11 ways to get more bang for your buck at Chipotle (plus free guacamole!)

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11 ways to get more bang for your buck at Chipotle (plus free guacamole!)
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After being rocked by a second straight year of food-safety concerns in 2017, Chipotle hasn’t been feeling the love from a lot of customers.

But I’ve officially put the beleaguered restaurant back on my family’s dining list.

As a restaurant that’s peanut-free, Chipotle Mexican Grill has once again become a go-to stop for my children — one of whom has a life-threatening peanut allergy. It’s conveniently located when we’re on the go during the weekend and the kids love it.

Last week saw the final phase of a planned round of price increases that were first announced in April 2017 go into effect. But with the tips below, you can still save money at Chipotle!

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How to save money at Chipotle

Know the secret way to get free guacamole

I’ve become so accustomed to saying “no” to the guacamole at places like Chipotle and Moe’s Southwest Grill because, while I like the taste, I’m not willing to pay extra for it when dining out.

But now that I’ve become something of a regular at my local Chipotle during the past couple weeks, the cashier let me in on a little secret: Guacamole is free with your meal, provided you skip the meat and go vegetarian.

So that means anytime you top your bowl, burrito, salad or taco with only beans and rice, you won’t be charged when you add guacamole to your order — either on the meal itself or on the side.

Follow the rule of 3s

The cashier also told me that if you plan on ordering more than one taco, you should never order just two. Make it an order of three instead.

While prices vary by location, a single taco at my local Chipotle is $2.50. But when you order three, the unit price drops down to roughly $2.28 per taco.

There’s a button the cashier can hit at checkout that automatically gives you the bulk pricing instead of the individual price when you order at least three tacos.

chipotle receipt

The receipt above shows an order of three tacos at one flat rate. Let’s say that you were to order those three tacos separately. You’d wind up paying $7.50 plus tax ($2.50 per taco x 3) at my local store!

But by following the rule of 3s, I paid only $6.85 before tax for three tacos. That works out to be $2.28 per taco.

Buy discounted gift cards for Chipotle

Here’s a trick that applies to pretty much any restaurant or retailer that offers gift cards!

Sites like CardPool.com and GiftCardGranny.com facilitate the resale of previously owned gift card at a discount from their face value. The sellers are people who were given the cards as a gift but don’t want them.

At the time of this writing, you can get up to 6% off the face value when you buy a previously owned Chipotle gift card at GiftCardGranny. That means a $50 gift card will cost you only $47!

The cards are typically guaranteed to work for up to 180 days after purchase, though be sure to double-check the policy carefully before buying.

Skip the soda and stick with water

Sure, you’ll often get a smaller cup when you’re not ordering a soda, but tap water is free from the soda machine. Prices vary by location, but you can generally save a buck or two when you skip the soda and stick with water!

Consider going vegetarian for a meal

Like at just about every other restaurant, Chipotle makes the vegetarian option of any meal cheaper than the meat version.

So you can save about half a buck to $1 by sticking with just plain old beans and rice.

That’s the reason I often opt for a vegetarian meal when I’m eating out even though I’m not a vegetarian.

(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Subscribe to Chipotle’s mobile list for offers

Surrendering your digits online in the footer at Chipotle.com will register you for some sweet updates and offers via text. Be on the lookout for BOGO burrito offers!

Keep your eyes open for one-off deals online

Chipotle is known to run a variety of money-saving promotions throughout the year.

During the holidays, they ran a now-expired “Wear a cheesy sweater to get free queso with entrée purchase” offer for one-day only. And in October, they offered free chips and queso with an entrée purchase in a deal that has since expired.

Keep up with all the latest Chipotle promotions at ClarkDeals.com.

Additional price hacks for Chipotle lovers

Apartment List writer Dylan Grosz did a deep dive on how to maximize the size of your meal. Here’s his list of Chipotle hacks:

  •     Ordering a bowl with a tortilla on the side gets you 15% more food than a burrito alone
  •     Ordering half chicken/half steak increases your meat allotment by 54% for the same price
  •     Ordering both types of rice and beans gives you 90% more of each
  •     When you order a burrito bowl, you can generally get three tacos or one flour tortilla shell for free

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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