Top 12 Cheapest Fast Food Chains That Will Save You Money In 2024

Whether you’re looking for the cheapest fast food chains to eat from or simply want to explore new budget comfort food, we’ve got every option you need to help you save while dining out.

Fast food has always been a popular choice for cheap places to eat in the United States, not to mention the convenience and variety of options it gives consumers. 

But, with inflation in the country at an all-time high, more and more Americans are turning to fast food chains as their go-to meals to stretch out their budget because of the increasing cost of goods.

According to a survey by Yelp, consumers now opt to eat at budget restaurants like fast food more than ever over higher-priced alternatives to cut costs. So, it’s no surprise that the popularity of fast food chains is at an all-time high without showing signs of dying soon.

12 Cheapest Fast Food Chains

While you can always opt to buy cheap food in groceries to cut your budget, some people opt for fast food because of its quick service and convenient options. 

Here are the cheapest fast-food chains that people on a budget opt for, plus some recommendations on what you should get.

1. McDonald’s

What to get: Cheeseburger ($1.88), Chicken McNuggets ($2.49), World Famous Fries ($2.71)

You can never go wrong with America’s McDonald’s when you’re on a budget. The fast-food chain even has a dedicated menu called the “$1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu” for those who only have this much to spare for their order. From sausage burritos to its world-famous fries, you can surely satisfy your cravings for just a few dollars.

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Image Credit: keeweeboy/Depositphotos

Many food apps like McDonald’s also have some good deals to help you save big time and get your food practically for free

2. Taco Bell

What to get: Cheesy Roll Up ($1.00), Spicy Potato Soft Taco ($1.00), Beefy Melt Burrito ($2.00)

Taco Bell might be known for its delicious Mexican-inspired food, but it’s also popular with people on a budget with its items that only cost a dollar. Just look at their extensive offerings under Cravings Value Menu and you’ll see cheap eats that only cost $1 to $2 — from soft tacos to roll-ups to burritos! 

3. Checkers and Rally’s

What to get: All American Cheeseburger ($2.39), Jacked BBQ Burger ($2.69), Spicy Chicken Sandwich ($4.49)

Checkers and Rally’s has a variety of food items that you can enjoy for less than $5, from burgers to chicken sandwiches. But if you want a bang for your buck in your next Checkers run, go for their Pick Two and Save so you enjoy two items for less the price.

4. Little Caesars

What to get: Stuffed Crazy Bread ($3.49), Italian Cheese Bread ($4.99), Detroit-style Slices-N-Stix ($4.99)

You can still enjoy some pizza even when on a budget, thanks to Little Caesars. For only $4.99, you can indulge in their famous cheese bread and slices-n-stix, add some more, and get a whole pizza to share (or for yourself, we won’t judge) for just $8.99.

5. Del Taco

What to get: Snack Queso Quesadilla ($1.49), Chicken Taco Del Carbon ($1.79), Bean & Cheese Burrito ($1.79)

You can never go wrong with Del Taco when craving delicious food without breaking the bank. With their 20 Under $2 menu, you’ve got multiple choices for food to enjoy if you only have $2 to spare. From their crispy chicken tacos to snack queso quesadillas, they have various options to satisfy your cravings.

6. Burger King

What to get: Cheeseburger ($2.39), Breakfast Burrito Jr. ($2.39), Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich ($3.89)

Unlike other burger joints, Burger King is still relatively cheaper with the same quality taste. You can get their signature flame-grilled burgers for $2.09 and cheeseburgers for $2.39, making them the perfect options for cheap eats.

7. KFC

What to get: Chicken Sandwich ($1.75), Classic KFC Wrap ($3.00), Chicken Tenders ($3.99)

KFC is renowned for its signature fried chicken, but it also offers a wide range of food items that are just as delicious yet relatively more affordable. For less than $4, you can indulge in KFC wraps in various flavors that satisfy your appetite.

