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The 8 Best Fast Food Restaurants for Your Dollar

The 8 Best Fast Food Restaurants for Your Dollar
Most college students have a pretty limited food budget. When you're sick of dorm food or you don't want to eat yet another packet of ramen for dinner, it's tempting to branch out. Fortunately, there are plenty of great fast food spots where you can grab a great meal at a low price. Knowing which restaurants offer the best bang for your buck helps stretch your budget a little further. Check out these top fast food restaurants to satisfy your hunger without emptying your wallet.


With its infamous dollar menu, McDonald's is a popular spot for students on a budget. Walk up to the counter or hit the drive-thru to get a tasty cheeseburger and fries for only a few bucks. Don't forget about the cheap coffee and all-day breakfast options, either.


If you're willing to spend a few more bucks for a tastier burger, upgrade your McDonald's to Smashburger. It's still an absolute steal, especially when you consider the quality of the massive size of these burgers. Be sure to try the Colorado Smashburger, which features grilled green chiles, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a spicy chipotle bun.


Though Arby's is still known for its incredibly tasty and affordable roast beef sandwiches, that's not all you'll find at this popular fast food spot. The Market Fresh sandwiches are as tasty as those from any local café and about half the price.

Little Caesars

Little Caesar's

Image via Flickr by JeepersMedia

There's nothing like grabbing a $5 Hot-N-Ready pie to fuel a study session or to enjoy with your pals. Most pizza isn't exactly fast food since you have to call ahead to order, but this place can't be beat in terms of speed, either.

Noodles & Company

This fast casual spot originated in Denver and has become the perfect alternative to an expensive Italian meal. Get your pasta fix at a much more affordable price at Noodles & Company. Though many dishes have an Italian flair, keep in mind that this restaurant offers a wide range of noodle dishes, including mac and cheese and pad Thai.

Taco Bell

Walking into Taco Bell with a $5 bill is like having the VIP experience of fast food. Make it $10, and you're basically royalty. The sheer amount of food that you can purchase with such little cash make this a super cheap and super tasty option for students.


Though it might not be nearly as cheap, Chipotle is to Taco Bell as Smashburger is to McDonald's. The portions are bigger and the ingredients are healthier at Chipotle. This is mom-approved fast food, and for good reason.


For sub sandwiches, you'll have a hard time beating Subway's low prices. Though the $5 footlong is no more, most locations offer a daily $6 sub deal. That's a whole 12 inches of sandwich for $6, which isn't bad for a study break or a quick lunch between classes.

If you're looking to make your money count in college, spend smart by grabbing a few meals at these affordable fast food restaurants.

Featured image via Flickr by kodomut