Live the Good Life for Less

The recession may have officially ended in June 2009, but times are still tough for many folks throughout the Hudson Valley. Unemployment remains high, housing prices are low, and the wild spending sprees of the 1990s seem like ancient history. But just because you are pinching pennies, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the finer things in life. So from hip consignment shops to budget Broadway shows to daring dining deals, here’s our guide to champagne living on a beer budget. You’ll never pay full price again!


A Triple Steal

Minor League baseball abounds in the Hudson Valley, and all three local clubs — the Hudson Valley Renegades and Tri-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League, and the brand-new Rockland Boulders, an independent team — offer affordable family entertainment. Renegades fans can purchase a five-game package and receive a complimentary ticket to a sixth game (or buy 10 and receive the 11th free); the all-you-can-eat pregame picnic and Reserve Grandstand ticket is just $20. For “Sunday Fundays,” the Troy-based Tri-City ValleyCats give you four tickets, four hot dogs, and four sodas for $25 (available at every Sunday home game). General admission tickets are $6.

The Rockland Boulders begin play in Pomona in June 2011; while plans are still shaping up, the Boulders intend to offer an average ticket price of $10 and at least one meal for under $5 at the concession stand, says spokesman Ken Lehner.

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Photograph by DeeBee Photography/courtesy of Tri-City ValleyCats

Stingy Stage

For a Broadway-style experience at a bargain-basement price, try the International Family Series at Albany’s Palace Theater. For $25 ($12.50 for kids), families can enjoy three different live theater experiences per season.
Next up: Avner the Eccentric in Exceptions to Gravity on Feb. 13.

Riverside Revels

The Valley is home to dozens of art galleries, all of which are free. One of the best ways to experience the region’s art offerings is during one of the Art Along the Hudson events. This collaboration of arts organizations in Beacon, Catskill, Hudson, Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and Rhinebeck offers special arts programs on rotating Saturdays each month, year-round. Most events are free; local restaurants and shops also have special deals and sales to enhance the festivities ( For a comprehensive list of area galleries, visit the “Arts” tab at

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Film Frugality

Long known for live dinner theater, the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford has branched out with a new recession-buster: “Hollywood and Dine.” Classic films are screened for $8, and dinner is a la carte; together, the evening should run you about $20 (check for dates). Other oldies options include the $5 Friday night films at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Opera House (catch Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange on Jan. 28) and the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston (take the kids to Back to the Future on Feb. 25). And Silver Cinemas at South Hills Mall in Poughkeepsie continues to offer $2 movies and $1 admission on Tuesdays.

Dirt-Cheap Dancing

For first-rate footwork at a cut-rate cost, visit and check out Fiddle and Dance News, a compendium of lessons and events from various dance clubs throughout the Valley, as well as a rundown of upcoming performances by local folk musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason (at right). With a few exceptions, every dance event on the Mid-Hudson Dance Calendar is $10. You can also pick and choose classes in swing, contra, Cajun/zydeco and English country dancing by visiting


Beauty & Fashion

Budget Beauty

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Look like a million bucks without scalping your bankroll by tapping the region’s beauty schools. Students perform the work under the watchful eye of seasoned professionals, ensuring that you get top-quality style for your money. For example, skin care services at the Beauty School of Middletown range from $5 to $45, with facials starting at $16. A basic cut and style is only $6, and color highlights run $30-$50. A pedicure at Albany’s Orlo School of Hair Design and Cosmetology is $18, and manicures start at just $6. For the hottest new thing in hair care, the Paul Mitchell School in nearby Danbury, Conn. offers Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi Wild Ginger hair treatment ($15 and up).

Of course, affordable haircuts for men or women are available too, starting at $12 or $17, depending on the student’s level of experience. And guys can check out A1 Instructional Barbering Plus in Wappingers Falls, where a haircut will set you back $8.

