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How to Get More of Your Favorite Fast Food for Less (or Free)

fast food collection on on white backgroundBY MARY HUNT

In these days of rising food prices it’s fun to keep a bevy of money-saving tips and tricks up your sleeve. You won’t need a coupon, a code or even a private word with the manager to take advantage of these little-known hacks — all perfectly legal and ethical, too. As for the quality, nutritional value and taste for what follows? That’s where you’re on your own.

CHIPOTLE. As fast food goes, it’s hard to beat Chipotle Mexican Grill. The food is fresh and quite tasty. Now boasting 1,142 locations throughout the U.S. and one (so far) in Canada, Chipotle is, in the opinion of your humble columnist, as good as it gets. Here are a couple of ways to make it even better.

Nachos. It’s not on the menu, but it’s easy to get nachos at Chipotle. Just order a burrito bowl and then ask if you can get chips instead of rice at the bottom. No extra charge.

Double-wrap. If you want a sturdier burrito, ask for two tortilla shells when you give your burrito order. Fans of this method say it keeps the burrito from bursting, which can be a problem with a well-packed Chipotle burrito. No additional charge.

More for free. Here’s a great way to order for one but have more than enough delicious Chipotle fare for two (and even then you’ll have a hard time eating all of it). Order a bowl, which right there gets you more than if you order the burrito. Next, order half chicken and half steak. The way they portion it out, you’ll get at least 50 percent more meat. Ask for both types of rice and beans. Again, they’ll pile it on higher than if you’d selected a single option. Next add fajita veggies and corn salsa. To finish it off, order two tortillas on the side — all this for no additional cost.

–Single taco. If you’re on a diet or budget, you can get a taco loaded with all your favorite toppings for about $2.25.



Quesadillas and burritos. Prefer yours crispy? Ask them to double-grill your quesadillas and burritos, for no extra charge. They’ll come out extra hot and very crispy.

Lava sauce. The spicy cheese “lava sauce” is featured on several Taco Bell items. If you’re a fan, you can add it to virtually any item for free. But you have to ask for it.



Grilled cheese. You won’t see it on the menu, but McDonald’s grilled cheese sandwich is a bun with cheese in the middle. This is a great option for kids, light appetites or vegetarians. To get your grilled cheese sandwich at McDonald’s, do these two things: 1) Order a grilled cheese, and 2) Say you want the buns grilled. Now the cheese will melt and give you the maximum toasty flavor. At last check, this item costs around $1.

Mini Big Mac. McDonald’s Big Macs typically cost around $4.79. If this price is steep for you but you love the flavor, it’s easy to get something similar. Just order a McDouble without ketchup, then add lettuce and Big Mac sauce. You’ll have all the taste of a Big Mac for about $1.49.

Tasty fries. Ask for Big Mac Sauce with your next order of fries. No additional cost, and a fun new taste experience.


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