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FOOD! How to Eat Ultra Cheaply at McDonald's

Updated on June 27, 2013

Need a Fast Food Fix? How to Eat Ultra Cheaply at McDonald's - and Save Calories, too.

You may think you already know how to eat cheaply at McDonald's...but with a little creative planning, you can eat more cheaply than ever before - and you can save calories, too!

It just takes a bit of focus, and a willingness to not just do the "same old same old".


I want to tell you a secret!

Here's a secret or two about McDonald's you might not know...

1. Not every item that McDonald's offers is actually on the menu. So it's good to check out what's on the dollar menu online, so you know what your potential choices are.

2. Not every McDonald's offers the same dollar items.

Some examples:

- At one McDonald's I went to, the McDouble was not on the menu...But it was available to purchase - But I had to know what to ask for!

- At another McDonald's, the dollar fries weren't available -- But small fries were, for $1.29. However, they weren't listed on the menu, only the medium and large sizes were listed. Again...I needed to know what to ask for.

Want to know what items are on McDonald's Dollar Menu? To see what items are available, click here

Strategies for Eating Ultra Cheaply at McDonald's

When eating at McDonald's by yourself....

1. Consider only ordering off the dollar menu.

2. Don't order a combo - It's not always the most economical alternative.

3. Consider not getting a soft drink - It adds cost, and it's mainly sugar water - Lots of empty calories.

It's a good idea to tell the cashier: "I'm ordering off of the dollar menu" so no mistakes will be made with your order.

Scenario One: Not super hungry? And want an ultra cheap meal?

You can try this for lunch, for a grand total of.....about $2.18 (which includes tax)

1. For your main dish: A McDouble (comes with cheese, but you can ask for one with no cheese if you like)

2. For dessert - A Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

3. For a snack - Don't add the granola packet to your yogurt - Save it for a snack for later.

Scenario Two: Feeling really hungry, and want lots of variety?

You could consider this meal, all off of the dollar menu:

1. Main dish - a McDouble with cheese

2. Side dish - small order of french fries (if they're not on the dollar menu, you'll be able to purchase them for around $1.29)

3. Dessert - a Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

4. Drink - Small beverage

Your total cost will be a little over $4.00, once tax is added.

Scenario Three: Don't want the "budget burger"?

1. Then...consider getting a more "high end" burger (let's say you want to go for the Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon burger)

2. and...don't order it with fries, or a soft drink.

3. Ask for a water cup.

4. Then...savor your high end burger, bite by bite. Most likely, you won't feel deprived, even though you didn't have your fries and your soft drink.

5. Just can't live without your fries? Or a soft drink? Then...

6. Consider just getting one or the other (either the soft drink, or fries) and...

7. Order off the dollar menu.

8. Your meal will still be cheaper than if you had ordered a combo meal.

Scenario Four: Want an ultra cheap breakfast at MacDonald's? Feeling hungry? And need your coffee fix? Try this off of the dollar menu:

1. two sausage burritos

2. small premium roast coffee

Your total cost will be a little over $3.00 (once tax is added)

Want to know what items are on McDonald's Dollar Menu? To see what items are available, click here

TIP: If ordering off of the dollar menu...

Tell the cashier: "I'm ordering off the dollar menu" so no mistakes will be made with your order. (some McDonald's don't even list all their dollar items - for example, the McDouble)

Hamburger and Fries iPad Cases

Oh So Yummy!

Click on any iPad case to purchase.

Double Your Savings at McDonald's When Going with a Friend

Eating with a friend? Consider this alternative:

Here's how to make an Extra Value Meal Twice as Nice!

1. Order just one Extra Value Meal - For example, the double quarter pounder with cheese.

2. Change your fries to a large fries for a small additional charge.

3. Ask for a knife and a two water cups

4. Get extra napkins

5. When filling your drink cup, go easy on the ice.

6. Share everything in half

7. Cut the burger in half

8. Split up the fries

9. Use the drink cup as your pitcher, and your water cups as your beverage cup.

10. After you finish...still feeling hungry? Or want dessert? Choose either a hot fudge sundae or a yogurt, and can use your water cups as your containers for your 1/2 of the dessert.

11. Your total cost (and calories!) will be much less than if you had each ordered a combo - and you get to have dessert, too!

Want to know what the calories are for your McDonalds items?

1. First go to the Food Section of McDonald's website click here

2. Click on the food category you want under "Menu" for example Burgers and Sandwiches

3. Click on the food item you want, for example Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon

4. And, finally, click on "Nutrition" and the nutrition facts of the item will pop up.

Hamburger iPhone Cases

Yum Yum Yummy!

Click on any iPhone case to purchase.

Hamburger Aprons


Click on any apron to purchase.

Another Way to Save at McDonald's - Online Coupons

Check online for coupons. For example, at Currently there's a $1.00 off coupon for smoothies. If the coupon is expired when you check it out, search online for "McDonald's Coupons" to see what coupons are currently available.

Another place to try for coupon deals is

OK! Now It's Time for You to Come Up with Your Own Strategies!

Now that you've gotten a taste for how to eat more cheaply at McDonald's while saving calories...Think about what else might work for you.

And, if you visit other fast food restaurants... check and see what's on their dollar menu or value menu...and experiment!


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    • profile image

      FknLol 2 years ago

      Is this article for real? does the retard that wrote it not realise that they are saving like $1 on most of the things mentioned but at the cost of getting half as much food? And sharing a meal with a friend? Even a small child would eat a full meal to themselves, so by saving money your going hungry lol.....

    • profile image

      lol 2 years ago

      this is the shittiest waste of time i have ever read. if anything i have lost money

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I work at McDonalds, most combo meals are actually cheaper. For instance: The Filet O Fish meal *comes with medium friends and a drink) is actually cheaper than if you just ordered the sandwich and medium fries. I normally get the meal and ditch the drink or give my cup to a friend. The Big Mac meal is $5.98, just 1 penny more than a Big Mac and medium fries alone. I'm just saying.

      ALSO: Don't say "I'm ordering off the dollar menu" Its annoying and a waste of time. Most mcdonalds workers automatically recommend you the cheaper alternative. Like if someone asks for a double cheeseburger I ask if they want the McDouble instead which is $1. Also, all size beverages are $1

      Last but not least: NEVER EVER ORDER A 6 PIECE CHICKEN NUGGET. It costs $3.19, whereas you could get two 4 piece nuggets for a total of $2.54 No joke, 6 piece nuggets are the biggest rip off in the world. Ever.

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 5 years ago from Michigan

      My favorite is the Big Mac but like one of your suggestions I never order the combo, I just savor my Big Mac!

    • profile image

      l_qinwe 5 years ago

      eel like having McDâs for lunch after reading this⦠Protected To Be The Best

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      funny indeed!

    • profile image

      seosmm 5 years ago

      Very good tips and nice lens!

    • Bluemoongoddess1 profile image

      Lisa Musser 6 years ago from Kansa, USA

      Great tips for eating cheaply at Mcdonalds! I do a few of these but you gave me even more ideas. Thanks! I gave you a thumbs up and a tweet!

    • profile image

      hamshi5433 6 years ago

      Definitely useful for McDonalds lovers! I use to be one of them but now am on a diet :P But reading this is tempting me now...

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      Pretty helpful! I would try getting the McDonald's lunch/dinner you suggested.