Living on a tight budget could mean sacrificing eating out, but it doesn’t have to. If you’re a savvy shopper, you’re sure to find cheap eats that are just as good as some pricey restaurants. Of course, moving into a new apartment in an unfamiliar neighborhood means you don’t have the low-down on great inexpensive eateries.
Here are some ways to find affordable restaurants in your area:
Use Search Sites
Websites like Yelp are a great restaurant-finding resource. You can type in the name of your neighborhood along with the type of cuisine you’d like to eat. It also allows you to filter the search results by price.
Select the cheapest setting (one dollar sign) and browse the restaurants you find. If you’re just looking to see what’s nearby, don’t add a specific type of food to your search terms. Just do “restaurants in” your town.
Read Ratings and Reviews
When you stumble upon some cheap eats that sound good to you, be sure to read the reviews. Other diners have posted their comments about their experience at the establishment, and those notes can be enlightening. Start by checking out the number of stars a restaurant received—the more, the better.
Reviews can tell you a lot about a restaurant that simply scanning search results won’t. For starters, diners might comment on the price of the meal. Choosing the single dollar sign to narrow your search still includes a wide range of prices. People who have eaten at the restaurant will tell you more accurately what their meal cost. Additionally, reviewers will talk about the taste and quality of the food they ate.
Ask for Suggestions
Part of moving to a new neighborhood is meeting people and getting to know the area. You can do both by reaching out to locals to ask for affordable restaurant suggestions. Ask your neighbors, hair stylist, librarian, etc., what their favorite inexpensive eateries are.
You might be surprised how many people are eager to give advice—when you love something, you want others to know about it! Make a note in your phone or on paper whenever someone gives you a dining suggestion, that way you won’t forget about it.
Take a Walk
You can learn a lot about your new neighborhood, including where to find cheap eats, by taking a walk. Hit up the major commercial streets and stop at restaurants that look good. Take time to check out menus and keep an eye on the prices. Some restaurants even post menus on their windows so you don’t have to come inside to look.
Take the Busy Test
One sure-fire way of knowing whether a restaurant is any good is by seeing how busy it is. As you walk around town, make a mental note of which places are packed and which ones look like a ghost town. The delicious and affordable restaurants will always be busy, so gravitate toward the crowds. Once you find a place like this, read the menu to see what the price point is like.