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January 2018

A Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Eating Fast Food Value Meals for a Week on a $50 Budget, Day 7, Dinner

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

Day 7 Dinner:  The last meal of the challenge

20180307_185259It's been a tough challenge.  There is just no way to eat a variety of meals, stay full between meals and spend just $7.14 a day to do it.  Going into dinner, I've got just $1.01 left to spend.....  Oh my!  Thank goodness for coupons!  Hello Arby's and a free roast beef sandwich.  That keeps me under budget for the challenge and I won't be left feeling full, I've still got one of the chicken tenders and cookie leftover from my KFC lunch if needed.

You just can't beat Arby's and their slow roasted, thinly sliced roast beef, they are indeed the Roast Beef King, they do it well.  And a classic Arby's Roast Beef sandwich combined with that Arby's Sauce - Simply delicious!

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $1.08

Lunch:  $5.40 

Dinner:  $0.00

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $8.59

Day 6:  $5.34

Day 7:  $6.48

I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I blew my daily budget on Day 5 by $1.45.  Ouch!  On Day 6, I sacrificed in the name of food science and came in under budget by 35 cents.  With a budget of $7.49 left for Day 7, the final day of the challenge, I finished the challenge $1.01 under budget! 

Grand Total:  $48.99

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, honey and honey mustard!

As I've already written, while this challenge started out well enough, it ended up being an epic fail.  I had to resort to eating burgers too often and with some of those 'meals' they weren't filling enough - I was snacking between meals.  There's just no way to eat fast food every meal, with enough choices, AND keeping you full, on a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


A Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Eating Fast Food Value Meals for a Week on a $50 Budget, Day 7, Lunch

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

Day 7 lunch and chicken sounds good

20180210_172403It's been a tough challenge.  There is just no way to eat a variety of meals, stay full between meals and spend just $7.14 a day to do it.  Starving going into lunch, I decided on Kentucky Fried Chicken and one of their $5 Fill Up meals.  I went with the chicken tenders, extra crispy, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuit, medium drink, dipping sauce for the tenders and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert.  That's a darn good meal for just $5 and it did indeed fill me up.  I received my to-go order quickly, the chicken was prepared perfectly, seasoned well and the mashed potatoes with gravy and biscuit really hit the spot.  I'm saving one of the tenders and the cookie for later.

So what lies ahead for dinner?  While I am still on track with the budget on this last day of the challenge, I've got just $1.01 left for dinner. Uh-oh!

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $1.08

Lunch:  $5.40 

20180210_172450Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $8.59

Day 6:  $5.34

Day 7:  $6.48 with dinner to go

I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I blew my daily budget on Day 5 by $1.45.  Ouch!  On Day 6, I sacrificed in the name of food science and came in under budget by 35 cents.  With a budget of $7.49 left for Day 7, the final day of the challenge, I've got just $1.01 left for dinner.  

Grand Total:  $48.99

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, honey and honey mustard!

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


A Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Eating Fast Food Value Meals for a Week on a $50 Budget, Day 7, Breakfast

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

Day 7 Breakfast 

Mcdonalds sausage burritoAs I concluded on Day 6, this challenge started out well, but has turned into an epic fail.  There is just no way to eat a variety of meals, stay full between meals and spend just $7.14 a day to do it.  In order to stay on budget for the challenge, I have repeatedly found myself eating at McDonald's again and again.  Today for Day 7, I've got a budget of $7.49 to spend and here I am at McDonald's again because my only options for a $1 breakfast are the Golden Arches and Taco Bell.  I went with the Sausage burrito from McDonald's today, a repeat purchase from Day 2.  

So what lies ahead for lunch and dinner?  While I am still on track with the budget on this last day of the challenge, I'm extremely limited with the value meal choices that are out there in trying to avoid repeat purchases and/or repeat restaurant visits.

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $1.08 

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $8.59

Day 6:  $5.34

Day 7:  $1.08 with lunch and dinner to go

I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I blew my daily budget on Day 5 by $1.45.  Ouch!  On Day 6, I sacrificed in the name of food science and came in under an already reduced daily budget by 35 cents.  So with a budget of $7.49 left for Day 7, the final day of the challenge, I've got $6.63 left for lunch and dinner after spending $1.08 on breakfast. 

Grand Total:  $43.37

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, honey and honey mustard!

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


A Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Eating Fast Food Value Meals for a Week on a $50 Budget, Day 6, Dinner

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

Day 6 and time for dinner 

This challenge started out well, but I have to admit this as being an epic fail on Day 6.  There is just no way to eat a variety of meals, stay full between meals and spend just $7.14 a day to do it.  In order to stay on budget for the challenge, I find myself eating at McDonald's again.  I'll say this, of all the fast food restaurants offering a value menu, McDonald's is clearly the best.

