Everything is getting more expensive these days. Gasoline is the most obvious. Followed by groceries. And fast food. fast food joints have apparently had the highest price increases in 41 years. I haven't really noticed though, and I'll tell you how we're battling some of those higher prices.

I was rather surprised when I saw this article on the website for television station CW33 talking about how the National Restaurant Association is reporting a seven percent increase in fast food prices in the last year. The Association is quoted by CW33 as saying the last time prices jumped this much was over 40 years ago.

I haven't really noticed those increases, which is surprising because my wife Kathy and I eat more fast food than we should. Neither of us enjoys cooking very much, and since Kathy's illness last summer she's less likely to have the stamina to stand in the kitchen and whip something up most nights. And I generally get home a little later in the evening, so that makes cooking difficult for me. So we eat out a fair amount, and much of it is some type of fast food.

Now that said, I've been trying to eat a little healthier over the past seven or eight months, so what I order at most fast food places has changed. I'm ordering less at most places, so that's helping keep my drive-thru bills lower, and I'm using a lot of the fast-food places' apps to do it.

The apps really can save you some cash. Especially at burger places like McDonald's and Wendy's. Of course, you need to consistently order on the app. And be a part of their point systems and look for what you can redeem for free. And it helps to be eating out frequently too.

At McDonald's, I've redeemed points for free Big Macs, free fries, not to mention buy one get one offers, and there are always discounts like saving $2 or some certain percentage with a minimum purchase of $10 or something like that.

My experience at Wendy's has been similar as well. I've gotten free jr. bacon cheeseburgers, and free fries and taken advantage of various discounts on minimum purchases.

Not to mention Sonic, where you can always cut your drink prices in half by ordering on the app. While they don't have a point system, they do run app specials and app only specials that make it worth checking out when you're craving some tots or one of their burgers or chicken sandwiches.

Now, you're not going to save a buck or two at every fast food joint by using the app. Taco Bell, ouch, they're expensive. Although I thought they were expensive before last year so I can't say their prices have gone up due to inflation. I also haven't seen any benefit to using their app, except for order customization.

And Firehouse Subs and Fazoli's don't seem to discount anything on their apps. Although, the value proposition for what you get from these places for the price doesn't strike me as out of line.

And then there's the simplest thing you can do, order less food. I mentioned eating a little healthier. Note I didn't say healthy, because come on, not much of what I've mentioned in this article is healthy. Yet, as I stumbled into trying to make some small changes in my life to be a little healthier one of the first things I did was order less food.

For example, sometimes at Wendy's, I'll just get the salad. That's it. Other times I'll go for the grilled chicken sandwich. The grilled chicken sandwich is my Sonic go-to at this point. Paired up with the snack size mozzarella sticks.

And I ditched the fries, one of the worst fast-food items you can get, for nugs. And I watch the buns. A lot of fast food carbs are in buns, so sometimes a more substantial burger is better than two or three junior burgers carb and calorie-wise. And those junior burgers, which I started eating when they were cheap, aren't that good of a deal anymore if you're ordering more than one.

Plus regardless of whether or not you're trying to be healthier, or just eating on a budget, once you order less, there's a good chance you'll realize you didn't need as much food as you were getting. At least that happened to me.

That's how I save money on fast food. I order less. I use the apps. And I redeem the points I have to take advantage of offers that are in line with what I'm ordering. If you do the same, you'll save a couple of bucks on your order.

Of course, ideally, you'll save more of your hard-earned cash by reducing how often you hit the drive-thru. In the Creighton household, that's something we're still working on.

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