Pampering for Pennies

While personal indulgences — such as spa treatments — are often the first things to go when tightening the budget, it need not be that way. “Beauty on Demand,” a new offering from Marlene Weber Day Spa in Poughkeepsie, is “an abbreviated version of some of our most popular spa services,” says owner Marlene Weber. The program features a menu of six Aveda-inspired services, each of which runs 15 minutes and ranges in price from $15 to $35 (

The mid-week Spa Day Escape Package from Mohonk Mountain House Resort & Spa starts at $150 and includes either a 50-minute massage or facial and lunch in the Carriage Lounge. With their Spa Series Program, clients prepay for five sessions of any spa service and receive 10 percent off the price of each, or prepay for nine sessions and receive a 10th for free (

The Winter Solstice, at One Body Spa in Accord, is a 75-minute treatment featuring hot stone massage therapy along with house-blended aromatherapy, reflexology, and Dr. Hauschka Eye Solace (which combats dark circles) for $95.

For another affordable spa option, let the students at the Hudson Valley School of Advanced Aesthetic Skin Care and the Hudson Valley School of Massage Therapy (which share space in West Park) hone their skills on you. For example, a 60-minute European facial costs $30, and 50-minute massages run $35.

Thrifty is Nifty

Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the Valley has seen a proliferation of entrepreneurialism in one particular category: upscale second-hand shops. Consignment and thrift stores can often be the best budget-stretchers around. Typically thrift shops sell donated items to raise money for a cause supported by a particular nonprofit. Consignment shops accept merchandise on a consignment basis and pay the owner a percentage of the sale price when and if the item is sold. Many of these resale stores are a mix of the two. Here’s a sampling of local options:

Simplicity, Poughkeepsie
Megan Lawrence studied environmental science at the University of Rhode Island. “I focused on resource economics and commerce; basically, trying to make sure that we are not wasting our resources.” Before graduating last May, the Wappingers Falls native batted around the idea of grad school or joining the Peace Corps, but ultimately decided on opening an eco-friendly consignment shop instead. “Not everyone is going to be involved in fighting global warming; there are simpler ways that people can be involved.”

And more fashionable ways, too. Lawrence’s shop, which opened in November, features some fair-trade lines, but mainly specializes in upscale clothing, accessories, and home goods. “Theory, Talbots, Ann Taylor, some Valentino, some Burberry, Gucci bags,” says Lawrence, ticking off some brands recently found in the 3,000-square-foot space. Lawrence, who offers a 50-50 consignment split, will also feature exhibits from a variety of local artists. “It really has an eclectic feel,” she says. “It’s a fun-and-funky, inspired store.”
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (until 8 p.m. on Thurs.)
1820 New Hackensack Rd., Poughkeepsie 845-240-1794;

Lovely Ladies, Middletown
Nicknamed “the mini Macy’s” by regulars, this shop carries items for all budgets across many categories: women’s clothing, designer handbags, accessories, jewelry, home décor, even small furniture.
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
285 Rte. 211 West, Middletown 845-343-5277

The Present Perfect, Rhinebeck
A Rhinebeck tradition for more than a decade, this consignment shop focuses on high-quality everyday wear for men, women, and children. They also specialize in designer consignment (furs, leathers, handbags and barely worn shoes), as well as fine and costume jewelry.
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 12-5 p.m.
23G Village Plaza, Rhinebeck 845-876-2939

Fashion Exchange, Wappingers Falls
This recently opened shop bills itself as “boutique consignment.” Focusing on vintage and unique items, owner Bonnie Weaver offers both new and consignment name-brand clothing, accessories, and jewelry. Her consignment specialty is furs and gowns, including a large selection of wedding gowns.
Tues.-Wed. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.,
Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
2 Commerce St., Ste. 2, Wappingers Falls 845-849-2385

What’s New Again, Wappingers Falls
This upscale consignment boutique for women and juniors offers a range of clothing options. From high-end designers to casual and work clothes, as well as a full line of jewelry, shoes, belts, handbags, and other accessories.
Mon., Wed., Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 12-5 p.m.
1177 Rte. 9, Wappingers Falls 845-462-2085,

