Whatever time of day you go to Mcdonald’s, there is bound to be something that appeals to you, so if you’re looking for a quick snack or a nice meal, there are a few options you can choose that fit into your budget and lifestyle.
Since 2018, the fast food chain has rethought this menu and has a more consistent line-up across the country, and the $1, $2, and $3 menu allows you some room for customization, whatever time of day you drop by.
As good as this is, you might be wondering how each of these menu options stacks up if you were to purchase items outside of this menu, and if so, how you can get the most value out of your meal.
We’ll break down this menu and take a look at what a $1-$3 budget can get you at Mcdonald’s and help make your purchasing decision easier.
If You Have A Budget Between $1-$3
You may not want to pay for meals that are five or even ten dollars plus, which might only be enough for yourself and maybe two people at a stretch, and the highly refined carbohydrates and added sugars can even leave you hungrier.
However, if you’re just passing through one of these fast food chains and want a quick snack, there are a few options for you if you have a limited budget.
Below is what you can get for your money as we break it into price ranges, so you aren’t having to read the long menus and feel dread seeing all the options.
Bear in mind that these are average prices, and some restaurants price these differently, so more populated areas might see higher prices, but it is possible to find an item lower in price than the average.
Items Between $1-$2
1. Strawberry And Crème Pie- $1.38
If you don’t like the cinnamon-like taste of an apple pie, you could order a sweet and creamy strawberry and crème pie, which has strawberry and vanilla crème that is baked side-by-side into a sugar-coated crust.
This can be an excellent relief from the other desserts you may have encountered, and by heating it up, you also get a nice feeling, especially during the colder months.
2. Fruit Punch Smoothie Minute Maid- $1.91
Just coming under the $2 mark, you can also get this slushie in strawberry watermelon and tropical mango flavor, and with Minute Maid being available as orange juice, as well, you have all the components of a nice refreshing line-up that could really help you out in the summer.
This drink works well with fries or a burger, but if you’re keeping an eye on your figure, you might want to order this drink in a small, as the levels of sugar and carbs could be an issue.
3. Hamburger- $1.37
This item is a classic staple of this restaurant, so we couldn’t leave it from this list as there’s a lot to like about this burger which is a very much grab-on-the-go and can keep your hunger at bay for a while.
This item has a regular bun, beef patty, ketchup, pickle slices, onions, and mustard, and has 250 calories, and contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, or added colors from other sources, and this doesn’t apply to the pickle, which can be left out if desired.
4. Hot And Spicy McChicken- $1.84
This can be a nice alternative to the McChicken if you want a bit more spice, so you get this with some mayonnaise and shredded lettuce, with all of this being served on a nice toasty bun.
This contains around 400 calories, so if you’re not the best at counting calories, you might want to mix in other lighter foods as well, but getting this on your way past as a weekly or monthly pleasure shouldn’t be an issue for you.
5. Apple Slices – $0.75
Whatever aspect of Mcdonald’s appeals to you, there are always some excellent items that you can get as a side, and these apple slices can be a good alternative for a child, so having these on the side of a meal can make them even more appealing.
What’s even better is that the varieties of apples used are carefully selected for their crispiness and juiciness and contain just 15 calories per serving.
6. Sausage Biscuit- $1.59
A good option if you don’t like the sausage McMuffin with egg and want to keep things simple, especially if you’re ordering early in the morning.
This is made with the perfect sausage patty inside a warm buttermilk biscuit that’s topped with real butter, and having this with a tasty latte or cappuccino is the ideal way to start your day.
7. Sausage Burrito- $1.89
Another great morning item, this one is loaded with fluffy scrambled egg, pork sausage, melty cheese, onions, and green chilies, so you can enjoy this if you have to commute to work and your typical breakfast just isn’t doing it for you.
With it being 310 calories, you can have some hash browns on the side and not worry about it becoming too unhealthy as you go about the rest of your day.
8. 3 Cookies – $1.36
A nice goodie for you here is a chocolate chip cookie that is a staple of their side desserts range alongside their muffins, and with these, you get a soft baked cookie that is made to perfection.
Perhaps ad this with a McCafe beverage like a hot chocolate or even a small milkshake, as this can add a dollar more, but you can get your fix of sweetness from the many combinations that are possible.
Items Between $2-$3
9. 4-piece McNuggets- $2.21
Moving on to our slightly more expensive items, we have a 4-piece chicken nugget snack that you may find as part of the happy meals if you make a meal out of them, and the menu gives you the choice to size up to 6, 10, 20, or even 40 pieces, but this can get quite expensive.
Add some sauce to your nuggets, as there are many flavors to choose from, from the hot mustard, creamy ranch, pure honey, and spicy buffalo sauce.
10. Bacon Mcdouble- $2.97
Another burger that might have the qualities of a hamburger but has thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, pickle slices, ketchup, onions, mustard, American cheese, and a beef patty that sits in the middle.
This one also has a salt and pepper seasoning, so you have a bit more going on here without having to add any of your own, and you can ask to have some of these ingredients removed for any requirements and intolerances.
