Frugal Confession- I Hate Kids Meals

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to McDonald's and getting a Happy Meal with a special magic doll as a toy. I remember the special box with arches for handles. I loved getting a Happy Meal.

I guess that's why I feel really cheap when I won't buy my own kids a Happy Meal. It's ridiculously expensive. I can't bring myself to pay for two kids meals at McDonald's or anywhere else. Since we have two boys, rather than buying a kids meal for each of them, we often buy larger portioned individual items and split them, or they share with me.

The price of kids meals at sit-down restaurants are usually $3.99 and up, and we save a lot of money by buying side dishes and sharing. It's the McDonald's kids meals I feel bad about. We spend $3 to feed both boys when we go there, which isn't very often. Kids meals would cost us $6. I just wonder if maybe I am being too cheap and I should splurge now and then and go for the kids meal so it's a special treat, and they have memories like I did of the Happy Meal. Or maybe I could just pull out an old toy they don't remember after we go to McDonald's instead... :)

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NeedANap2 said...

I TOTALLY agree, we're into the "we'd have to buy 3 kids meals" stage! Aaggh! No, we don't buy kids meals. We order off the $1 menu a LOT. Our oldest thinks it's cool to get a "grown-up" sandwich. We also order 20 nuggets (or 10) and split that up amongst the kids since they don't really like hamburgers that much. (How about paying for a meal they won't even eat???) Our kids don't beg us for the toys or to eat out everytime we pass the golden arches!! :) My friend didn't know you could buy JUST the toy, she'd been shelling out each time for the meal when really they were just wanting to collect the toys.

Are you a scrooge? Um, I don't think so. I think financially things are different now than when we were little. You might save the happy meals for vacation. Special treat x 2!!

Mimi said...

I actually don't mind buying the kids meals, although we don't do fast food often. Since they have the option of fruit, juice or milk, it's at least kind of healthy and it does make the kids feel special. Here McD's has kids meals for 1.19 on Thursday and Sunday, so it's a real bargain!

Lady Why said...

We don't buy the happy meals either. Instead, when we go out to eat, we buy off the dollar menu, share food and then, if it's a special occasion, I pull out a little surprise as their 'happy meal toy'! It works great for us and it is really special because it's so rare!

Mom2fur said...

Oooooh, I like kid's meals...but maybe that's because my youngest is 17, and I buy them for myself. Shhh! Don't tell anyone, okay? I simply can't eat a full-sized meal, and I don't want to pay for it. But a little burger (or a few nuggets) and the drink and side order are just the right size for me. (I'm 52 years old, btw.) And the toy? Well, I work in a pediatric office, so I alternate between boy and girl meals and bring the toys in for the waiting room!
Maybe you could make a special occasion for a Happy Meal and save up towards it. For instance, a way to celebrate the first or last day of school, or a season? Or you could have the kids save all their dimes until they add up to enough to pay for a meal--you could pay them a dime for doing certain chores. I bet that dime bank would fill up pretty fast!
Frankly, it isn't necessarily the memory of getting takeout food when I was a's the memory of going out with my mom or dad! The crummy toys will long be forgotten, but lunch with mom is a memory that will last forever.

Anonymous said...

I buy kids meals one for myself and one for my nine year old. By buying a kids meal for myself I am saving money and controlling portions. I scope out the resteraunt for a kid who didn't get a toy like some of the moms who share meals etc. I give that kid my toy. Another good use for the really nice toys. Like the beanies is to save them during the year to do shoeboxes at Christmas time. I only do this with the really nice toys because these shoe boxes are the only gifts many children over seas get.

Our Mcds does 99 cent happy meal nights and they don't mind if adults eat the 99 cent happy meals.
So thats a good deal.