Let's face it, living in Los Angeles is expensive. From the rising home prices to the endless amounts of fancy (and expensive) restaurants opening, it's hard to keep up. If you're living on a tight budget, check out these 25 places to eat in LA when your wallet is less forgiving.

1. Popeye's

I know Popeye's can be found throughout the country, but they have such a steal on Tuesdays that I took advantage of when I was attending school at USC. On Tuesdays, they have a leg and thigh for only $1.49! Since that's so cheap, might as well pick another set up for dinner.  

But if you really want to stretch your dollar, then eat one piece for lunch and the other for dinner. Talk about a great start for one of the places to eat in LA. 

2. Diddy Riese

Snack or dessert counts as meals right? If so, I will take a boatload of Diddy Riese's ice cream sandwiches, please. If you haven't heard of Diddy Riese by now, then get on the bandwagon because this Westwood joint serves up some freshly baked cookies with Dryer's ice cream in the middle for only $2. Ditch the ice cream and get a Diddy Dozen for only $4.50. It's an LA staple.

3. In-N-Out

Ah yes, a California classic. Whether it be late night In-N-Out runs or a lunch time meal, you can't go wrong with the cheap prices for quality ingredients. The burgers and fries hover around the $2 range. A drink would cost you around the same. To get the most bang for your buck, make sure to ask for extra of everything on your burger. You'll thank me later.

4. Tito's Tacos

Tito's Tacos is a Culver City classic that I can't get enough of. Their tacos start at $2.15 and if you want to add cheese, they will be at $2.85. However, the main stars in my opinion are the chips and salsa. Fresh chips start at $1.25 for a small and the same goes with a small tub of the highly addictive salsa. 

5. Philippe The Original 

A Chinatown classic, Philippe's has been dishing out some of the best sandwiches since 1908. Besides the soup and breakfast items, their French dip sandwiches are the items that keeps people coming back. Depending on what kind of dip you get, be prepared to spend around $8. Again, if you want to stretch your dollar, save the other half for another meal.

6. Dino's Chicken and Burgers

Dino's has a few locations throughout LA so if you want to get your fix, there should be a location relatively close to you. What's Dino's famous for? You guessed it—chicken and burgers. The steal is the Char-Broiled Chicken with two sides for about $8. The freshly cut fries are an essential since the fries soak up the chicken juices. Be prepared to eat a hefty meal.

7. Costco

Again, Costco can be found at multiple locations throughout the U.S. but you can't beat Costco's food court prices. They have several options to choose from but I would start off with getting the hot dog or the polish with a soda for $1.50. If you're not feeling that, then you can get two slices of pizza for $1.99.

It's easy to get the food when it's outside but when it's inside of the building and you don't have a Costco membership, you can speak to one of the associates to see if you can just enter to buy your food.

8. Dollar Hits

Dollar Hits provides you with a unique dining experience. You get a sheet and select how many of each item you want. Then, you get your food and heat it on a shared grill. This experience is great for you if you love $1 pork or chicken BBQ skewers or want to mingle with others. Dollar Hits provides some of the cheapest Filipino food in LA, so take advantage before you have to wait in line.

9. PizzaRev

The build-your-own customizable pizza establishments are popping up like hotcakes. You have Blaze, 800 Degrees, Pieology, and now PizzaRev. PizzaRev has a Tuesday special that makes me go back every week.

On Tuesdays, their pies are only $6 versus the $9 regular price. Load up on your veggies and meats and save the half for dinner.

10. The Hat

Another California classic, The Hat has been serving up classic grub since 1951. The Hat is famous for their pastrami dip, which will set you back around $9. If this is a bit too high, don't be alarmed. The sandwich is humongous and filled with tons of meat so it's well worth it once you take a bite.

Going another route, their chili cheese fries, which is around $6, is also large so bring your friends to help you finish the massive tray. The Hat is one of the places to eat in LA that brings back old memories from the decor to the culture.

11. Hakata Shin-Sen-Gumi

Ah, ramen. You never let me down. A good bowl of ramen is essential when it's cold out and Hakata Shin-Sen-Gumi has you covered. A basic bowl of ramen starts out at $6.95 and additional toppings start at $1 so be careful and don't go too crazy on the toppings before you will be spending over your budget.

Here, you can also choose the firmness and amount of salt on your ramen, which is what sets Hakata apart from the other ramen joints in Little Tokyo.  

12. Dirt Dog

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "LA Dog"? A bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with grilled onions and bell peppers? You got that right! Dirt Dog takes the LA Dog to another level with The House Dog, which consists of a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with grilled onions and bell peppers, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and bacon bits in your choice of bun for around $6.  

13. Rubio's 

Back in the day on Tuesdays, fish tacos from Rubio's used to only cost $1 but now, it costs $1.75 (which is still a bargain). If you haven't heard of Rubio's, it's a California based, fast casual chain that features "Fresh Mex" or "New Mex" food. From burritos to salads, Rubio's has it all but their fish tacos are what made them famous so make sure to stop by on Tuesdays after 2:30 pm to try them.

