Cheap Eats Near Me: 29 Ways to Save Money Dining Out

Last updated on February 26th, 2024 at 07:23 pm

In this post, you’ll learn how to find cheap eats near me and get a list of 300 cheap restaurants in 3 cities and states. 

Along with that, I will share 29 different ways to save money on dining out to avoid wasting money. 

Like me, if you love to eat out in restaurants then you may be looking for a budget-friendly option. 

But the cost of dining out is much higher as compared with cooking at home. 

The same plate of eggs for breakfast that cost you a few pennies, costs more than $10 at a restaurant. 

Now if your budget is tight due to other necessary expenses then it’s important to search for cheap food near me. 

But how do you find these places?

Let’s dive deeper into the explanation… 

Why is dining out so expensive?

There are multiple reasons why dining out is more expensive than cooking at home:

  1. Overhead costs: Restaurants have many overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, supplies, and labor. These costs can add up and result in higher menu prices.
  2. Food costs: The cost of ingredients, especially fresh produce, and meats, can fluctuate and impact the prices that restaurants charge. Additionally, restaurants may use high-quality ingredients, which can also drive up the cost.
  3. Labor costs: Restaurants have to pay salaries to their employees, including servers, cooks, and dishwashers. The minimum wage in some areas has increased, leading to higher restaurant labor costs.
  4. Profit margin: Restaurants need to make a profit to stay in business. To do so, they may charge more for their menu items. So, you get charged a 300% markup on the food you eat. 
  5. Location: Eating points located in tourist areas or upscale neighborhoods may charge higher prices due to the higher cost of running a business.
  6. Other costs: Like marketing & advertising, insurance, and daily administrative expenses. 

Overall these factors contribute to the cost of dining out, and it can be a reflection of the operating cost of a restaurant and the value it delivers to the customers.

Why do people eat out at restaurants? 

People eat out at restaurants for various reasons, including:

  1. Convenience: Eating out can be a convenient way for people to have a meal without having to cook or clean up.
  2. Variety: Restaurants offer a wide variety of menu options, allowing people to try new foods and cuisines.
  3. Special Occasions: People often choose to eat out at restaurants to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
  4. Socializing: Eating out at restaurants can be a way for people to socialize and spend time with friends and family.
  5. Treating Yourself: For some people, eating out at a restaurant can be a treat or a reward for themselves.
  6. Lack of time: Many people are busy with work and other commitments, and may not have time to cook at home.
  7. Quality of food: Restaurants often have professionally trained chefs who can prepare high-quality dishes that are difficult to replicate at home.
  8. Ambiance: The atmosphere and decor of a restaurant can add to the dining experience and create a special mood for the diners.

How much do Americans spend on dining out?

According to YNAB, Americans spend $300/month or $3600/year on dining out. This accounts for roughly one-third of their total food budget. This amount has increased over the years due to a variety of factors, including a growing restaurant industry, the rise of food delivery services, and changes in consumer behavior.

According to CNBC, on average Americans spend $3,008/ year dining out. 

The cost of dining out can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as income level, household size, and geographic location. For example, households with higher incomes may spend more on dining out and vice versa.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the restaurant industry and how much people are spending on dining out. In the early days of the pandemic, many restaurants were forced to close or switch to takeout and delivery only, which has likely led to a decrease in spending on dining out. However, as the pandemic continues to ease and more restaurants are able to reopen, spending on dining out may increase.

How To Find Cheap Eats Near Me including Restaurants (Zip Code Search)?

To find cheap restaurants near your area using zip code and Google Maps, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Maps on your mobile device or computer.
  2. After “cheap eats” enter your “zip code number” in the search bar.
  3. Click the “Food” category and select “Restaurants.”
  4. Sort the results by “Price” to see the most affordable options first.
  5. You can filter the results further by cuisine type, ratings, and more.
  6. Read reviews and check the restaurant’s menu to make sure it fits your budget and tastes. You can visit their websites to check. 
  7. Once you’ve found a restaurant you like, you can get directions, view photos, and even place an order for takeout or delivery directly from Google Maps.

Using these features, you should be able to find cheap restaurants near your area that fit your needs and budget. It’s a great way to explore new dining options and save money on your next meal.


