Well, I live in NPZ, so I can go home for lunch after climbing. But I do eat out in many places in town, and can see why you feel this way. Prices have risen steadily in the town's establishments, although quality seems to be the same.
If you are fiscally challenged, then getting something to-go and eating on a bench has got to be the cheapest. Mexicali Blue has superb burritos, and as long as the line isn't too long, it's fairly fast for cooked to order items. Cajun Pork is a good value at $8.00. Six years ago, it was about $6.00, but that's not an unexpected price increase.
The Gilded Otter has great beer, but the menu, with the exception of them adding chicken tenders as an option to their salads, has not changed hardly at all since they opened. Same pizzas, same everything. For large parties, some sides like french fries can be cold when all nine plates come out.
Yanni's has fine Greek items, the Souvlaki platter is not expensive. Good soups when its cold.
Jack's Meat Market makes fantastic sandwiches, but it gets crowded, and it can take 10-15 minutes to get through there.
Further up Main Street is Main Course, which doesn't have a permit for food served, so you order at the counter and pick up. Good platters, a bit more expensive, and a relaxed environment.
There are lots of places for pizza. Rocco's at the Stop N Shop plaza has great buffalo chicken slices, Rino's across the street at Cherry Hill has good slices, La Bella near the Middle School has great everything. The rest seem somewhat college-towney average.
Shea O'Briens, at the site of the former Rascals, is Irish in theme, and gets pricey fast.
There are certainly lots of other places, but here are a few ideas. I may not notice the incremental price increases as you do coming back after some time, but you can still eat well for not a ton of money in New Paltz.
It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there