14. Porto's

Two things always make me happy: Wingstop and Porto's. Porto's is a Cuban bakery that has been in business of keeping customers satisfied since 1960. If you go to Porto's, get the cheese rolls. They're the best thing ever and only $0.80 a piece.

Other baked goods start around that price too, so your dollar will go far here. If you want lunch, get one of their sandwiches. A favorite is the Cuban sandwich, which is $6. Did I mention that it comes with fried banana chips? Head on over to one of my go-to places to eat in LA.  

15. Tommy's

Tommy's is another California classic spot that serves up some of the finest chili burgers in the land. All of the entrees at Tommy's are served with the house-made chili that is also ace on the fries.

I recently went to Tommy's and ordered a hamburger and fries and spent only $5 and some change. You can also get some of the chili to go when you order a tub at the register. A bucket list visit would be to the original Tommy's so it's a check on one of the places to eat in LA. 

16. Pink's

Keeping up with the trend of California classics, Pink's on La Brea in Fairfax easily checks the box. The first time I went to Pink's I stood in line for quite some time but once I took a bite out of the hot dog and onion rings, I was satisfied. Pink's specializes in hot dogs with toppings galore. A fool-proof meal would be a chili dog at $4.40, fries at $2.95, and an Orange Crush at $2.10, which would be around $10.  

17. Del Taco

Again, Del Taco can be found throughout the U.S. but don't underestimate the deals that they have. First, if you sign up for their EClub, you automatically get two FREE grilled chicken tacos and a free shake on your birthday. Also, on Tuesdays, they have three tacos for only $1.29 between 3-11 PM. Lastly, while most dollar menus keep changing, Del Taco has it solid with the Buck and Under Menu.

18. Banh Mi My Tho

A little out of the LA area, Banh Mi My Tho is a must-visit if you're ever in the SGV area. A small, hole-in-the-wall joint that only takes to-go orders, Banh Mi My Tho specializes in (you guessed it) banh mi starting at $3.60. If you want to get fancy, order a broken rice plate starting at $5.60. Make sure to leave your cards at home since this place is cash only.

19. Cook's Tortas

Another SGV staple, Cook's Tortas serves some of the best tortas that I have tasted. They have this really large menu with all of their tortas that may have you scratching your head in deciding on what to order since they all sound so good.

All of their tortas come with one side and mind you, the tortas are filled with tons of meat that will keep you full until dinner. For $9, your lunch and dinner plans are already set. You're welcome.

20. LA Cafe

I first heard of LA Cafe when I attended an event at school that had served food from LA Cafe and once I tried it, I was hooked that I had to visit myself. Their Pesto Chicken Panini ($8.99) is served with their interesting but praise-worthy buzz chips. The portions are filling no matter what you get. I also highly recommend any of their salads, which start at $7.99. Easily one of my go to places to eat in LA. 

21. Roscoe's 

Remember that scene in Rush Hour when the two ladies ask Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker where Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles is? That's the first time I heard of Roscoe's and it was not only until two years ago that I got my hands on the famous chicken.

A cheap combo would be two thighs, red beans & rice, and corn bread for around $8 but if you just want chicken, then you can order them a la carte starting at $2.30. Roscoe's is a legendary LA spot.

22. Tacos Tumbras a Tomas

Among the hustle and bustle of the many eateries at Grand Central Market, there lies this small spot with a long line called Tacos Tumbras a Tomas. A taco costs $3.50 with your choice of meat and they don't skimp on portions at this place. The tacos are heavy and they even give you extra tortillas on the side so you can make yourself three tacos with the massive serving they give you.  

I recommend either the birria (goat) or the carnitas. Every time when I am in LA, I try to find time to pass by this spot as one of the places to eat in LA. 

23. Zankou Chicken

Garlic sauce. Ring a bell?  Zankou Chicken has been dishing out fresh Mediterranean food for 50 years and counting. At Zankou, you bet you'll find kabobs, shawerma, and salads. All of the items at Zankou are pretty affordable but the item that I used to eat all the time as a kid was the half rotisserie chicken meal for $7.99, which comes with garlic sauce and fresh pita bread. I didn't eat the whole thing—my family shared it.  

24. Bay Cities Italian Deli

Sure you can go to Subway and get a $3.50 6 inch sub of the day or you can go to Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica and get the famous Godmother sandwich. Starting at $6.50 for a small size, you get prosciutto, ham, capicola, genoa salami, mortadella, and provolone cheese AKA an Italian sandwich. Get some mild or hot peppers if you must and be prepared to get a number and wait for your turn or shop around for some Italian goodies. 

25. The Apple Pan

Located in West Los Angeles, The Apple Pan has been in business since 1947 and has been bounced around amongst top burger lists in LA. It's a small place with a U-shaped counter in the midst of the area where your burgers are cooked. A Steakburger or a Hickoryburger costs $7 and will have you feeling satisfied throughout the day. Feeling a little extra? Get a slice of apple pie served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for $6 to share or eat for yourself.

There you have it: 25 places to eat in LA when you're flat out broke.