8. Jack in the Box

What to get: Jr. Jumbo Jack ($2.99), Breakfast Jack ($3.74), Jumbo Jack Cheeseburger ($4.99)

Your coffee money will go a long way in Jack in The Box. The fast-food restaurant offers a variety of combos that already include french fries and a drink for less than $7 and even less if you’re only buying solo orders. But, if you’re just trying to get through the day, they have several options under Jack’s Value ranging from $0.99 to $2.49.

9. Wendy’s

What to get: Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe ($1.89), Chicken Go Wrap ($1.79), Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy Single with Cheese ($4.19)

You would think Wendy’s isn’t ideal when you’re trying to save some money, but this fast food chain still has some inexpensive food items on their menu that can help you get by until the next payday—just like their Jr. cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets, which cost less than $2.

10. Chick-fil-A

What to get: Filets ($6.29), Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich ($6.59), Market Salad ($9.79)

A Chick-fil-A visit wouldn’t be complete without its famous chicken sandwiches. For less than $10, you can enjoy a huge and tasty chicken sandwich by yourself. Alternatively, you can opt for their salads at the same price if you feel a little healthy.

11. White Castle

What to get: Cheese Slider ($1.40), Sloppy Joe Slider ($1.45), 2 Breakfast Sliders Combo ($8.27)

White Castle’s original sliders remain one of the cheapest eats in the market, with prices starting at $1.15. If you can’t get enough of just one slider, upgrade it to a full meal for only $10.66, complete with 2 sliders, a small fries, and a small Coca-Cola drink.

12. Chipotle

What to get: Tacos ($4.05), Burrito or Burrito Bowl ($10.90), Veggie Full Bowl ($10.90)

Woman Eating Ramen MSN
Image Credit: ringsaroundme/Depositphotos.

Chipotle might be a little more expensive than other fast-food restaurants on this list, but you get what you pay for with the quality and quantity they serve. You can also enjoy healthy alternatives like their salad bowls for only $10—not bad for a healthy fast-food meal.

Frequently Asked Questions – Cheapest Fast Food Chains

Is McDonald’s or Wendy’s Cheaper?

Wendy’s is slightly more expensive than McDonald’s, but the difference isn’t huge. The taste and quality may vary depending on what you order. Whether you choose McDonald’s or Wendy’s depends on what you like and the specific foods you’re comparing.

Is Taco Bell or Wendy’s Cheaper?

Taco Bell is cheaper than Wendy’s and is even considered the cheapest fast-food chain in the United States. While both fast-food chains experienced significant increases in their food prices, Taco Bell remains the most affordable, with an average price tag of only $3.37.

Who Is McDonald’s Biggest Competitor?

McDonald’s biggest competitor would be Burger King, the country’s second-largest fast-food hamburger chain. Both fast food chains offer the same food options, from famous burgers to breakfast items. 

But unlike McDonald’s, Burger King’s edge might be how they cook their burgers over an open flame (hence, their signature flame-grilled burgers) rather than simply being fried.

Is Wendy’s or Burger King Cheaper?

Considering the overall menu, Wendy’s is cheaper than Burger King. A Wendy’s double cheeseburger costs only $3.69, whereas the same food item costs $5.79 at Burger King. The same applies to other items, such as french fries, priced at $3.39 at Wendy’s and $4.69 at Burger King.

Who Has Better Meat, Wendy’s or McDonald’s?

Regarding hamburgers, it’s quite a battle between Wendy’s and McDonald’s. However, a recent comparison of the most popular fast food chain burgers showed that Wendy’s famous Dave Single has juicier meat than McDonald’s iconic Big Mac, which is noticeably dry.

Conclusion – Cheapest Fast Food Chains

Nowadays, when inflation keeps increasing, people have become more and more creative in cutting down costs. From making dirt-cheap meals to trying out the so-called ultimate “poor man’s meal,” people have been coming up with ways to create budget recipes. But affordable, fast food is the way for those who lack time to prepare or simply want a convenient option.

With our list above, we hope to have helped you source the cheapest fast-food chain in the market and score the best deals. So, bookmark this post now to know which fast food you’ll visit when you struggle to get by until the next payday!

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