John’s
This might be a simple hack, but a very useful one, nonetheless. If you’re a frequent eater at Jimmy John’s, you’ve probably noticed that they tend to scrape out the inside bread of a sub so they can fit in more fillings, but to any bread aficionado, this is madness.
So, next time you visit the sandwich chain, make sure to order your sub ‘LBI,’ which means “leave bread in.” The staff will know to leave every last breadcrumb inside that baguette. You might have a hard time fitting the entire sandwich in your mouth to take a bite, but it’s worth it.
Try the In-N-Out Animal-Style Fries
Many people consider the famous In-N-Out fast food chain one of the best in the U.S. It has some amazing burgers and fries, and the quality has been consistent since its inception in 1948. Well, for those who grew up in California, surrounded by In-N-Outs, this might not be news, but for everybody else, hold on to your socks. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to take your fast food to the next level, the next time you visit an In-N-Out, order your fries or burger “animal style”.
Any employee will know that “animal style” means adding a decadent list of toppings, including melted cheese, the famous In-N-Out sauce, and grilled onions. And you can choose from a long list of extra toppings to put on top of that.
Go for the Tub Instead of the Spread at Panera
Bagels are one of Panera’s favorite menu items, and considering the number of spreads and toppings they have, it’s no wonder. But most people’s favorite is the classic cream cheese, and ordering a ‘bagel and schmear’ is practically a rite of passage. So, next time you’re in line for a bagel at Panera, order it plain and get their 8-ounce tub of cream cheese instead.
The tub costs $2.99, which is only 30 cents more expensive than getting a bagel with cream cheese spread, but it will last you far longer. That way, you can have their yummy cream cheese in the fridge for the next batch of bagels you order.
Get Panera’s Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl
Let’s be real, if you’re wanting to lose weight, the last place you go to is a fast-food restaurant. But if, on the contrary, you’re looking to add some pounds and load up on your carbs, we have the place and the meal just for you.
Whenever it comes to bread, Panera is the go-to place, and they have an item on their menu that you can customize for just a dollar extra. You can order their famous mac and cheese and ask for it in a bread bowl. Yes, a bowl made of bread instead of an actual bowl. Not only is this absolutely delicious, but it’ll definitely help you reach your carb load of the day and keep you filled for hours. And it’s only a dollar extra!
Customize Your Blizzard at Dairy Queen
Since 1940, Dairy Queen has been America's leading soft-serve ice cream chain. It has expanded to a full-sized fast food menu, including burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, and more. But yes, its specialty is the one and only Blizzard – that creamy, thick, soft-serve ice cream with a variety of add-ins to choose from.
And since they have their pre-designed Blizzard menu, many people don’t know that if you ask for a regular Blizzard and ask the DQ employee to add in as many sweet ingredients as you like, they won’t charge you extra! For instance, you can create your own banana split or chocolate and cherry Blizzard for no extra cost.
Upgrade Your Dunkin’ Donuts Coolatta
If you’ve ever spent a summer near a Dunkin’ Donuts, you’re probably well acquainted with their delicious and refreshing Coolattas. These frozen, slushy-type drinks are perfect for any hot day, and we have a little tip so you can turn your icy drink into a yummy dessert for no extra cost.
If you go to your local Dunkin’ Donuts and order a Coolatta, there are some flavors you can always add in, like blueberry and raspberry. Peach and coconut are often available flavors as well. So, pick a fruit syrup of your choice and ask the nice people at Dunkin’ to add some whipped cream on the top for free. You mix it in, and you have a delicious, creamy, ice-cream-like treat.
The 'Unsalted Fries’ Trick
For some, the fact that fast food French fries are insanely salty is one of the things that make them so deliciously addictive. However, for anybody with health issues, the high amounts of sodium might be a problem, which is why they would probably order unsalted fries instead.
And here’s where this nifty hack comes in – if you order unsalted fries at any fast-food chain, they will make a fresh batch from scratch since the ones they already have sitting there are salty by default. So, even if your health is top-notch, we suggest you order unsalted fries so you get them as fresh and crispy as possible. You can always go to the condiment area and salt them yourself.
Make Sure Your Order Is Fresh
Most fast-food restaurants have health inspectors come by regularly, so chances are everything is up to par. However, that doesn’t mean that if you come later in the day, you might get a sandwich made fresh at that very moment.
So, to avoid getting the sandwich that’s been sitting there since the morning, make sure you change something about the order to ensure they have to make it from scratch. For example, instead of ordering a default pre-designed menu item, ask the staff to remove or add an ingredient or sauce. This means they will have no choice but to make it fresh.
Burger King’s Side Mix
The problem with fast food menus is the sheer number of options to choose from – deciding between meals and side dishes can take a while. However, some chains let you have the best of everything and don’t put the hard task of deciding on your shoulders.
Like Burger King, for example, where you can order half French fries and half onion rings. Perhaps you didn’t know this was possible or thought it would mean an extra cost if you did. But alas, no extra cost! Any Burger King employee will be happy to give you both for no extra charge.
The ‘Round Egg’ at McDonald’s
When McDonald’s announced it was adding breakfast dishes to its menu, it was cause for great celebration. All those people who have to head out for work before the golden arches open can now purchase delicious McMuffins and coffee before starting a grueling shift.
The thing is that most breakfast sandwiches come with an omelet, and some people prefer their eggs cooked differently. Most people don’t know that if you order your breakfast sandwich with a “round egg,” you’ll get a freshly cracked egg on the pan. It’s like an Egg McMuffin but in a sandwich.
The Purple Sprite at Sonic
It’s not unusual for fast food chains to come up with ways to keep their customers interested – after all, some of these chains have been around for more than 50 years. Sonic is one of America’s oldest chains; therefore, only loyal customers will know about their secret ‘purple sprite’.
