There's also lots of camping sites around Stratford, although I don't know much about them!It's hard to find really cheap food in Stratford, as it's a tourist town. However, I've managed to find a few places. Of course, there's a Wetherspoons (on Sheep Street) named The Golden Bee, which has affordable food and drinks and is perhaps one of the cheapest places to eat/drink in Stratford.
Other breakfast spots worth visiting, in my opinion, include The Yard of Ale - this is a little out of the town, perhaps a 25 minute walk up Birmingham. When you pass the Maybird Centre, where you can find lots of shops, a huge Tesco etc, you'll eventually see it on your right. They do breakfasts from £2.95 for a full English, as well as £5 lunches, and the down-to-earth atmosphere is a breath of fresh air after being in the centre of Stratford for too long. Morrisons, just West of the train station, do some cheap breakfasts in their café! Also, if you don't mind a bit of a walk again, The Squirrel does an all-you-can-eat breakfast every Saturday for £3.95 (from 10am-2pm)!
Closer to the centre, Spoonfuls do cooked breakfasts for around £5. Then again, if you're on a real budget, you can grab something from McDonalds (hmm), Greggs, Sainsbury's (all on Bridge Street, right in the centre) or something similar...
Lunch-wise, I'm a big fan of Fresh and Funky on Greenhill Street. They'll make any salad, panini, bagel or baguette you ask for - you're not limited to their already extravagant menu, and it's normally around £3 (most central cafés will charge £5+ for the same thing). There's also a baguette bar called Fresh on the High Street, which seems to have a similar menu and pricing - but is a bit busier due to its location.
Another lunchtime favourite of mine is The Courtyard Café, located in The Minories (a small street between Meer Street and Henley Street) - you'll probably see chalkboards advertising it on either side. They have a generous special board, with everything made on site and around £5 (I paid £5 for duck curry and rice, which was lovely). The whole place is decked out in 1970's style, with retro magazine and comic pages everywhere and delicious home-made cakes, so it's also great for coffee and cake in the afternoon. However, I've seen some reviews saying that the owners turn people away at lunchtime if they just want tea... I don't know if this is true, but I've seen how busy the place can get around lunchtime!
If you prefer to eat a lot at lunchtime, you can find some pretty good lunch deals on the weekdays, for example Bamboodle (Union Street) does a take-away lunch deal for £6.50 which goes until 5pm - so this can also be your early dinner! If the weather's nice, you can easily take this to the Bancroft Gardens, the park around the theatre, and enjoy it on a bench while watching the swans, geese and dogs go by. If you like Thai food and want a restaurant lunch meal, Thai Kingdom (Warwick Road) is very nice and does lunch for £6.99 per person. Of course, the budget is starting to creep up now - you can always grab something from a shop again and eat it in the park!
For dinner, a lot of restaurants offer "pre-theatre" menus for around £13 for two courses, which isn't bad. However, for our conscientious budget traveller, you could pop into The Noodle Box on Greenhill Street - any meat/veg with rice and sauce is £5, and they open from 5pm every day but Tuesday. The Squirrel again is very cheap with mains from £4, but I can't vouch for the quality as I haven't tried anything there yet. There's always Wetherspoons, too. If you're in town on a Tuesday night and there's more than one of you, The Hole in the Wall (Birmingham Road) do amazing pizzas which are two for the price of one (so around £4 per pizza) - with toppings like duck in hoisin sauce, it's worth trying - but be warned they stop taking food orders around 8pm.
A little bit out of centre, there are a couple of family pub/restaurants that I really like. You will pay a bit more, but if you've saved up on breakfast and lunch and want something a bit nicer in the evening, I'd recommend The Old Tramway Inn, down on Shipston Road (towards Waitrose) - you can get jacket potatoes or paninis for £5 or so, or things like lasagne for £8.95 or an 8oz ribeye steak for £14.95. The atmosphere is lovely and the food is wonderful - very big, quality portions (none of the pretentious nonsense that many places will serve!). If you're driving, I also love the Armouries Arms, which is on the way to Wilmcote (where Mary Arden's farm is located). They had tons of specials, ranging from delicious chicken, bacon and leek pie to Thai green curry, and mains were around £8-10.
Drinking and Nightlife
Hmm, this is where Stratford falls down. There's really not much going on in the way of nightlife, especially now that the main "clubbing" spots (Chicago's and Maisons) have closed. People usually party at Wetherspoons until the 1am kick-out, with perhaps a visit to No 1 Shakespeare - although they often charge £5 for entry, they have a dancefloor. The cheapest place for drinks after 'Spoons is the Oddfellows Arms, a strange little place on Windsor Street (opposite the Picturehouse) where pints are something like £2.80, perhaps less. They even attempt karaoke on a Thursday night. After that, the only place still open seems to be Caz Bar on Union Street, which is a "Moroccan-themed bar" (I think it's a strip club, but I still haven't ventured there)...
There are a few open mic nights and pub quizzes around Stratford that you might enjoy, too. Check what the Picturehouse bar is doing, for example - there's a board outside it listing events, which may include fun things like "drink and draw" as well as quizzes and music. The Lazy Cow hosts an open mic night every other Friday, and there's often live music at No 1 Shakespeare Street. As for pub quizzes, the ones I know are Monday night at the Windmill (Church Street), Wednesday at the Hole in the Wall, The Squirrel on Sundays and The Old Tramway on Thursdays. There are sure to be more, have a look around!
That's about it. If you want nightlife, go to Birmingham ;)!
Theatre: You can actually get tickets for the Royal Shakespeare Company for as little as £14, if you don't mind a
restricted view. The thing is, the "restricted" view is usually not that bad and won't really ruin your enjoyment of the show. If you know someone who lives in Stratford in the CV37 postcode (e.g. if you're using Airbnb), ask them to help you - people who live in this post code can get tickets for £10 if there are any left on the day of performance, as long as they can show proof of address.
There are lots of other theatre companies around Stratford who put on cheaper performances throughout the year - see what's on at the Courtyard Theate, for one, or check out the Stratford Arts House. The Bear Pit theatre website also shows you what's on in Stratford.
Shakespeare things: Well, I'm not going to write a lot about this. It's around £25 for a ticket that gets you into all the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust places, but it lasts for a year. So, if you are in touch with anyone who's been to Stratford recently, you could potentially use their ticket - the only identifying thing on the ticket is a signature. There's an expensive bus that will take you around the sites, but you can walk to most of them. Ann Hathaway's cottage would be a 30-minute walk or so, not bad for some people in good weather! As for Mary Arden's farm, a train to Wilmcote only takes 7 minutes and costs £2 return (if they even check) - the farm is pretty near the station.