Cheap Food, to some it means, "I have one dollar, what can I buy?" To still others it means, "If I buy something, will I get a good value for my money?" We'll look at both questions below (Also see Lunch Specials). In addition, see Discounts and Freebies, Restaurants Without Automatic Gratuity, Living Cheaply, Potluck, and Recipes for cheap homemade options.
Zero dollars (aka Free)
See Free Food
1¢ to 99¢
- Chipotle - Rice filled burritos are $0.70 (recently increased from $0.59).
- Del Taco - 99¢ Chicken soft tacos. EVERY Tuesday night from 3-11pm, buy 3 regular (crispy or soft) tacos for only 99¢
- Dollar Stores - Often expired, but heavily discounted, yogurt. Many of these in Sacramento.
- Dollar Tree - Everything's just a dollar! Plus tax. Mondos cost $1.24 including tax because of California plastic taxes. Also check out the refrigerated and frozen section in the back.
- Donuts - you can almost always get a bunch of donut holes on the cheap for under a buck! Nutrition?? Bah!! This is America goddammit! We eat what we want.
- Gardening - Cheap, assuming you have the time, land, seeds, tools, and knowledge.
- Jack in the Box - Chicken sandwich or breakfast sandwich for 99¢ — add 37¢ to add on toasted sourdough. Also two tacos for 99¢.
- Kim's Mart - $0.75 for a highly recommended Melon-flavored popsicle. (for those of you with a sweet tooth—and they sometimes have Strawberry or Mango flavors as well)
- Nugget - Like other grocery stores, has cheap ($.69) bagels, fairly high quality. Grab a few free olives from the bar, too. Cup-of-Soups are only $0.38, as well - any college student should be able to live off these. Also at the Chinese food bar an Egg Foo Yung with gravy is only 99¢! It's enough for a meal. Potstickers, though much less filling, are 50¢.
- Supermarkets - Always more for the value than fast food.
Wendy'sDeparted Business - Dine in open till 10pm, drive-through open till 2am. It's all about the 99¢ menu — 99¢ nuggets, 99¢ fries, 99¢ frosties
you get the picture.
- Westlake Market - $.99 House-made French baguettes. Usually, they're coming out hot from 5-7 PM.
- Churro Truck Union_de_Tula - amazing, huge $1 churros and refreshing drinks for both hot and cold seasons. A must for any Woodland taco truck run.
- Davis Creamery - Monday: $1 scoop night 4-10pm, $1 cookies all day.
- Grocery Outlet - The cheapest place around for drinks. 20oz. bottles are 2/$1, and some sodas are 6/$1.
- Jamba Juice - All day on Wednesday Jamba Juice has very yummy steel-cut "Irish" oatmeal with toppings for $1 during some months
- Village Bakery - After 2pm all muffins, scones, and croissants are $1 .
$1.01 to $2.50
- Chipotle - You can order the tacos individually, $1.99 each. If you ask for extra tomato & corn salsa, it ends up being a very filling - and tasty- $2. Add the $.55 side of rice from above and you're golden.
- Crepeville House Potatoes - $2.25 A generous serving of house potatoes, more than enough for a meal.
- Davis Creamery - Tuesday is $2 Cowpie (a very big ice cream cookie sandwich)
- El Paisano Taco Truck - best Mexican food around Davis. $1.25 tacos and horchata all the time (that includes tax)
- Grocery Stores - Just eat some TV dinners. Various brands give you a full - if not huge - meal for sub-$2.00, and pot pies range from $0.89 to maybe three dollars. You can also get them at CVS.
- Guadalajara's Breakfast Specials - $1.99 breakfast burrito ($1 for each extra burrito!), includes rice, beans, and they put any of their meats into their burritos. Includes a drink (soda or coffee).
- In-N-Out - Anything at In-N-Out. ($1.29 to $3-ish). Try ordering from the In-N-Out Secret Menu — it makes you feel like you're getting added value. If you order your fries "Extra Crispy", they tend to give you a larger serving.
- International Food Market - Gigantic, delicious samosas for $1.49 each. They make for a substantial snack or even a meal if you eat more than one.
- La Kora -Taco truck in Woodland featuring homemade corn tortillas.
- Rite Aid - Home of Thrifty Ice Cream - always $1.20 for a single scoop in a cup or on a cone. It's watery.
- Most fast food restaurants have some kind of value menu
$2.50 and up, i.e., lots of food for meager amounts
- Davis Noodle City - For $4.95 you can get a big plate of cold noodles and veggies drenched in delicious sesame sauce.
- El Mariachi's Tortilla Soup - $2.75 It tastes excellent and isn't small. Also, for a small extra charge, any meat of your choice can be added to make for a larger meal.
- Farmer's Kitchen Cafe Organic Guatemalan Black Bean Soup Small 3.50 (to go is 2.50) Large 4.95 (to go is 4.25).