It has never been on the menu, nor will it be, but one of the most popular and sought-after drinks at the popular fast-food joint is the infamous ‘purple Sprite.’ It goes by other names, but however you call it, if you order this from a staff member at Sonic, they’ll know what you’re talking about. This refreshing drink is a mix of Sprite, Powerade, cranberry juice, and lemonade. Can you think of anything that sounds more refreshing?
Get Free Guacamole at Chipotle
This little hack is more for vegetarians, although, let’s face it, choosing a veggie option at Chipotle is often as good as the meat one. Perfectly cooked rice with creamy beans, melted cheese, sour cream, and fresh veggies doesn’t really sound like a sacrifice. Well, for any vegetarians or meat-eaters willing to forego their protein once in a while, we are happy to report you can free guacamole (like, a lot of it), with your next Chipotle meal.
If you forego a choice of meat, you can replace it with a big portion of their delicious guac. The trick is that the amount you’ll be paying for a veggie meal with all the extra guacamole will be the same as what you would pay for a chicken burrito, for example. Therefore, free guac!
Taco Bell’s Custom Cravings Box
If you’ve ordered online or downloaded their app, you’ll only be familiar with Taco Bell’s magical Custom Cravings Box. But for those who haven’t heard and are seriously missing out, download Taco Bell’s app right now because this little piece of information is this fast-food joint’s best-kept secret.
It turns out that for the low price of $5, you can create and customize your own ‘My Cravings Box’, which includes most items from their delicious menu – chalupas, tacos, burritos, drinks, sides, wraps – anything you’re in the mood for. The only catch is that it’s only available if you order online or through the Taco Bell app. Sounds pretty worth it, right?
Free Wendy’s Frosties Forever
Sometimes in life, dreams do come true – just like this hack for getting a free Wendy’s Frosty as many times as you want during an entire year. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Frosty Key Tag, which goes on sale at the end of each year. Well, these magical little tags allow you to get a free Frosty anytime you buy anything at Wendy’s.
All you have to do is show the tag to any staff member at any Wendy’s across the country, and voila! If, for some reason, that doesn’t sound appealing enough, the fact that most of the profits from each tag purchase go to an adoption charity might just do the trick.
Personalize Your Jamba Juice for Free
If you’re a smoothie lover, you’ve probably been to Jamba Juice more than once. This quick-service juice bar offers delicious, albeit not so dietary, vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies. Since they’ve been in business since 1990, Jamba Juice already has a set menu of very delicious pre-designed items.
However, if you’re not feeling like any of them, you can customize your order for no extra cost. The staff has to replace any ingredient for one of your liking for no extra money, so even if you replace a basic ingredient with a higher-priced one, it will still cost you the same.
Wendy’s Free Ten Piece Nuggets
A favorite fast-food chain with amazing rewards programs is Wendy’s. And yes, we’ll tell you to download their app, but you’ll understand why it’s worth it. If you open an account with Wendy’s, you’ll get a free 10-piece nugget meal for free just for signing up.
Also, you’ll get an automatic reward of 150 points, which equals a free frosty. If you get to 300 points, which is fairly easy, considering each dollar you spend is 10 points, you can get a double-stack burger for free! We’d say it’s definitely worth it to sign up.
Get Crazy Bread for Free at Little Caesars
We all love the pizzas at Little Caesars, but one of the star items on their menu is that delicious Crazy Bread. Well, we have very good news if you’re as crazy about that bread as we are – you can get it for free! You must download the Little Caesars app and check their “deals of the day” offers, which often include free Crazy Bread.
Another perk of the app is that you can order ahead and skip the long line at the restaurant. Just order and go pick up your pie and free bread when your app sends you a notification.
A Free Meal After Just 5 Visits
Whataburger has been around since 1950, meaning it has had to adapt to the times in order to continue being one of the favorite fast-food chains in America. One of the ways it’s done this is by developing one of the best apps out there.
This is probably the best rewards system of any fast food chain because Whataburger gifts its customers an entirely free meal after just five visits! To be eligible, you must download their app and become a MyWhataburger Rewards Member – a process that takes less than a minute. Wow! Now that is an unbeatable deal.
Get a Free Dutch Bros. Coffee
Founded by two brothers in Oregon in 1992, Dutch Bros. Coffee has gone on to become one of the country’s most profitable and sought-after coffee chains. With high-quality coffee beans and experienced baristas at any one of their 671 locations across the U.S., this chain has certainly earned some loyal customers over the years.
Their drinks, however, are not particularly cheap, so this hack will come in handy next time you’re driving through a locale. We strongly suggest you get the Dutch Bros. app; it is extremely user-friendly and allows you to collect points and get any free drink you choose.
Get a Free Sandwich at Jimmy John’s
Founded in 1983 by the man of the same name, Jimmy John’s has become a serious contender for the best sandwiches in America. Anything on their menu, from their delicious Cuban sandwich to their special double roast beef with melted provolone cheese, is absolutely scrumptious. Another great thing about Jimmy John’s? They have an app.
If you download their app, you can join their Freaky Fast Rewards Program, and just by joining, you immediately get a free sandwich of your choice. We don’t know about you, but we think that that alone is worth the download. Not to mention the freebies you’ll get on your birthday!
Sign up for Krispy Kreme
We will gladly get into an argument about Krispy Kreme being one of the world’s best doughnuts any day of the week. This franchise’s ring-shaped bites of heaven are simply unbeatable in flavor, and there’s a flavor for every palate.
To our fellow doughnut lovers, let us tell you that if you sign up on Krispy Kreme’s website to create an account, you get a point for each buy. But the hack here isn’t the points — it's the fact that you get a free doughnut when you hit 12 points! Now if that’s not an incentive to type in your email, we don’t know what is.