Looking to enjoy a meal out without emptying your wallet?
There are plenty of places where you can grab a bite without burning a hole in your pocket.
We’ve curated a list of the best places with ‘cheapest eats’ to dine out on a budget.
- The Most Affordable Dining Options
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Ethnic eateries
- Burger King
- Street Food Vendors
- Chipotle Fast Casual Restaurant
- Chinese Restaurants
- Lunch Specials
- Happy Hours
- Jimmy John’s
- McDonald’s Restaurant
- Olive Garden
- Red Robin
- Taco Bell
- Student Areas
- Farmers’ Markets
- BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) Restaurants
- Final Thoughts
The Most Affordable Dining Options
Eating out can be expensive – but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly meal for the family or just a great deal for yourself, there are plenty of discounts to be had at some of your favorite restaurants:
When looking for a bargain bite, Applebee’s 2 for $20 menu is ideal. The set menu comprises two entrees and one appetizer, all for just $20.
You can enjoy half off select appetizers between 3 and 6 pm and again from 9 pm to close at participating locations; plus the kids’ menu offers meals under $6 while side dishes are often $5 or less.
Buffalo Wild Wings
Take advantage of Buffalo Wild Wings’ Tuesday and Thursday bargain deal; if you purchase wings of the same style, traditional on Tuesday or boneless on Thursday; equal or below in value, you’ll get one free!
Moreover, during certain hours 3 to 6 pm Monday to Friday, drinks and appetizers can be purchased for a mere $3-$6 at participating locations.
Ethnic eateries are like hidden treasures, offering a real taste of different cultures without the travel.
Tucked away from the usual tourist spots, these local joints dish out genuine flavors at friendly prices. It’s a chance to go on a culinary adventure without breaking the bank.
The home of the Whopper is also a great choice for cheap dining; Burger King’s Value menu stocks sandwiches, drinks, fries, and desserts for only $1!
For even better value, pick up their delectable $5 snack box featuring a cheeseburger, eight chicken nuggets, small fries, and a small soft drink.
What’s more, with certain retailers accepting EBT from eligible SNAP recipients those who qualify could find themselves enjoying even cheaper fast food at Burger King!
Don’t forget to check out their app or website for coupons offering discounts or even entire meals free of charge.
Street Food Vendors
There’s something special about grabbing a bite from a food truck or a street stall.
Not only do they whip up some seriously tasty dishes, but they also keep it easy on the pocket. With a range of cuisines on offer, it’s a delicious and affordable way to satisfy those hunger pangs.
Chili’s rewards come with a fabulous offer; if you sign up as a member and buy a regular entree you’ll be rewarded with a free kids’ meal for any diner aged 12 or under.
Additionally, why not try their 3 for Me menu for only $10.99? This deal includes a drink, appetizer, and entree.
Chipotle Fast Casual Restaurant
Chipotle is renowned for its generous meal portions – many believe that dividing one portion into two is feasible – thereby saving money!
Rice is included in all meals alongside your choice of protein which includes beans, meat, and soy protein served up on top of either salad, burrito bowl, tacos, or burrito – whichever floats your boat!
For those who want extra protein, there’s no need to worry as double portions of either chicken or sofritas come with a very little upcharge. Furthermore, vegetarians qualify for guacamole free if they order one of their vegetarian options (non-vegetarians pay only $1.95 extra).
To really make your money go further why not grab some extra tortillas for just 50 cents each? Or sides such as chips and salsa for less than $3?
Dominos Mix & Match Deal is taking the market by storm – offering customers the ability to buy two items from its chosen list for just $6.99 each!
Specially selected items such as medium two-topping pizzas, breadsticks, and wings allow diners to mix n’ match their meal with ease!
Domino’s has also got its eye on even more discounts with its Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza special offer as well as coupons which are emailed to subscribers; so keep an eye out!
Often overlooked, many Chinese restaurants offer traditional Chinese meals and fare well against the many overpriced fast food chains.
While Chinese Restaurants are usually cheaper compared to the other options, their lunch specials further let you get the most bang for your buck.
Most Chinese restaurants also believe money should not become an obstacle to trying exquisite food items. Keeping that in mind, most Chinese restaurants also have “Sushi Nights,” where they offer expensive meals at a chopped-off price!
