To be perfectly clear when I say "eating on the cheap" I mean "inexpensive". My wife and I eat for cheap, and we have found some terrific places right here in Abilene. The Big Country offers some pretty good deals on food.

Furthermore, when we go out to eat we sometimes share a plate. We are both eating less and some restaurants serve enough food to feed an army. Now if one of our kids joins us, then there's more food we are putting in the doggie bag. By the way, woof, woof, I am that doggie.

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We recently went to Roadhouse where my wife and I shared the steak and chicken dinner plate. Once again, that plate, in my opinion, is a lot of food for one person. A 6oz sirloin and 8oz of chicken with two sides and the bread, we both enjoyed a dinner out for less than $12 each.

Okay, on to my Fave Five places I've found that have delicious foods around the Big Country and are what I call "eating on the cheap".

Larry's Better Burger takes the #1 spot on my list because he's not raised the prices much since he opened in 1952. You can still get four large burgers for $9.00 on their family value deal. If you'd like the smaller burger you can get six small burgers for only $8.50. Of course, the fries are extra - only $1.65. By the way, forget your debit/credit cards and checks; they take cash only.

Another secret about Larry's Better Burgers is the fact that they have some incredible milkshakes. I know this because every time my wife and I go to Larry's we'll order one and share it on the way home. Yes, we have our dessert before we eat our burgers.

The Dixie Pig Hands down, located at 1401 Butternut, and an Abilene landmark since it opened in 1931. The city of Abilene's Landmarks Commission unanimously added the Dixie Pig to the City's historic register. If you have never eaten at the Dixie Pig then you ain't a West Texan. For starters, they're only open until 2 pm Monday through Saturday. They offer two eggs, hashbrowns, biscuits, and gravy for only $5.95, and it's so good you are going to slap yourself for not coming sooner.

The Dixie Pig has been one of my favorite eateries for years, but please be advised that they do not accept checks. They have recently installed a single standalone ATM as they only accept cash.

Farolito's Mexican Restaurant has a lot of great values but the one that gets me every time is their fiesta plate. It comes with a taco (your choice, crispy or soft), an enchilada, a tamale, rice, beans, chips, and salsa, and it only costs $7.95. As one of the longest-standing restaurants in Abilene, Farolito's still has the same great food it did when it opened in 1936.

McDonald's, although the burgers are nowhere near the same caliber as Larry's. The dollar menu brings McDonald's into this list of mine. So, what is on the $1 Menu at McDonald's? For $1, you have your choice of a McChicken, a cheeseburger, any size soft drink, or a sausage burrito. As for the $2 menu, you can get two buttermilk crispy tenders, a bacon McDouble, a small McCafé, and my favorite, the sausage McGriddle. For $3, you can get a sausage McMuffin with egg, a triple cheeseburger, a Happy Meal, or the brand-new Classic.

You pick - Taco BuenoTaco Bell, or Taco Casa. Check that dollar menu. I remember when I moved away to Kansas, I would drive 21 miles on the Kansas Turnpike just to get my Taco Bueno fix.

Cheap eatin', y'all.

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Gallery Credit: Paul Feinstein