While the cost of food continues to rise in price, Americans are finding any way they can to pinch pennies in the grocery aisle. Sometimes, as TikTok user Ashley (@thedisneygirlie) details, that can even mean ditching the grocery aisle all together.
In a video with over 299,000 views, Ashley shares her hack for budget meals.
“POV: a child free adult is dismantling capitalism by ordering curbside kids meals 5 days a week bc it’s cheaper than groceries, $2 more than fast food, the portions are more than enough and the drink comes with it,” she writes in the text overlaying the video.
@thedisneygirlie Best hack. Most of them include bread too. 😀 #homecooking #millennialsoftiktok #financialguru ♬ all the bad btchez using my audio – brooklyn 🧘🏽♀️
In a follow-up video, she details the best restaurants for viewers to order from to obtain a similar budget-friendly meal.
@thedisneygirlie Replying to @hecallsme_ma #greenscreen #greenscreenvideo here’s 15 great values! #kidsmenus #ballinonabudget #financialguru ♬ original sound – Ashley
She says the worst kid’s meal deals can be found at Carrabba’s, Bonefish Grill, and Bahama Breeze, while the best bang for your buck can be found at Cheddar’s, Longhorn, and Olive Garden.
Ashley also notes that the meal in the first clip was from Cheddar’s, where kids’ meals run around $4.99 to $5.99 and include one side and a drink.
In the comments under the original video, many viewers claim to have used this tip themselves.
“Me as a mom ordering a kids meal for myself everytime,” wrote a user.
“My wife and I do this at Olive Garden,” claimed another. “For 24 dollars we can eat like a king.”
“I also order kids meals when there is the option,” shared a third. “Not just for the cost but for limiting food waste when a normal meal is too much & won’t reheat well.”
However, some warned against sharing this hack publicly as it could motivate restaurants to be stricter about the application of their children’s meal policies.
“Why do people share this info?” asked a commenter. “Too many people will do it and they’ll just take it away.”
“They’re gonna start taking away the kids options,” warned a further TikToker. “Just watch.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Ashley via Instagram DM.
Update 12:28pm CT February 9: In an Instagram DM exchange with the Daily Dot, Ashley says she first figured out this trick back in 2017.
“I used to order DoorDash to my office, but since I was already paying delivery fees and driver tip, I was conscious about how much I was spending on the actual food,” she wrote. “I used to have Cheesecake Factory kids meals delivered to my office. Now, I just actively go pick up my food myself curbside, but it’s always a kids meal.”
She also responded to some of the criticism about her using a section of the menu designated for children. “I don’t view it as abuse because putting age restrictions on portions of food is silly,” she detailed. “I’m getting less food as part of the kid’s meal so the price reflects that. Some restaurants seem progressive enough to not slap an age restriction on, but many do. I would never try to order one while dining in a restaurant and always only do to-go. Because I’m taking it away, they have no right to make the assumption that it’s for me and I don’t have a child at home to bring it to. Many people have had surgeries or other dietary restrictions that may impact their ability to consumer a full sized meal, so why wouldn’t we make kid’s meals accessible to everybody?”
“I just hope that people become aware that you can order kid’s meals to go no matter your age,” she continued. “I’m sure not everyone has thought to do this before, so hopefully that TikTok brings some awareness.”