If you have ever done the tiniest bit of research on Maldives you would know the only thing you can get cheap is 'The Tickets' to Maldives. You can either choose to stay at Resort Islands or Guest House at local islands.
Resort Islands are meant only for tourists.Locals are not allowed on these islands. Staying in a Resort is expensive and reaching to resort additional expenditure. While a speed boat to resort varies between 100-150 USD pp, sea plane costs minimum 250 USD pp.
Staying at local islands gives you chance know the culture,food, language, interact with locals who are welcoming and greet you with big warm smiles.
So here how we did it - we traveled local!!