By Chris Dato • October 20, 2014
Fast food is a staple of American life. While some of us find it harder to resist than others, we all succumb to the convenience of fast food every once in a while. Which is fine, everything in moderation. However, this is a conflict with which I am all too familiar, as my busy schedule finds me on the road a lot. The beaconing florescent temptation of their signs has gotten the better of me on more occasions than I care to admit. As a result of this ongoing losing battle, I couldn’t help but notice the damage I was doing to something I hold sacred: my budget.
Most of us don’t realize just how much we spend on fast food, focusing more on the convenience than the cost. But in a world of disappearing dollar menus and places charging for dipping sauces, it is becoming increasingly important to know how to stretch your dollar. One way to do this is by simply not tossing out your receipt. If you are like me, muscle memory probably makes you crumple up the receipt as soon as it is handed to you. Fight that urge. Printed on the back of the receipt at most fast food restaurants is an offer for free food in exchange for customer feedback. Jack in the Box will give you two free tacos, Sonic offers a free drink. The reason for this is that collecting quality feedback is a challenge for big companies like fast food chains, as typically it is only the disgruntled customers who feel compelled enough to say something.
If you want to take it even further and be a real saving superhero, complete the survey from someone else’s receipt. Many people leave their ticket on the counter when they pick up their food anyway. Snatch up one of those bad boys, and do the survey on your phone while you wait in line. The company gets their feedback, and by the time you get up to the counter you are set for a free meal!
Remember that is it is excess that is truly bad for you, not necessarily fast food itself. Just keep this tip in mind next time you eat out, and it will be your wallet that is getting fatter.
Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'