20180211_172005With just $2.48 remaining in the daily budget for dinner, I decided on a McDonald's Bacon McDouble for dinner.  I've had this burger during the challenge before and in my humble opinion it's the best $2 burger in town

So what lies ahead for Day 7?  While I got back on track with the budget going into the last day of the challenge, I'm still limited with the value meal choices that are out there.

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.13

Lunch:  $1.08

Dinner:  $2.13

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $8.59

Day 6:  $5.34

I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I blew my daily budget on Day 5 by $1.45.  Ouch!  On Day 6, I sacrificed in the name of food science and came in under an already reduced budget by 35 cents.  I've got $7.49 to spend on Day 7, the final day of the challenge.

20180211_173800Grand Total:  $42.29

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, honey and honey mustard!

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


A Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Eating Fast Food Value Meals for a Week on a $50 Budget, Day 6, Lunch

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

Day 6 - Lunch 

This challenge has been tough, tough in finding variety, tough finding enough restaurants with value meals, tough in spending just $7.14 a day and most importantly, tough in staying full between meals.

I only had $5.69 to eat with today if I want to stay on tract for the overall challenge and I spent $2.13 at breakfast.

20180211_172013For lunch, it's a repeat visit to McDonald's, I decided on a cheeseburger (again) from their $1 Value Menu.

What can I say, this challenge has turned out to be much tougher than I first anticipated.

Kudos to what has become my favorite McDonald's, which is very close to my apartment.  Every meal I've had there during this challenge has been good.  Orders have been taken in a timely fashion, orders are prepared quickly, bagged fast and I was out the door in minutes.  Meals were hot and tasty.  I've done all my meals 'to-go' during this challenge, preferring to do the blogging about it while eating.  Regular readers know that I was not a huge fan of McDonald's prior to this challenge, but this particular store is run well, they've changed my mind, but I have to keep in mind that not all McDonald's are this good.

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.13

Lunch:  $1.08

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $8.59

Day 6:  $3.21 (with dinner to go)

I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I blew my daily budget on Day 5 by $1.45.  Ouch!  On Day 6 after breakfast and lunch, I've got just $2.48 left for dinner.

Grand Total:  $40.16

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, honey and honey mustard!


Book Review: Lone Wolf Canyon by S.C. Sherman

Lone Wolf CanyonA great writer can paint you a picture with the words he puts to paper and S.C. Sherman does just that with this modern day western.   The story of Lance "Ham" Hamilton making a promise to his military buddy and traveling out West to fulfill it is a captivating must read!  ~ Mike Thayer

Lance “Ham” Hamilton thought he’d said goodbye to his dangerous life as an Army Ranger—no roadside bombs, nobody shooting at you. Little does he know that the violence of the Middle East is waiting for him in America.

Lone Wolf Canyon in paperback


Dunkin' Donuts - Egg and Cheese Wake Up Wrap, Day 6, Breakfast

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

20180209_100529An egg and cheese Wake Up Wrap for breakfast Day 6 anyone? 

This challenge has been tough, tough in finding variety, finding enough restaurants with value meals, and staying full.

After yesterday's over-budget experience, I've only got $5.69 to eat with today if I want to stay on tract for the overall challenge.

Dunkin' Donuts is offering 2 Egg & Cheese Wake Up Wraps for $2, so that's what I had for breakfast.

These things are tasty!  The egg was perfectly prepared, the cheese was melty and those simple but nicely seasoned ingredients were blanketed in a fresh tortilla.  Thank you Dunkin' Donuts!  My to-go order was taken, prepared and bagged quickly, I was out the door in just a couple minutes.

The wraps themselves are a bit on the smallish side, but for just $2 I'm confident they will hold me until lunch.  Did I mention how tasty they were?  These things are perfect on-the-go eats too, there's no fear of wearing-breakfast-on-the-shirt factor when chowing down on the way to work.  The Dunkin' Donuts Wake Up Wraps also come with bacon, ham, or sausage for just $1 more!

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.13

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $8.59

Day 6:  $2.13 (with lunch and dinner to go)

20180209_100751I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I blew my daily budget on Day 5 by $1.45 leaving me with just $5.69 for Day 6. 

Grand Total:  $39.08

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, honey and honey mustard!


Food Review: Taco Bell's Nacho Fries

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

20180203_172553With all the marketing hype by Taco Bell and their new menu item of Nacho Fries, I decided to give their $5 Nacho Fries Box a try for lunch today.

Introduced on January 26 and part of their $1 menu, Taco Bell's venture into french fries features "Mexican" spiced fries and a nacho cheese dipping sauce.  The restaurant is also marketing the fries with the $5 box as well as a what they call Nacho Fries Bell Grande, which consists of the fries topped with seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, and sour cream.  Basically, we're talking nachos with fries instead of chips.