- Guadalajara The 3-foot super giant burrito is enough to feed a normal human for a few days. Even a run-of-the-mill large burrito should hold you for a couple of meals.
- Hunan's Lunch Specials - Don't call it authentic, but call it a good deal. Lunch specials start at $4.25 for rice (fried or steamed), pan fried noodles, hot tea, a cream cheese wanton, your choice of meat or veggie entree, and really lemony ice-water. -jr 10% off for all food to go.
- Kim's Mart 18 piece kim bap (Korean sushi roll) is only $2.99. The 21 piece California roll, 21 piece Korean bbq beef roll, 21 piece vegetarian kim bap (avocado instead of imitation crap) or 21 piece tuna salad roll (surprisingly good) is only $3.99.
- Nugget - You can usually pick up a quality pre-made salad here for $1.50 - $4.00; the Caesar Salads are the best bargain.
- Pluto's Small Salad - Only $5.50, fully customizable, and big enough for a meal. Add chicken or flank steak for $1 more. Also, the side dishes are $2 each.
- Taco trucks tend to have inexpensive food
- Safeway - The $5.00 salads are huge, and not bad - the Cobb is especially recommended.
- Shanghai Town - Tan Tan Noodles for $6.50 is delicious and enough food for two meals.
- Sunrise Restaurant - Big (but lightweight) Vietnamese sandwiches for $2.72 (tax included)
- Village Bakery $5.50 lunch special, which includes a big slice of their brick-oven baked pizza (delicious), plus a salad and a drink. Large sourdough and French baguettes for $2.50 each. Many specialty breads $3+.
- Little Caesars Pizza - $5 cheese or pepperoni pizzas all day every day! No need to even order, as long as they are open you can walk out with a Hot-N-Ready pizza in thirty seconds! They also have the Crazy Combo (breadsticks and marinara sauce) for $2.49 and Caesar Wings for $5.
- Ali Baba - The daily specials are $5.50 plus tax, are ready in an instant, and taste very good. Make sure you mix in the yogurt they give you — it's delicious! Also, you can order a half-order of the specials that runs much cheaper and gives you nearly as much food — they give you as much sauce but less rice. One full order is more than enough to feed 2 people.
- Raja's - $6 lunch buffet is the best deal in town for a big appetite. Tasty, healthy food can satisfy eaters of all needs, from carnivores to vegans.
- Swipes for Sale - Where freshman trade cold hard cash for admission to the DCs.
- BigNugg BBQ Co - home of the "Hometown Hero" deli sandwich. $5.00 gets you a deli sandwich with 1/3lb of meat! Not to mention all of the fixins' at no additional charge. Burgers, Tri-Tip and Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and much more all for around $7.00 or less. Large portions with small prices, a must if ever in Dixon. Located inside Hometown Market at 925 North Adams st.
- Costco - Food court: $1 churros, pizza, non fat yougurt, mochas, etc.
- Corti Brothers - The Corti Special sandwich ( $4.99) is the same size as their other sandwiches, but half the price.
Stores generally known for Cheap Food
- 7-Eleven - Cheap junk food, some of which is a little scary. A stoner favorite.
- Costco - Among the lowest prices anywhere for anything, provided you want a large amount. For people with big pantries.
- Dollar Tree - The name says it all.
- Food 4 Less - Food at "warehouse" pricing.
- Grocery Outlet - After Dollar Tree, Grocery Outlet is generally the cheapest place to buy groceries in Davis.
- Quick & Fresh Market(CLOSED) - Owned and operated by the Food Bank of Yolo County, this grocery store offers very low prices, particularly on fresh produce. Although open to the general public, it is meant to be a place where Yolo County residents on the Calfresh and WIC programs can shop without fear of social stigma. Closed in 2012.
- Sam's Club - Similar to Costco, but more focused on the small business (c-stores, hotels, etc.) set.
- Target - Less expensive than Wal-Mart (although popularly thought to be more expensive), and since it's in Davis you also save on gas.
- WinCo - Great for bulk foods and if you're into making stuff from scratch.
- Davis Food Co-Op - Tons of bulk dried food, nuts, seeds, granolas, spices, and more. Just about everything you need, but most of the non-bulk foods are quite expensive.
- Bounty and Savings Local blog teaching you how to get free to cheap food from grocery stores by combining coupon and sales, with tips specific to Davis stores.
- Cheap Cooking — Stretch what you buy from grocery stores.
- Once a month cooking — Save time and money by buying and cooking in bulk.
- The Cheapest Food People give their answers to the cheapest food people can live off of
- Restaurant.com sells massively discounted gift certificates for a number of restaurants in the area. Selection for Davis is limited, but there are a lot of good options within 20 miles or so. They normally sell gift certs like "$25 off, minimum order of $45" for $10, but there are always new coupon codes popping up that dramatically increase the discount. If you google "coupon restaurant.com" you can typically find an extra 60-80% off, netting you a $25 gift certificate for $2-4.