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Cheap eats near me in Atlanta

Here are the 100 cheap restaurants near me in Atlanta. Here you can inexpensive food with a variety of menus:

HaiBella A Baltimore Crab & Seafood Company
Bao Bun HibachiPatria Cocina
EatsHop Shing
5Church MidtownBreakfast At Barneys
K & K Soul FoodEstrellita
The Hungry PeachIndustry Tavern
No. 246Alma Cocina Buckhead
AmmazzaWest Egg Cafe
BoxcarBlind Willie's
Buena Vida Tapas & SolThe Freakin Incan
BartacoH&F Burger
Aviva By Kameel-AtlantaFlower Child
Cap't Loui Seafood Boil-DecaturRock Steady - Atlanta
Biria El GordoDowon
The Food ShoppeAlici Oyster Bar
Sourth City Kitchen MidtownGrana
Tannour Mediterranean GrillK BBQ Taco
Tiger K CupbobBun Factory
La SemillaRalph's Zucca Pizza
The Breakfast BoyHimalayan Kitchen
Le FatHerb's Rib Shack
BansheeThe Cafe & Bar
KPOT Korean BBQ & Hot PotPollo Primo
Agavero Cantina-AtlantaForza Storico
La Tavola TratttoriaTakorea
Postino BuckheadAziza
Hong Kong CfeWok Chi
True Food Kitchen5Church- Buckhead
Ocean Wave By Harry And SonsFirewall Food Stop
Clutch RestaurantGusto! Peachtree
Old Lady GangMonterrey Mexican Restaurant
Sweet Georgia's Juke JointThe Woodwall
26 Thai Kitchen & BarLittle Bear
JINYA Ramen Bar - BuckheadBig Kahuna
Cooks & SoldiersKobe Steakhouse
Los BravosTio Lucho's
A ManoKwan's Deli And Korean Kitchen
La Fonda LatinaVirgil's Gullah Kitchen & Bar - West Midtown
Urban HaiSouth City Kitchen Buckhead
Farm Burger - Midtown AtlantaThere On Fifth
Papi's Cuban & Caribbean GrillThe Iberian Pig
Tex's TacosGutbuster's
Alma Cocina - DowntownTruva Turkish Kitchen - Highland
El Burro PolloZoong Guk Jib
Casi CieloTamsung Thai Street Eats
Snooze, An A.M EateryThe Garden Room
Gaja Korean BarBuena Gente Cuban Bakery
Lottafrutta - AtlantaHome Grown
KraveKitty Dare

Cheap eats near me in Austin

Here is a list of 100 inexpensive restaurants near me in Austin, where you can get cheap food during your dining-out tour:

Salty SowPlow Burger
Oh K DogSong La
Moonshine Patio Bar & GrillMadam Mam's - Ut West Campus
True Food KitchenStinson's La Fruta Feliz
KorienteAustin Tea Xchange Cafe
Higher GroundSap's Ver Fine Thai Cuisine
Ceviche7Bombay Street Food
Terry Black's BarbecueLa Plancha
Proud MaryNau's Enfield Drug
Snap KitchenWiseguys A Chicago Eatery - Round Rock
Qi AustinSangam Chettinad Indian Cuisine
Xian NoodlesJuan In A Million
Galaxy CafeIntero Restaurant
Chi'lantroThe Oasis On Lake Travis
HopfieldsPhoebe's Diner
Palmermo Pasta HouseFareground At One Eleven
Stella San JacHoney Moon Spirit Lounge
Lucky RobotShore Raw Bar & Grill
Spicy Boys Fried Chicken - East 6thArtipasta
SaffronJulio's Cafe
Austin RotisserieTaco Shack
Yellow Jacket Social ClubGusto Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
It's Italian CucinaTurf N Surf Po' Boy
Irene'sSpicy Boys Fried Chicken - St. Elmo
Quality Seafood Wholesale360 Uno
TacodeliSpread & Co
Jack Allen's KitchenTacodeli
Honest Mary'sMaudie's Cafe
Mima's KitchenCuantos Tacos
Mai Thai RestaurantJester King Brewery
PinchAustin Diner
Garbo'sCulinary Dropout
Las TrancasSwedish Hill
Bombay DhabaJewboy Burgers
Vixen's WeddingMary's Cafe
Bobcat QuickieHestia
Noth StreetHopdoddy Burger Bar
The Common InterestShan China Bistro And Bar
Eldorado CafeThe Omelettry
The JackalopeMad Greens - South Austin
PapaerboyWok N Express
Taco Casa HuttoBaby Acapulco
Hawaiia Bros Island GrillVia 313 Pizza
Texican Cafe - LakelineBird Bird Biscuit
The Hidout CoffeehouseTexas Expresso
Ramen Tatsu- YaMango Tango Asian Restaurant
Filipino Asian MartEureka!
Las Palomas Restaurant & BarBikkle Jamaican Restaurant
The HiveMix't Caribbean Blends
Taqueria Los Altos