11. Chicken Mcgriddles- $2.49
This one is quite reminiscent of the sausage biscuit from earlier, except you have a savory and crispy chicken patty that is served on warm and soft griddle cakes, so you have a snack here that does away with breakfast staples you’re tired of.
Interestingly, you can order this at breakfast, and it will work nicely with a hot beverage or a sweet pie that can better balance the flavors that are on offer here.
12. Double Cheeseburger- $2.71
This item might be one that you have to search around a bit to find out what it’s all about, but as far as we can tell, this one has your two beef patties with their own slices of cheese, onions, and ketchup, and is just a smaller version of the double quarter-pounder with cheese.
The New York variety comes with green chilies, but some restaurants might only have standard versions, so you might not get the flair you’re looking for.
13. 2 Apple Pies – $2.02
Better than 1 apple pie, two of these, which contain 100 % American-grown apples with a lattice crust baked to perfection that is sprinkled with sugar, and this can be good as a nice companion to a small snack or as something that is quick to grab and go.
You can very much expect them to be hot when you get them, and if you get a nice hot caramel sundae to go with it, you have a winning combination here.
14. Large Fries – $2.49
Depending on what size you go for, you could get from 50 – 90 fries in one bag, and the sharing items allow you to double up on these even more, but to keep in line with your budget, a large bag will do just fine.
The salt from these might make you thirsty, so maybe getting some Dasani Water for $1.39, which comes as your standard, medium-sized bottle, or you could go for a soft drink, but be aware that you will go over the $3 threshold.
15. Any Small McCafe Beverage- $2.29- $2.89
Pretty much aunty McCafe beverage you get from the restaurant, whether it be a brewed hot coffee, latte, mocha, frappe, or even a hot chocolate which you can get in a large and still get it under $3, so it’s best checking the menu to see what you can get.
A nice hot beverage in the morning is just what you need to get going, but some of these can go up in price quite quickly, so go for a drink that is in your range and doesn’t exceed that $3 price.
Is The $1 $2 $3 Menu Any Good?
Mcdonald’s has always been a frontrunner in terms of giving its customers a good deal and giving discounts, which applies to in-person or online ordering, and you can find these items included with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in different pricing tiers.
From these tiers, you can choose from a line of products, and you can mix and match these items to create a custom meal that is at a reasonable price point.
Below is what you can expect from each price point, but be aware that some chains might differ in their pricing, but this might not be much of an issue as only 5% of chains might alter slightly.
For this tier, you might think there are limits, but you can choose between a sausage burrito, McChicken, Cheeseburger, and any size soft drink, but if you want to make it a meal, you would have to pay between $1.59-$2.49 extra depending on the size of fries you get.
If you were to get a sausage burrito and a soft drink without this tier, it would cost you $2, and the other items on this tier can cost you 10 cents more, which may not sound like a lot, but can add up if you’re saving in other areas such as grocery shopping or filling your car with gas.
With the drink, you have a range of options from a classic coca-cola to Fanta, Dr. Pepper, iced tea, and even Hi-C Orange lavaburst.
This option is a lovely lunchtime meal where you can choose from two-piece buttermilk crispy tenders, sausage McGriddles, bacon McDouble, and any kind of small McCafé beverage, and here is where you can see more of a saving.
This is because any small hot drink from the McCafé range can cost anywhere between $2.29 and $2.99, and a McDouble can cost around $1.59, so you could see savings here of $2.58.
The choice of McCafé drinks ranges from lattes, iced mochas, hot chocolate, caramel frappes, and even smoothies, so you can warm up or cool down depending on the time of year, so this makes an excellent addition to this tier.
This tier might be the broadest, as you have the option to choose from the new classic chicken sandwich, triple cheeseburger, happy meal, and a sausage McMuffin with egg, which can be seen as a good deal as a standard happy meal can cost between $4.19-$5.59.
This deal also saves you with the chicken sandwich (around 69 cents) and can save you around a dollar if you were to buy a cheeseburger or sausage McMuffin with something else.
Are These Menus Any Good?
You might get a mixed response when asking about the value, but what we can guarantee is that the consistency of the food quality is going to be high, and they are constantly innovating and changing the menu.
So if you think going to Mcdonald’s is a waste of time and money, there might be a change to the menu that could change your mind, but the real question is whether you’re prepared to pay that bit extra to get a meal that you might consider fulfilling.
You might also see your local restaurant change their saver menus by adding more items or combinations, as there’s no telling how the menu will change, but there is some value in buying something for a dollar if there are no other restaurants in the area and you need a quick snack.
The Bottom Line
With all these items, you can build a budget around what you can realistically afford and save some money, and there even may be promotions or online events where you can win discounts or even free items with your next order.
So it might be a good idea to check online and even in the restaurant, and if you’re unsure about how these combo meals work, as some don’t give the most clarity, you can always ask a team member who will be happy to show you how the promotion works and what you can get from your budget.