• Get FREE SHIPPING on eligible orders over $499

    See details

  • Winter Store: Find essentials for men, women & kids!

    Shop now!

Need help? (877) 837-9569

Fast Food For The Frugal

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-02-05 5:00 am --

When it's time to cut the budget, fast food is often one of the first things to go, and rightly so. If you’re in this position, you’re not alone. The Wendy’s/Arby’s group recently posted a loss of $393.2 million .
Eating in is almost always a much cheaper and healthier option. In fact, a tighter budget can be a good opportunity to try your hand at a little fine cooking. You may find that you eat a lot better anyway.

It's hard, however, to deny yourself a treat every now and then. Also, modern life is busy. Sometimes it's difficult or even impossible to face the big job of cooking followed by the bigger job of cleaning up and putting away leftovers.

When planning your budget it's always wise not to be too draconian about what gets cut. Be realistic about your decisions, especially when it comes to little extras like fast food. Making some small allowances for dinner out helps family morale and encourages moderation.

Beyond just cutting back, there are ways fast food lovers can have their burger and eat it too. As consumers we usually reserve our critical thought and healthy skepticism for bigger ticket items like cars or home electronics, but living more simply means questioning even the small purchases. As many credit card holders have found over the last few years, those little choices can lead to significant financial consequences.

Looking at your eating out habits with a more critical eye can save you serious money

First, scale down. Maybe you don't really need the portions they're offering. Ever try a kid’s meal? They're much cheaper, often just as satisfying, and you might even find yourself getting nostalgic. Dairy Queen even throws in some ice cream.

Coupons are a great way to go and printable coupons are becoming more common online.

Also, remember that these are businesses that are trying to maximize their profits while trying to deliver more to the customer. Many chains even hire expensive consultants to work the alchemy of cutting costs while increasing sales revenue.

One way many restaurants do this is by pushing their cheapest products to the forefront. An example of this is found at Panda Express. Every plate comes with 1-4 entrees and your choice of chow mein or fried rice. These sides are easy to make in large quantities, have little or no meat, and are made from the cheapest ingredients.

This is good, but the entrees are the main attraction. So why waste money on the sideshow? If two people simply buy one 4-entree plate and share the side dish the meal is just as satisfying as buying a couple of 2-entree plates and costs less by nearly half.

By no means are these tips exhaustive. There are plenty of great ways to find good deals and save less on eating out. What you know, others may not. Take moment and give us all the low-down.