Cheap eats near me in Chicago

Here is a list of 100 cheap restaurants near me in Chicago to get affordable food:

Aloha WagonEdgewater Tacos
Safehouse ChicagoZacatacos
The Hampton Social - StreetervilleChicken Works & Salad Company
Cafe RosaCulaccino
Han Mi JeongFreddy’s Pizza
Machetes Big QuesadillasRodeo Burgers And Chicken
The LoyalistDai Yee’s Asian Kitchen
Taqueria Los GallosLittle Pops Ny Pizzeria
GordillasLa Parra Restaurant & Bar
Tiba Restaurant ChicagoMac’s Restaurant
The Soul Food LoungeAl Bawadi Grill
Poke BurritoLonesome Rose
Lazy Dog Restaurant & BarHeadquarters Beercade River North
Soju BbqGrape Leaves Restaurant
Sofi RestaurantBack Of The Yards Coffeehouse
Cafe El MesonThe Momo World
Lavergne’s TavernSgd Dubu So Gong Dong Tofu & Korean Bbq
Josie’s DumplingsMogadishu Restaurant
Del SeoulEl Llano Restaurant - Northcenter
Chop Suey CityCarnitas Uruapan
The DearbornPenumbra
Karolinka ClubGorditas La Tia Susy
Sora TemakeriaSoul Vegan
Guapo TacoBirrieria Zaragoza
The Whale ChicagoKie-Gol-Lanee
Royal Highness ZhuLand & Lake Andersonville
Smakosz RestaurantYummy Yummy Noodles
14 Parish Restaurant And RhuDon Pedro Carnitas
Sushi + Rotary Sushi Bar - ChinatownThe Warbler
Ciao Ragazzi Restaurant & BarChew On This Co.
JianZaytune Mediterranean Grill
Mccook Bohemian Restaurant & LoungeEn Hakkore 2.0
Scratch Kitchen And LoungeD Chile
El Taco Feliz TaqueriaWake-N-Bakery
Cuzzos Pasta Pizza & PaniniPasta To Go
Giordano’sMak’s House La Grange
Yolanda’s RestaurantKyuramen - Downtown Chicago
The Red Lion PubBrasas
Qiao Lin HotpotOutdoor Grill
Khepri CafePupuseria Restaurant Cuscatleco
Logan 11 Bar And KitchenYatai Asian Street Food
Wonder ChopSmall Cheval- Wicker Park
El Taco AztecaPatino’s Grill
Bina’s PlaceMima’s Taste Of Cuba
Three HappinessSalt Burgers + Fries
Crab King Cajun Boil & BarGo 4 Food
Yassa African Restaurant
Menya Goku By Ramen Wasabi

29 Ways to save money eating out

Here are 29 ways to save money when eating at restaurants in America:

1. Look for deals and promotions

Many restaurants offer discounts and promotions, such as happy hour specials, early bird discounts, and daily deals.

2. Share a meal

Restaurants often serve portions that are larger than a single serving, so consider sharing a meal with a friend or family member.

3. Use coupons

Some restaurants offer coupons and discounts, which can be found online, in the mail, or through apps.

4. Order tap water instead of bottled water

Bottled water can add up quickly, especially if you’re dining out regularly.

5. Order off the appetizer menu

Appetizers can often be just as satisfying as entrees, and they’re usually less expensive.

6. Eat during off-peak hours

Many restaurants offer discounts during slow times, such as for lunch or early dinner.

7. Order food for takeout

Dining in can often be more expensive than ordering food for takeout or delivery.

8. Look for daily specials

Many restaurants offer daily specials that can be a great deal. This helps their chefs analyze how the customers react to new dishes and ideas. In daily specials, the food amount is fixed but the price is reduced while no written print version instead waiters verbally tell the customer. 

9. Consider cooking at home

Cooking at home can often be much less expensive than eating at a restaurant. Eating at restaurants is 5 times more expensive than cooking at home. 

10. Take advantage of loyalty programs

Some restaurants offer loyalty programs, which can provide discounts, rewards, and other benefits. You can check them online on their websites. 

11. Order half portions

Some restaurants offer half portions of certain menu items, which can be a good way to save money.

12. Avoid ordering drinks

Drinks, especially alcohol, can be expensive, so consider drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages.

13. Ask about substitutions

Restaurants may be willing to substitute certain ingredients or sides to save you money.

14. Use restaurant week

Many cities have restaurant week, where participating restaurants offer special menus at a discounted price.

15. Avoid eating out on weekends

Weekend meals are often more expensive than weekday meals. Because these are the busiest days due to off-work. 

