Gone are the days when milk bars sold lolly bags for 5c, ice-cream cost 15c and the buying power of $5 was far-reaching.
With consumer confidence falling during periods of economic uncertainty, those on a tight budget are less inclined to be frivolous in their spending, preferring instead cheaper options, particularly when it comes to eating out.
By giving diners more bang for their buck, restaurateurs are more likely to remain busy and profitable during tough times.
Whether it is dim sum or tapas, the casual and unstructured share plates concept offers a quick and inexpensive way to sample a variety of food.
Clint Nolan, whose dining ventures including Pleased to Meet You and La Cholita are recognised as affordable and fun, said it was important to offer a variety of quality dishes costing less than $10 in his restaurants.
"People are looking for value for money for what they're getting, they don't want to spend a huge amount of money when they go out and they want to try different things," Nolan said.
Forty per cent of the menu at Pleased to Meet You is priced below the $10 mark and includes a duck taco with corn salsa for $7 and ice-cream nachos for $6.
Jus Burgers owner Justin Bell, who dined with The Weekend West food editor Rob Broadfield recently, said his latest "gourmet fast-food" venture - a pintxos (bite-size snacks) bar called Pinchos - had been a hit with people who wanted an approachable, tasty, fun and value-for-money dining option. Half the dishes at his Leederville bar are priced below $5.
"Prices in the single digits on the menu are pretty important to me and the food definitely has to taste good," Bell said.
"The menu at Pinchos starts from $1. The pintxos are $1-$3, the bread $3-$4 and the tapas $5-$9."
Stacey Tran set herself a budget challenge of $5 lunches several weeks ago in an attempt to save money for a holiday.
The 27-year-old said $5 dishes were more common in the suburbs than in the central business district.
Rob Broadfield’s Top 10 dishes under $10
Pig and chook terrine, piccalilli, toast $10
Bill’s Bar and Bites, Leederville Hotel, Leederville
House-made banana bread with walnut butter $7
Bib and Tucker, Leighton beach, North Fremantle
Crispy Busselton whitebait, “Cott tartare” $9
Cott & Co. Fish Bar, Marine Parade, Cottesloe
Crispy fried Chinese prawn toast $8
Five Bar, Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
Wood-grilled corn with mayo, chilli, balsamic $8
Ace Pizza, Beaufort Street, Highgate
Bo Vien (beef ball soup) $9
Viet Hoa, William Street, Northbridge
Fried three-cheese gnocchi $10
Jamie’s Italian, William Street, Perth
Eggplant katsu with vegan wasabi, mayo, Japanese salad $9.70
Kitsch Bar Asia, Oxford Street, Leederville
Squid slider with creamed corn, jalapeño baby cos coleslaw $8.50
Enrique’s School For To Bullfighting, Beaufort Street, Highgate
Fried shrimp with aioli $10
The Old Crow, Newcastle Street, Perth