For a reasonably priced meal, look no further than IHOP. Starting at 3 p.m., participating locations offer discounts on entrees starting at $6, plus menu items on the 55+ and kids menus for under $10 all day. It’s an unbeatable deal for those after a quality meal without breaking the bank.
Lunch specials are a restaurant’s best-kept secret. You get to enjoy some of the best dishes without the usual dinner price tag.
Many places whip up these awesome deals to draw folks in during the afternoon. It could be a tasty combo meal, a big discount on a popular dish, or even a two-for-one deal.
If your neighboring restaurants have happy hours, you’re in for a treat! Happy hours aren’t just about discounted drinks anymore.
Many places now offer special prices on appetizers, small plates, and even main courses during these golden hours
You’ll get even more bang for your buck if you join Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards program. After your first purchase, you can enjoy a free sandwich and be alerted to additional deals that come with the program.
Plus, some stores offer 16-inch French bread loaves for just a few dollars – a great way to save when constructing your own sandwiches at home.
McDonald’s has long been known as an affordable fast food option and continues to run deals like two sandwiches for one price or buy one get one for $1.
But don’t overlook the value menu, where you can get breakfast/lunch/dinner items for $1 to $3. If you want to really stretch your money, try “hacking” the value menu with tricks like adding a hash brown to breakfast sandwiches and making two sandwiches with a McDouble by requesting an extra bun.
Don’t forget about Happy Meals either – you can get a hamburger or chicken nuggets, fries, apple slices and a beverage for less than $5.
Plus, participating McDonald’s locations in RMP states accept EBT from eligible SNAP recipients. If you qualify for and EBT, you should check these EBT hacks to save even more.
At Olive Garden, dine-in meals come with unlimited salad and breadsticks with the purchase of an entree. The Never-Ending Pasta Bowl is also available and lunches start at just $7.99.
If you’re going for takeout instead, combine an entree with one of three classic offerings (Fettuccine alfredo, Five cheese ziti al forno or Spaghetti with meat sauce) for just $6.
A visit to Red Robin doesn’t have to break the bank either – when you purchase an entree you’ll get all-you-can-eat steak fries, kettle chips, sweet potato fries, garlic fries, broccoli or salad.
For even better value, don’t miss the Tavern burgers on the lower-price line or take advantage of happy hour (Monday through Friday between 3-6 p.m.) when appetizers, milkshakes and drinks are half price.
Head to Sonic on Tuesdays after 5 p.m., when cheeseburgers are half-price when ordered online or through the Sonic app.
You can also get half-price drinks or slushies through the same channels, just text DRIVEIN to 876642 to receive texts from Sonic with promotions and deals.
Taco Bell won’t let you down either, there’s a plethora of menu items for under five bucks including the Classic Combo that comes with a taco, burrito plus sides and beverage for five dollars or less (even vegetarian options available).
Also, like other fast food restaurants, there’s also a value menu that covers snacks from $1 to $5 and some locations in RMP states accept EBT from eligible SNAP recipients too.
If you’re near a college or university, you’ve hit a goldmine for budget-friendly dining. The areas surrounding these institutions are teeming with eateries that cater specifically to students.
Why? Because students are always on the lookout for tasty, affordable meals that won’t break their budgets. These spots often offer a mix of local favorites, fast food, and even international cuisines, all priced with a student’s wallet in mind.
When you think of farmers’ markets, fresh produce probably comes to mind first. But many of these markets are also culinary hotspots, with food stalls or vendors that whip up delectable meals and snacks right on the spot.
It’s a chance to savor dishes made from the freshest ingredients, often sourced directly from the surrounding stalls.
From handmade pastries to gourmet sandwiches and artisanal treats, the offerings are diverse and often reflect local flavors and traditions.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) Restaurants
Dining out can sometimes come with a hefty bill, especially when you add alcoholic beverages to the mix. That’s where BYOB restaurants come into play.
These establishments allow patrons to bring their own bottle of wine, beer, or even spirits, eliminating the usual markup you’d find on a restaurant’s drink menu.
It’s a fantastic way to enjoy your favorite drink paired with delicious food without the restaurant price tag.
Cheap eats don’t have to be synonymous with poor quality. With the right research and a bit of effort, you can enjoy delicious food without breaking the bank.
Whether your taste buds are craving something local or something foreign, there are plenty of great restaurants for good cheap eats near you.
So don’t be afraid to try something new and delicious – even if it doesn’t cost a lot. Bon Appetit!
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