16. Skip the bread basket

The basket can add up quickly, especially if you’re dining out regularly.

17. Order family-style

Family-style meals are often less expensive than ordering individual portions.

18. Look for kid’s menus

Some restaurants offer kid’s menus, which can be a great deal for families.

19. Use food delivery services

Food delivery services can be less expensive than dining in, especially if you take advantage of deals and promotions. 

20. Consider vegetarian options

Vegetarian options are often less expensive than meat-based options.

21. Use group-buying services

Group-buying services like Groupon can offer discounts on dining experiences.

22. Avoid dining out during holidays and special events

Holidays and special events, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, can often result in higher prices.

23. Order a smaller entree

Ordering a smaller entree or salad can be less expensive than a full-sized meal.

24. Look for “happy hour” specials

Many restaurants offer food and drink specials during happy hour. During these hours the food and drinks are given at lower prices than other busy hours. 

25. Take advantage of combo meals

Some restaurants offer combo meals, which can provide a full meal at a discounted price.

26. Use rewards programs

Some restaurants offer rewards programs where customers can earn points for each purchase, which can be redeemed for discounts or other rewards.

27. Take advantage of early bird specials

Some restaurants offer early bird specials, which are discounted meals available during certain hours.

28. Consider splitting entrees

Restaurants often serve portions that are larger than a single serving, so you can split them into half between two people or pack half of the meal to eat at home.

29. Keep a budget

Set aside a certain amount of money each month for dining out in your monthly budget. This helps you ensure that you don’t overspend on eating out.


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Who has a $1 menu?

There are several fast food chains in America that offer menu items for $1 or less. Some examples include:

  1. Taco Bell: They have a “$1 Cravings” menu with items like tacos, burritos, and nachos.
  2. McDonald’s: They offer menu items like McChicken sandwiches and small orders of french fries for $1 or less.
  3. Subway: They offer $5 footlong subs, as well as other menu items for $1 or less.
  4. Burger King: They have a “$1 menu” with items like small orders of french fries, soft drinks, and apple pies.
  5. Dunkin’ Donuts: They offer donuts for $1 or less, as well as other menu items like breakfast sandwiches and coffee.

These restaurants may vary in availability based on location and franchise ownership, so it’s best to check with your local restaurant for specific menu options and pricing.

Where can I get a lot of food for $5?

Here is a list of 50 fast-food and casual dining restaurants in America that offer menu items for $5 or less:

  1. McDonald’s
  2. Taco Bell
  3. Subway
  4. Burger King
  5. Dunkin’ Donuts
  6. KFC
  7. Jack in the Box
  8. Wendy’s
  9. Arby’s
  10. Hardee’s
  11. Popeyes
  12. Dairy Queen
  13. Little Caesars
  14. Chick-fil-A
  15. Papa John’s
  16. Domino’s
  17. Pizza Hut
  18. Jimmy John’s
  19. Carl’s Jr.
  20. Five Guys
  21. In-N-Out Burger
  22. Moe’s Southwest Grill
  23. Quiznos
  24. Boston Market
  25. Buffalo Wild Wings
  26. Sonic Drive-In
  27. Church’s Chicken
  28. Krystal
  29. Long John Silver’s
  30. Culver’s
  31. White Castle
  32. Whataburger
  33. A&W Restaurants
  34. Bojangles’
  35. El Pollo Loco
  36. Hard Rock Cafe
  37. Checkers
  38. Rally’s
  39. Del Taco
  40. Denny’s
  41. IHOP
  42. Applebee’s
  43. TGI Friday’s
  44. Red Lobster
  45. Olive Garden
  46. Outback Steakhouse
  47. Chili’s
  48. Buffalo Wild Wings
  49. Friendly’s
  50. P.F. Chang’s

These are just a few examples, and there are many other restaurants that offer menu items for $5 or less as well. The menu prices may change every week so check them before visiting a specific eating point. 

What are the 50 restaurants to get the most food for $10?