The $5 Nacho Fries box comes with the fries and dipping sauce of course, along with a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, a Doritos Locos Taco and a medium drink.

20180203_173059So how are the Nacho Fries you ask?  They're not bad, but they're not great either.  The fries were properly prepared, a crispy outer edge and a flaky potato inside.  Kudos to Taco Bell on that.  But the seasoning didn't really taste "Mexican," it was more like seasoning salt and the Nacho Cheese dipping sauce was the typical Taco Bell sauce, nothing special for the new product occasion.  The combination of the fry, seasoning and cheese sauce isn't bad, so if you're looking for something different to dip your fries into besides ketchup it's an interesting change of pace, but to sum things up, I'd rather have chips with my nacho cheese sauce.  I had to remind myself that you can purchase Nacho Fries for $1.  Worth the buck?  Yes, simply out of curiosity.  But a repeat buy?  Not so much.

While the price is right, the taste is "eh"....  Taco Bell Nacho Fries fall a bit flat, given the hype.

This new product offering from Taco Bell gets 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  We're talking a buck here, and they are fries.....

2 stars


A Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Eating Fast Food Value Meals for a Week on a $50 Budget, Day 5, Dinner

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

It's Day 5 and dinner time

20180211_172020I've already blown my daily budget with breakfast and lunch, going over budget by 37 cents with dinner yet to go.  I've got to eat, but that limits my choices to McDonald's or Taco Bell and their respective $1 menus.

Since I had Taco Bell for lunch, I decided on McDonald's for dinner and their McChicken sandwich for $1.

I've had my share of these over the years, I'm a sucker for a chicken sandwich, and for $1, this hits the spot for dinner.  What's not to like in crispy fried chicken, mayo and lettuce on a toasted bun?

This challenge has been exactly that, my overall budget is hurting going into Day 6 and it's been a challenge staying full on fast food options for just $7.14 a day.

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.13

Lunch:  $5.38

Dinner:  $1.08

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

20180211_172300Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $8.59

I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I've blown my daily budget after three meals by $1.45.  That leaves me with just $5.69 for tomorrow if I am to stay on track for the challenge.

Grand Total:  $36.95

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, honey and honey mustard!


A Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: Nacho Fries, Day 5, Lunch

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Can you eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week on just $50?

That's a budget of just $7.14 a day.

Are there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that will fit in the budget? Will there be enough variety? Will I stay full enough, no snacking required?

Can I stay under budget and eat well to boot?

It's Day 5 and lunch time

20180203_172553With all the marketing hype by Taco Bell and their new menu item of Nacho Fries, I decided to give their $5 Nacho Fries Box a try.

Introduced on January 26 and part of their $1 menu, Taco Bell's venture into french fries features "Mexican" spiced fries and a nacho cheese dipping sauce.  The restaurant is also marketing the fries with the $5 box as well as a what they call Nacho Fries Bell Grande, which consists of the fries topped with  seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, and sour cream.  Basically, we're talking nachos with fries instead of chips.

The $5 Nacho Fries box comes with the fries and dipping sauce of course, along with a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, a Doritos Locos Taco and a medium drink.

20180203_173059So how are the Nacho Fries you ask?  They're not bad, but they're not great either.  The fries were properly prepared, a crispy outer edge and a flaky potato inside.  Kudos to Taco Bell on that.  But the seasoning didn't really taste "Mexican", it was more like seasoning salt and the Nacho Cheese dipping sauce was the typical Taco Bell sauce, nothing special.  The combination isn't bad, if you're looking for something different to dip your fries into besides ketchup it's an interesting change of pace, but to sum things up, I'd rather have chips with my nacho cheese sauce.  I had to remind myself that you can purchase Nacho Fries for $1.  Worth the buck?  Yes.  But a repeat buy?  Not so much.

Meal total for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.13

Lunch:  $5.38

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.29

Day 2:  $6.44

Day 3:  $7.27

Day 4:  $7.36

Day 5:  $7.51 (breakfast & lunch)

I went over budget by 15 cents on Day 1.  I was under budget by 55 cents on Day 2.  I went over budget by 13 cents on Day 3.  After Day 4 I had a whopping 5 cent surplus working for me.  That laughable surplus didn't matter, I've blown my daily budget after eating lunch, over by 32 cents.

Grand Total:  $38 so far, with Day 5 dinner to go - looks like I'm starving tonight?

The nice thing about this challenge - No dish washing required!  Bonus!

And then there's bonus #2:  A growing surplus of napkins!

Bonus #3:  The opportunity to rack up on condiment packets.....  You knew that was coming, right?  What bachelor does NOT have condiment packets in his fridge?  I've racked up ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce and honey!