· Bright Ideas · 11 Clever Ways To Make The Most Of Your Drive-Thru Order
Bright Ideas · 11 Clever Ways To Make The Most Of Your Drive-Thru Order

11 Clever Ways To Make The Most Of Your Drive-Thru Order

Hitting up the drive-thru? These tips and tricks will help you get the freshest and best quality fast food possible—and save some money while you’re at it!

With many kids attending their classes virtually either some or all of the time, and many parents continuing to work from home, it’s no wonder that our home lives are feeling a little hectic lately! Adapting to these unique circumstances has required us to be a little more flexible than we might normally be (and hopefully a little more gentle with ourselves and others!) 

The kids are all getting a little more screen time? It happens. Messes are reappearing in the blink of an eye? You better believe it! And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably eating fast food more frequently as well. Sometimes trying to make a meal from scratch is just too lofty a goal, and going through the drive-thru can save you hours of prep and kitchen cleaning (which might just save your sanity on those days where nothing seems to be going your way!)

But whether you’re treating yourself, making a necessary caffeine run, or just trying to get dinner on the table, getting fast food can be more affordable (and even a bit healthier) than you ever imagined! Here are 11 fast food hacks you can use to either save a few bucks or get better quality eats every time!

11 Useful Hacks For Ordering Fast Food  

1. Upgrade Your Egg

At McDonald’s

When getting breakfast at McDonald’s, request that your biscuit, McGriddles, or bagel sandwich be made with a round egg, rather than the standard folded square egg. The made-to-order round eggs are standard in Egg McMuffins, but requesting one on another breakfast sandwich is an easy way to make sure it’s as fresh as possible without paying a premium!

2. Build Your Own Big Mac

At McDonald’s

Want the flavor of a Big Mac without the imposing size or premium price? Just order a Double Cheeseburger, but ask for lettuce and special sauce instead of ketchup and mustard. This little maneuver will essentially replicate the flavor of a Big Mac for about $2 less, although you will have to sacrifice the Big Mac’s signature sesame seed bun. (I don’t know about you, but I’d rather save the cash!) 🙂

3. Buy More, Save More

At McDonald’s

If you’re feeding a crowd (or just a few hungry kids), choosing the 20-pack of Chicken McNuggets can be quite a bit more cost-effective versus everyone getting their own box. You’ll save around $0.05 per nugget, and you can still get a variety of different sauces to suit individual tastes.

4. Split And Customize

At Subway

If you’re ordering for two at Subway, consider sharing a footlong rather than ordering two separate 6” sandwiches. As long as you can agree on the meat and cheese, you can customize the veggies and condiments on each half of the footlong. Both of you will get a sandwich suited to your tastes, and you’ll save a dollar or two while you’re at it!

5. Go Big And Split It

At Starbucks

Who’s ready for pumpkin spice latte season? Luckily for us, Starbucks is another place where splitting with a friend can save you both a little cash! If you and a friend are both craving a PSL (or any other drink), order one Venti (large) size drink rather than two individual Tall (small) drinks. Then pour half of the drink into a travel cup, and you’ll both get around the same amount as the Tall size while saving over $2 each!

6. Skip The Meat

At Taco Bell

In order to keep costs low, many fast food restaurants utilize less desirable cuts of meat. Taco Bell makes it easy to go vegetarian by allowing customers to swap out the meat on any menu item for either potatoes or beans. You won’t save any money with this one, but you will get a little more fiber in your diet!

7. Build Your Own Salad

At Wendy’s

Cut both calories and cost by building your own Caesar salad at Wendy’s instead of ordering the menu option. A half-size, spicy chicken Caesar salad at Wendy’s will run you $4.49, but you can save over $1.50 by pairing a side Caesar salad with a 4-piece chicken nugget and a side of spicy Caesar dressing! (Consider this a “some assembly required” situation.)

8. Order Unsalted Fries


I love salty fries as much as the next person, but even I can see the advantages of ordering your fries unsalted (gasp!) Salting the fries yourself not only allows you to control your sodium intake, but it also ensures the fries will be super fresh! (They typically salt the spuds all at once when they come out of the fryer, so if you order salt-free fries, they’re likely to be made fresh.)

9. Have It Your Way


Customizing your order in any way, even asking for pickles, pretty much guarantees that it will be made fresh. It’s unlikely that the person making sandwiches will unwrap an already wrapped sandwich that they could quickly pass along to the next customer.

10. There’s An App For That


Many fast food restaurants have apps that feature special deals, rewards programs, and scannable coupons. Saving money at the drive-thru could be as simple as swiping and clicking!

11. Don’t Skip The Survey


As you roll out of the drive-thru with your food, don’t throw away that receipt! Check to see if there’s a customer survey at the bottom. Taking a few minutes of your time to fill it out will likely earn you free food or drink. Plus, the feedback you provide could result in improvements to the or customer service at your local franchise.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to ordering fast food?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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