Here is a list of 50 popular restaurants in America where you can find food for $10 or less:

  1. Subway
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Taco Bell
  4. KFC
  5. Chipotle
  6. Pizza Hut
  7. Dominos
  8. Little Caesars
  9. Jimmy John’s
  10. Wendy’s
  11. Arby’s
  12. Dairy Queen
  13. Hardee’s
  14. Jack in the Box
  15. Long John Silver’s
  16. Popeyes
  17. Sonic Drive-In
  18. Whataburger
  19. White Castle
  20. Bojangles
  21. Buffalo Wild Wings
  22. Church’s Chicken
  23. Del Taco
  24. El Pollo Loco
  25. Five Guys
  26. In-N-Out Burger
  27. Kopp’s Frozen Custard
  28. Krystal
  29. Marco’s Pizza
  30. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs
  31. Noodles & Company
  32. Panda Express
  33. Panera Bread
  34. Raising Cane’s
  35. Shake Shack
  36. Steak ‘n Shake
  37. Subway
  38. The Habit Burger Grill
  39. Tim Hortons
  40. Zaxby’s
  41. Subway
  42. Boston Market
  43. Pita Pit
  44. Quiznos
  45. Culver’s
  46. Papa John’s
  47. Moe’s Southwest Grill
  48. Firehouse Subs
  49. Subway
  50. Portillo’s Hot Dogs.

Keep in mind that prices and menu offerings may vary by location and can change over time, so it is always a good idea to check with a specific restaurant for the most accurate information.

Is eating out a waste of money?

Whether eating out is a waste of money depends on individual circumstances and personal preferences. For some people, eating out is a treat or a convenient option for busy days, while for others it may be too expensive or a poor value compared to cooking at home.

Here are a few factors that can affect the cost of eating out:

  1. Price of food: Restaurants typically have higher prices for food and drinks than what you would pay for the same items at a grocery store.
  2. Portion sizes: Portions at restaurants can be larger than what you would typically eat at home, leading to waste and higher calorie intake.
  3. Hidden costs: Eating out often comes with additional costs such as tips, taxes, and parking fees.
  4. Inefficiency: Cooking at home can be more efficient, as you can make larger portions and have leftovers for later.
Here is what the expert says:

Financial expert Dave Ramsey generally encourages people to minimize their spending on dining out in order to save money and reach financial goals. He believes that eating out can be a waste of money because restaurants typically charge higher prices for food than what you would pay for the same items at a grocery store. 

He also advocates for cooking at home and meal planning as a way to save money, control portions, and make healthier food choices.

However, he also acknowledges that there can be benefits to eating out, such as convenience, socialization, and the enjoyment of trying new foods. He encourages people to make informed decisions about their spending, balancing the benefits of eating out with their budget and financial goals.

Overall, eating out can be a waste of money if it becomes a habit and you’re not careful with portion sizes and added costs. However, if you eat out occasionally and within your budget, it can be a treat and an enjoyable part of life.

What are the restaurants that offer free meals on birthdays?

Here are 50 restaurants in America that offer free meals for birthdays:

  1. Applebee’s
  2. Arby’s
  3. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
  4. Black Angus Steakhouse
  5. Bob Evans
  6. Boston Market
  7. Buffalo Wild Wings
  8. BurgerFi
  9. California Pizza Kitchen
  10. Carrabba’s Italian Grill
  11. Chili’s
  12. Claim Jumper
  13. Cracker Barrel
  14. Denny’s
  15. Dunkin’ Donuts
  16. Firehouse Subs
  17. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
  18. Fuddruckers
  19. Golden Corral
  20. IHOP
  21. Joe’s Crab Shack
  22. Johnny Rockets
  23. Krispy Kreme
  24. Longhorn Steakhouse
  25. Maggiano’s Little Italy
  26. Olive Garden
  27. Outback Steakhouse
  28. Panera Bread
  29. P.F. Chang’s
  30. Red Robin
  31. Red Lobster
  32. Ruby Tuesday
  33. Sizzler
  34. Sonny’s BBQ
  35. Starbucks
  36. Subway
  37. Sweet Tomatoes
  38. T.G.I. Friday’s
  39. Texas Roadhouse
  40. The Habit Burger Grill
  41. The Melting Pot
  42. UNO Pizzeria & Grill
  43. Village Inn
  44. Waffle House
  45. Whataburger
  46. White Castle
  47. Yard House
  48. Yogurtland
  49. Zaxby’s
  50. Zoe’s Kitchen

Please note that the availability and terms of these offers may vary by location and may change over time, so it’s always a good idea to check with the restaurant directly before visiting.


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So I think you’re now clear on how to find cheap eats near me. 

And you see the list of 1600 restaurants in different places and cities to eat cheap food. 

But remember that cooking at home is 5 times less costly than eating out. So if your income is low and you want to stay on a budget then try to avoid eating out frequently.

The best way is to keep a launch box with yourself to do lunch at the workplace. It’s not only healthy but also saves you money. 

Now it’s your turn to keep in mind the different savings strategies explained above to save on eating out and cut down on your expenses. 

If you find this post informational then share it with your social friends to spread the good words.

Ahmad Ali