College times can be tough times, not only academically but also financially. Sure, maybe your life at school includes a meal plan but who honestly wants to eat dorm food? Or worse, vending machine food? I remember "splurging" in college meant a rare visit to Chipotle where I'd inhale a massive burrito only to become more depressed at the dent it made in my wallet.  Don't waste your limited allowance on overpriced chain restaurants or sh*t boxed food. Instead, pop a squat at one of these local eats for a dope meal that won't break your bank. Here are 6 places to eat in St. Petersburg when you're on a college budget:

Willy's Burgers & Booze

Willy's is a local gem. It's one of those places that's still flies way under the tourist radar and offers happy hours that will make you do a double-take. Many people crown Willy's as having the best burger in St. Petersburg and their tater tots are the new French fries. If you're really feeling adventurous, try the deep fried mac-n-cheese grilled cheese sandwich... just make sure you have a DD with you because this bomb sandwich will put right into a food coma. Oh and Mondays, all drinks are $2!

675 Corey Ave., St. Petersburg; Open daily 11am-2am   

Neptune Bar & Grill

Gulfport is nestled in between downtown St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Mexico, right on Boca Ciega Bay. Most people have never even heard of Gulfport, let alone tried any of the top notch restaurants. But if you're in college and broke, this is your place. Neptune's is known for their Greek cuisine (although American fare and seafood are on the menu, too) and you'll be amazed at just how much food you get for your money. Portions are huge, prices are perfect and the hummus is the best you'll find anywhere around.

5501 Shore Blvd., Gulfport; Open Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday/Saturday 11am-10pm and Sundays 11am-7:30pm

The Wharf Restaurant

A great thing about living in Florida is the abundance of fresh seafood from the Gulf. Don't be fooled by the misconception that all seafood is expensive. At the Wharf, nearly the entire menu consists of seafood AND it's affordable! Plop down on a barstool overlooking the intercoastal waterway and get ready to drool over another one of St. Pete's best kept secrets. From peel-n-eat shrimp and creole gumbo, to fresh grouper and fried soft shell crab, the menu is huge and budget-friendly. 

2001 Pass-a-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach; Open daily 11am-11pm

The Chattaway

I'm an adventure junkie and I love restaurants that are holes-in-the-wall or off the beaten path. The Chattaway is just that. Yes, it's located on the "south side" of St. Pete in what may appear to be the shady part of town, but it's totally worth making a pit stop for (if anything, just to see the infamous bathtub planters.) It's here that you'll feel like you're dining in old school Florida, surrounded by lush garden with the smell of juicy burger wafting in the air.

The Chattaway has a menu that's as eclectic as its atmosphere and features items like hush puppies, sloppy Joes and fried catfish but it's the burgers that earned Chattaway its stellar reputation. For just $9, you can get a completely loaded, seven ounce burger with all of the fixings and fries. Just note, this place is CASH ONLY. 

358 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg; Open Monday-Thursday 11am-9:30pm, Friday/Saturday 11am-10pm and Sundays 11am-9:30pm. 

Rollboto Sushi

Want something a little lighter? Check out Rollboto. Described as the "Subway" of sushi, customers can make endless combinations at this modern Japanese-inspired sushi-on-the-go restaurant. Choose from a variety of pre-determined rolls or select your fave ingredients from the long list and stuff them into your own roll of choice!  Die hard sushi fan? There are raw items you can get like salmon, tuna and Yellowtail. You a veg head? Make a roll with tofu, sweet potato fries and pineapple. You can even choose between a traditional nori wrapper or a soy paper wrapper (that's what I get) but don't forget to explore the different sauces, toppings and textures that give you the best ten bites your college budget can can afford. Rolls start at just $4.50! 

221 1st St. NE, St. Petersburg; Open Monday-Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday/Saturday 11am-12am and Sundays 12-9pm

Earth Origins Market

For the longest time, buffets and salad bars sent my germaphobic spidey sense into a tailspin. It wasn't until I worked full time in a restaurant kitchen that I overcame my "issues." But unlike the poorly-portrayed buffets in TV sitcoms, Earth Origins Market has a KILLER buffet/salad bar/soup bar with fresh, healthy food every day of the week. There are tons of toppings for salads including veggies, cheeses and nuts as well as items for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Try the curry shrimp, Teriyaki chicken, eggless "egg" salad or the vegan samosas because rest assured, there's something for every palate, diet and health fanatic. If you don't find what you're looking for on the hot bar, check out the deli with its spicy Szechuan noodles, mock chicken salad, crab cakes and turkey meatloaf. And the best part? EVERYTHING is 10% off EVERY WEDNESDAY! 

6651 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; Open daily 7am-9pm

No matter what your college budget can afford, there are restaurants in St. Petersburg that will leave you feeling satisfied and rich.