Let’s face it. No matter how well you budget your time or your money, there are going to be instances when they “runneth over” – and one can lead to another. Case in point, while zipping around town to the market, the dry cleaners and the hardware store your stomach begins to demand sustenance. Sure, it would be more economical to go home and make yourself a lunch before heading back out to pick up the kids, but that could definitely be a waste of time and gas. Not to worry. Lots of local fast-food places have value menus where a dollar (give or take a few cents) can get you a tasty meal.
Craving beef? You can choose from six different varieties of burgers on the value menu at Jack in the Box or you can go to Carl’s Jr. and get their Big Hamburger (larger than the kids’ version, but just as basic) for a buck. Also available for a dollar are double cheeseburgers at Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s. If you’re looking for some veggies with that (lettuce, tomatoes and onions), besides Jack’s jumbo and deluxe hamburgers, there’s Burger King’s Whopper Jr.
All of the above places have fries (Jack in the Box has onion rings) and chicken sandwiches on their value menus, plus Burger King and Wendy’s have chicken bites. But take note, these are the reconstituted poultry that your kids will gobble up, not the white meat that’s geared more toward adult taste buds.
If you’re tired of the same old stuff, Arby’s has a good value on their Jr. Sandwiches and a corn dog is only $0.79 at Wienerschnitzel. Or you can get a grilled cheese sourdough sandwich at Jack in the Box. If you have time to go in and sit down, Wendy’s has a baked potato for $0.99 and Jack in the Box, Burger King and McDonald’s have value salads.
Jack in the Box has tacos on their value menu and both Taco Bell and El Pollo Loco have tacos and burritos for a dollar. But the best deal all around is Del Taco where bean and cheese burritos and regular tacos are only $.049 every day. Plus, Tuesdays and Thursdays are Taco Nights (3 – 11 pm) – very handy when the family is on the run for the kiddies’ recital or soccer game or you just plain don’t feel like cooking.
Added goodies include, apple “pies” at Burger King, Arby’s and McDonalds, yogurt parfait and sundaes at Mickey D’s, Wendy’s famous frosty, Carl’s chocolate chip cookie (which is now a dollar, but still worth it), Tasty Freeze cones for $0.79 at Wienerschnitzel and cinnamon twists for $0.89 at Taco Bell. Of course, just about everyone has their own versions of shakes – traditional, original, or fruit based – plus there’s flan at El Pollo Loco and cheesecake bites at Del Taco. But prices on these treats are sometimes higher than the main meal item, so splurge at your own budgetary risk.
One final hint: a small drink may not cost much, but it’ll still add to your total bill. A cup of water may be free, but it’s usually microscopic. Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you, because the cost of one at the drive-thru can be close to what you paid for a whole case at the grocery store.