There are many ways to save money on food, but it gets a little harder to do so when you go to a restaurant. Many people enjoy fast food restaurants because the service is quick and the food is relatively cheap (but not necessarily cheaper) while others drop in from time to time when they are in a hurry and it’s the easiest available option. No matter what the reason, if you stop by your local McDonald’s to grab a meal, there are some simple ways to save money. Here are a few that you might want to consider the next time you find yourself there:
If you really intend to save money, why not order from the value menu? For $1 (plus tax), you can have your choice of items such as a small fry, a small drink, a variety of different hamburgers, or a side salad. Of course, this may not be the best idea for someone with a larger appetite, but buying three $1 value meal burgers is probably a better deal than spending $4 on a single burger off the regular menu.
Senior Citizen Coffees
If you happen to be 55 or older, you’re entitled to a free coffee at many McDonald’s locations. If not free, a senior coffee will usually be greatly discounted from the regular priced coffee. You will need to ask the manager at your local McDonald’s to see if they participate. While technically you need to provide proof of age, most employees won’t request it as long as you look to be around that age (but always have ID available on the off-chance that you are asked).
Depending on where you live, your child might be able to get a free Happy Meal on their birthday. As stated, this offer varies by location so check with your local McDonald’s manager to see if your child qualifies for a free birthday meal.
New Item Promotions
McDonald’s is a fast food restaurant that is known all over the world and because of this, they’re always trying to stay relevant and offer new products. Over the past few years you might have noticed how McDonald’s keep promoting new items such as lattes, burritos, biscuits, teas or sandwiches. In order to raise customer interest and awareness in these new items, McDonald’s will often have promotions where customers are offered that item for free or for a greatly discounted price.
Monthly or Seasonal Promotions
Many businesses are also getting into the business of having “Free Days” such as “Free Coffee Mondays” or “Free French Fry Fridays”. Sometimes free items are offered at specific times throughout the year such as around the winter or summer holidays. These promotions are often advertised either at the restaurant or through many of McDonald’s social media pages. Facebook, for example, often alerts people to deals or promotions that they might want to take advantage of.
Newsletters and Social Media
Have you signed up for the McDonald’s newsletter? Or followed their Facebook page? Sometimes people who randomly look at their social media sites might see some deals, but might not have access to print out the coupons because they haven’t liked the page or signed up for the newsletters. Subscribing can provide you with free coupons for signing up or for special events like your birthday.
If you receive the Sunday newspaper, you’ve probably found the coupon flyers inside. There are sometimes McDonald’s coupons for free or discounted items with the flyers. Additionally, you can find many coupons online either through a search engine, signing up for a deal newsletter or website, or through social media avenues such as Twitter or Facebook. Coupons can help you save a few bucks the next time you decide to stop for a bite to eat at McDonald’s.
McDonald’s specializes in the supersize meals and plenty of people buy them because they think it’s going to be a good deal. But have you ever bought one and then only eaten half of the meal? Fast food rarely reheats well, so many people opt to toss the uneaten portion in the trash. If you know you’re not going to eat the entire meal, why buy a bigger portion? It may seem like a great deal, but you’re only losing out once you throw the remainder away.
Most restaurants hope that when you buy food, you’ll buy a drink as well. Soda or bottled drinks cost them very little to stock and it’s an area where they can make a large profit. More often than not, people simply buy a drink because they feel like they must have a drink to go along with the meal. But if you’re not buying a meal that includes a drink, there’s no need to shell out an extra couple of dollars for a soft drink (or a set meal will often get you the same drink for much less). Remember, water is always an option as well which is free.
Store Coupon Deals
Have you ever noticed that your McDonald’s sells items that aren’t food related? In 2012, certain McDonald’s locations offered coupon calendars for $2.99. In addition to a normal calendar, each month contained various coupons for free items or buy one get one free items. It was over $100 in savings for only $2.99! Many McDonald’s also offer trick-or-treat coupon booklets at Halloween that are filled with free products and cost a fraction of what the free items are worth. It might be worth it to check out your local McDonald’s and see whether they’re offering any similar deals.
These are just a few ways that you might be able to reduce your costs the next time you find yourself at McDonald’s. What other tricks do you have to save money when you go to your local McDonald’s restaurant?