Living on fast food for $1 a day

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Wendy's: By far, Wendy's has the most satisfying choices and gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Its Super Value Menu for 99 cents includes - Spicy Chicken Go Wrap, Home style Chicken Go Wrap, Crispy Chicken Sandwich, 5 piece Crispy Chicken Nuggets, Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Double Stack, Value French Fries, and a Value Drink. Let's put it this way - you could get 9 meals for $9. That's about how much one meal costs at Panera. The double cheeseburger is juicy and tastes amazing. My advice: next time you want a cheap burger hit up Wendy's (just make sure you get more than one).


Taco Bell: For some reason, Taco Bell always hits the spot. Their Value Menu is fairly extensive, with prices starting at just $.79. The cheap cheap options weren't for me, though, as one of them was just a "cheese wrap." (Yes, that's shredded cheese rolled up in a tortilla shell.)


I chose what I believed would be the biggest menu item for the price -- the Big Taste Soft Taco: beans, meat, shredded cheese, hot sauce, melted cheese, lettuce and hot red tortilla chips. It was good, it was spicy and it was well worth the $.99 I spent on it. In fact, it was more spicy and flavorful then the infamous "Volcano Taco". I still could have used a couple more to truly satisfy my appetite, but for a buck it wasn't bad.


Burger King: It's a big menu, however the Spicy Chicken Sandwich is the only item that seemed decent. I pulled through the window, paid my dollar and was handed a tiny little brown bag with what appeared to be a chicken sandwich inside.


I unwrapped and much to my dismay there was lettuce and mayo on the chicken. The lettuce wasn't entirely green and was cut into huge chunks, the mayo was slopped on all over the place and the "chicken" was sliding over to the side, trying desperately to hang on to the bun. Speaking of the "chicken"....I'm not sure it was chicken as it was about the length of my fist and as thick as 6 pieces of notebook paper. Trust me, this chicken was thin. As I examined it a little more closely I almost backed out, I didn't want to go through with it. But, I had to eat. I'm still unsure if I'm happy I did, as after a few bites I felt like I was eating spicy cardboard.


McDonald's: I pulled up and ordered the McChicken, figuring I needed to compare it to Burger King's horrific example, and soon found out the portion is much larger. More mayo and lettuce here; I don't think I really understand this combination. The worst part? It's not even a whole piece of lettuce, it's just shredded bits smeared around in attempt to make this deep fried treat appear to be healthy.


My bites around the edges were rather good. It has a unique flavor, is kinda juicy and it's a decent portion for a $1. Everything was going rather dandy until I chomped down into the middle and a jet powered stream of mayo came flying into my mouth. I started hacking and then finally had to shed the rest of the bun, mayo and lettuce and just eat the chicken.


The bottom line? Wendy's tasted the best and you got the most for $1. Taco Bell is a worthwhile 2nd choice and if your taste buds are demanding chicken your only choice for a $1 is McDonald's.

What if you only had $1 a day to spend on food?

Could you do it?

With dollar menus at almost every fast food chain in the country, you can get almost an entire meal for $1.

The bigger question - does that $1 meal fill you up, or are you left hungry for more?

This past week I put myself to the challenge and lived on a dollar a day for dinner. It wasn't easy. On most nights I found myself isolated while my wife ate a full meal and I was left picking at my dollar sandwich, starving.

Much to my surprise, not all fast food chains offer options for a $1. When I visited KFC and Arby's I had to turn around because they didn't have anything in my budget. The sharp contrast in quality of menu items between each restaurant was also amazing. Some restaurants (Wendy's/Taco Bell) had food that tasted good and didn't look cheap and trashy. Others, however really didn't care what it looked or tasted like because they — seemingly — had the attitude of, "you paid a dollar, deal with it."

Here's the rundown of my experience:

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