Living Well For Less


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barber pole

Beauty on a budget

Looking glam doesn’t have to bankrupt you: Local beauty school clinics offer services for a fraction of the cost of a high-end salon. The students who work on your hair and nails are trained and supervised by eagle-eyed professionals, ensuring that you get high-quality style for your money. The Beauty School of Middletown offers a basic cut and style for only $5; highlights run from $30-$50. A manicure at Albany’s Orlo School of Hair Design and Cosmetology will only set you back $6 (and at $15, the pedicure isn’t much more). For high-end treatments, try the Paul Mitchell School in nearby Danbury, Connecticut. Prices for a perm or relaxer session start between $27-$37, based on the student’s expertise and your hair type; bring your own hair extensions, needle and thread, and they’ll put them in for $20-$25 an hour. In the mood for a spa treatment but can’t justify the cost? For half (or less) of the price charged at a typical spa, the Hudson Valley School of Advanced Aesthetic Skin Care in New Paltz provides facials, waxing, laser hair removal, mud or seaweed body treatments, makeup application, and more. Try the moisture-intense Paraffin Facial ($40) for a radiant, fresh-from-the-spa glow.

Stealing homeplate

As it turns out, the Mets and the Yankees picked the worst possible season to settle into new stadiums and jack up ticket prices. The Valley’s teams, on the other hand, still serve up minor-league baseball at major-league bargains. Hudson Valley Renegades fans can purchase the team’s five-game package and receive a complimentary ticket to a sixth game (or buy a 10-game package and go to an 11th game for free). Up north, the Tri-City ValleyCats (who play in Troy) offer “Sunday Fundays” at every Sunday home game: four tickets, four hot dogs, and four sodas for just $25. On July 12, the team hosts an “Economic Stimulus Night” with discounts on foods and drinks. And these are only the special markdowns: Fans of either team can purchase a general admission ticket to any game for $5-$6 a pop.

Pet care for pennies

Cash-strapped pet owners would rather rent their garage out to a hair-metal tribute band than risk their kitten or pup’s health. Fortunately, PETCO’s low-cost vaccination clinics can help prevent families from sinking to that level. The store’s packages are significantly cheaper than what most animal hospitals offer. Vaccinating your dog against the rabies, bordetella, and distemper trifecta, for example, costs well over $100 at a typical veterinary office; PETCO’s clinics charge $49 for the same combination. Cat immunizations, meanwhile, start at $42 and net you identical savings. (Clinics take place as follows at PETCO’s four Valley locations: Colonie, Sat. 2-4 p.m.; Poughkeepsie, Sun. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Middletown, Sun. 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Nanuet, every other Sun. 2:30-4:30 p.m.)

thrifty tip


Low-cost libations

If the daily stock market report is driving you to drink, consider picking up a free Price Advantage Card at Viscount Wines & Liquor. This Wappingers Falls beverage superstore features an enormous selection of wines from the world over — many of which can be purchased at substantial savings when you flash your VPAC card at the register. The program also earns you rewards points towards discounts on future purchases. (A good rule of thumb: Ask your local shopkeepers if they are running any specials or discount programs. Many retailers are working hard to lure customers in the door by offering on-the-spot deals that you might not be aware of.)

Music for misers

Classical music lovers needn’t travel to Manhattan to hear top-flight musicians. The Vassar College music department regularly hosts concerts by students and faculty as well as “special guests” — which lately have included the vocal ensembles Chanticleer and Cantus, Broadway star Kelli O’Hara (of South Pacific fame), and cutting-edge composer Steve Reich (the subject of the two-week-long Modfest celebration last winter). Most of these events are held in the intimate (and acoustically superior) Skinner Recital Hall. And all of them are free.

Dance for a song

Do the hot moves on Dancing With the Stars have you itching to try some new moves? Most dance schools lock you in for weeks or months with pricey contracts, but you can discover how to dance like Derek and Brooke without foxtrotting your way to bankruptcy. At Hudson Valley Community Dances, a dance meet-up group, you can learn to strut your stuff at a swing jam for only $5, or shake your groove thing at a Louisiana zydeco class for $15. Visit to pick and choose which classes you’d like to attend; they hold classes at sites throughout the mid-Hudson region. The best part? You don’t need a baby-sitter — children are welcome at most classes, and rates for kids go as low as a dollar a session.

Grocery savings

Looking to stretch the family food budget, but don’t want to skimp on quality? Head to one of Adams Fairacre Farms’ three locations (in Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and Kingston). The locally owned market — our readers’ perennial pick as the best place to buy produce — slashes 10 percent off your total bill when you shop between 5 and 9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. (Insider’s tip: The store aisles can get crowded, especially between 5 and 6 p.m. So bring your patience along with your shopping list.)


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