The ‘Burgh on a $50 Budget

With all of the money going out of our accounts this month, I wanted to challenge myself to a day in Pittsburgh under $50.

by Carly Luitgaarden
December 8, 2021

The holiday season is here and for a lot of us, that means spending more than usual. From buying gifts for our loved ones, to hosting and attending holiday parties, the cost of the season can add up. With all of the money going out of our accounts this month, I wanted to challenge myself to a day in Pittsburgh under $50. This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with some fun activities and things to do! Follow along to see how I managed to have the best day in the ‘burgh on a budget! 

The morning

I started my day with a coffee and chocolate mele from my favorite Pittsburgh coffee shop in the Strip District, La Prima. It was a Sunday, so I got to park in the Strip for free, which was a great start to my day and helped me save a few dollars. My delicious latte and pastry came to a total of $9 including the tip.

Photo of La Prima Coffee, Carly Luitgaarden

I took my coffee and snack and wandered around the Strip District for a while. The streets were decorated for Christmas which added to the magic! There are many local shops where you can find unique holiday gifts for your friends, family, and pets. A few of my favorite stores in the Strip are Haute, Haute, Haute, Roxanne’s Dried Flowers, and In The Kitchen. Buying gifts from local shops is a great way to support small businesses while finding the perfect gift for the special people in your life. After meandering the streets of the strip for a while, I made my way down to Wholey’s where I got sushi. I went with a California Roll that was $5.95.

Midday

After lunch, I headed over to Market Square to see the Holiday Market at Market Square and the Rink at PPG Place. It was a captivating experience to walk around the market and see so many different vendors selling their treasures. I took my two dogs with me for this little adventure and they enjoyed meeting people and smelling all of the food! My favorite part of the market was seeing all of the hustle and bustle of lively people shopping for unique Christmas gifts. I stumbled upon several wonderful finds and had the pleasure of enjoying a choir singing Christmas carols. A few of my favorite booths at the market were Pittsburgh Pottery, Keystone Steel Co. and Love Pittsburgh. At the market, I purchased a few Pittsburgh sticker sheets and a postcard. My total at the Holiday Market came to $7.49.

Evening

For dinner, I made my way over to Lawrenceville to find somewhere fun to eat. Although I had planned to try a new restaurant for the evening, I am a creature of habit and decided on one of my favorite places, Condado. I ordered the chips and dip trio with queso, guacamole and salsa. I ate my chips while deciding what to order. I landed on two tacos: The Heater and Braised & Confused. Both tacos were delicious! My total for dinner came to $26.40 including the tip.

My total for the day came to $48.84. I was just under budget for the day! Although I had a couple of dollars left to try and find a dessert, I was way too full from all of the food I consumed. I had a wonderful day enjoying Christmas in Pittsburgh. The decorations all around the city made every corner fun and exciting. I felt as though I got every penny worth of my $50 budget and memories that will last a lifetime.

Carly has lived in the Pittsburgh area all of her life and is the owner of flawlessdarling.com, a fashion and lifestyle blog that gives trend inspiration on a budget. She graduated from with her master’s degree in communications and has a passion for writing. Some of Carly’s favorite things to do include shopping at local boutiques, DIY crafts and projects, and going on adventures with her Newfoundland, Samson.