Most people are excited to find a travel deal that saves them money.  When I found a deal to the Maldives at 75% savings, I was thrilled with the cost.  When I chose a private tour of Tuscany with wine tastings, I was excited by the convenience.

It is much harder to get both at the same time.  There’s a concept in project management and it applies to travel too.
Good
Fast
Cheap

Choose 2.

Good and fast is convenient but unlikely to be cheap or budget friendly.
Fast and cheap is budget friendly but quality is definitely lower.
Cheap and good, you guessed it isn’t likely to be fast.

One way road tripping is great example.  Rental agencies charge significant fee if you don’t return your car to the same place.  In Greece, my 10 day rental cost was €124,  The fee to return at a different location €325.  More than twice as much as the rental so I wouldn’t have to double back, miss some locations or rush!
One way car rental Mt Olympus, Greece

That’s not to say it’s impossible to find a great breakfast place and spend under €10. 
Red velvet pancakes

But if you’re looking for a cheap airplane ticket to Europe from North America, you should be prepared for tiny seats, limited leg room, extra baggage fees, extra meal/drink fees, inconvenient flight times, and mid field plane parking with a shuttle to the terminal.

On the other side of the coin, if you fly business or first class you’ll get better food, drinks, more baggage allowance, more comfortable seats, just more.  You may still have inconvenient flight times. 
Turkish Airlines Business Class Breakfast

There are several strategies to manage your options and expectations.

Choose what is important.  Do you want a centrally located hotel with amazing views?  Do you want to save on accommodations to splurge on meals?  Do you want to have your own kitchen?  
Keep in mind if you save big on a hotel because it’s outside the area where you want to be, you’ll use more time to get to/from your location.  Obviously a beach front hotel is going to be more expensive than one 30-60 minutes away.

I often choose a centrally located hotel where I can walk to most things. The headline photo is from my hotel in Athens. 😉 If not, something with great service or a great view. In Litochoro, I got good service, great views, great walkability, but very limited street parking and no use of the in room mini-fridge.  It was full of mini-bar items and had sensors so if I moved anything, I would be charged for it, even if I put it back unopened. Don’t worry because it was winter I just stored my bubbly on the balcony.
Holy Church of St Nicholas, Litochoro, Greece
  
Traveling during the off-season can be a way to decrease costs. I really wanted a suite with a bathtub which is getting harder to find at any price. But in Meteora, many restaurants were closed.  One lunch, all I could find was a spinach pastry at a bakery, after trying 3 restaurants that were all closed.  It was yummy and cheap, and would have been fast if I had started at the bakery and not tried to find a restaurant.  NOTE: Google Maps may not have the most up to date opening hours info in the off season.
Bathtub at the hotel in Meteora

In Thessaloniki, I got spectacular views, good service, and very expensive room service.  The convenience of ordering a €30 room service cheeseburger was worth it to not go out in the rain at 9pm to find a restaurant for dinner.  It was a good cheeseburger and fries, but also the most expensive cheeseburger I’ve ever eaten.
Sunrise Thessaloniki, Greece

There’s no right or wrong, it depends on you. Sometimes I choose cost, sometimes convenience.  But I always choose to wander.

CJ

I have visited 7 continents and 80 countries. I have lived in 9 different countries. I speak English, Spanish, French, and Russian. I like to hike, ski, dive, eat, drink, and wander the wonders of the world.