Kiddie Consignments

Just for Kids, Wappingers Falls
For more than two decades, this thrift shop has specialized in children’s like-new clothing, furniture, and toys.
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
13 Delavergne Ave., Wappingers Falls 845-297-3994

Kiddie Exchange, Pine Island
This Orange County mainstay specializes in kids’ clothing from preemie to size 16; items must be like-new or gently used in order to be accepted for sale.
Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
636 Cty. Rte. 1, Pine Island, 845-258-2555,

Trendy Tots Take Two, Beacon
This consignment boutique offers new and gently used children’s apparel and gear for sizes newborn-16. Baby gear includes strollers, high chairs, exersaucers, pack n’ plays, toys, books, dancewear, shoes, and nursery décor.
Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
296 Main St., Beacon. 845-838-2200,

Face Off

So, are you ready for your close-up? Longtime local makeup artist Jenny Greene-Magliano shares some tips on how to get the most out of your makeup so you’ll look like you’re ready for the red carpet — without spending like a celebrity.

To start, Greene-Magliano notes that it is okay to say bye-bye to expensive brands. “You don’t need high-priced cosmetics to get high-quality results,” she says. For instance, “Loreal and Lancome are the exact same company, and they are pretty much the exact same products; the only difference is in their packaging.” And when it comes to lip gloss, “I really like Maybelline, particularly Shinesensational. It’s a lot less costly than department store brands and just as good.” She adds that Maybelline also makes the best mascara. While she thinks that black still reigns supreme for most women (“even light-skinned people who think they should use brown”), she cautions that you should never use an eyelash curler after you have applied mascara as it causes the lashes to break.

To ensure that your makeup stays fresh longer, Greene-Magliano emphasizes the importance of daily moisturizing and suggests using a primer underneath your foundation; her favorite is Makeup for Ever HD Microperfecting Primer ($32, For aging skin, her top choice is Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser foundation (suggested retail $9.99). Another trick is to use one type of makeup for several purposes. “You can use powder blush as an eye shadow and also as a stain on your lips. Just rub it right onto your lips and then put a tad of lip gloss right over it,” she says. “You can also use powder eye shadow to draw in your eyebrows, instead of a pencil.”

More advice from Jenny:
• Don’t even think about that collagen injection — try Sally Hansen Lip Inflation Extreme (suggested retail $8) instead.
• Keep your eyeliners in the fridge during the hot summer months so they don’t melt and need constant sharpening.
• Order free makeup samples online. Try or
• Many people don’t realize that you can return opened makeup to pharmacies like Rite Aid if you don’t like the color, or for any other reason.


Food & Dining

Virtual Source, Actual Savings

If full-fare dining at half price sounds delectable, check out The site offers gift certificates to restaurants and other regional businesses at 50 percent off face value. At press time, bargains included $50 gift certificates for $25 to 36 Main in New Paltz, and half-off deals at Jumpin’ Jakes in Fishkill and Middletown, and the Rondout Golf Club in Accord. New offerings are posted each Wednesday, and they often sell out fast.

Growth Stock

If you’ve been leery of the stock market lately, consider investing in a share of a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) instead. For one fee (which can be as low as $25 per month), participants receive a weekly share of a farm’s bounty: usually vegetables, but — depending on the farm — fruits, meats, herbs, and flowers as well. Most CSAs run from May through October, and many offer half-shares too. Advantages include getting a variety of fresh, local produce, and having a relationship with your food source. For a complete list of the region’s 50-plus CSAs, visit

Can’t wait for spring? Fishkill Farms offers a winter CSA through March, featuring winter-hardy vegetables, greenhouse-grown salad greens, eggs, lamb, and cider. Through the end of this month, Common Ground Farm in Beacon has hardy crops that can be stored through the winter, and greens grown in its new passive-solar greenhouse, for sale at the Beacon Farmers Market. •

Gourmet Frugality

Several of the Hudson Valley’s finest restaurants offer significant savings for discerning diners.

For instance, download the coupon from their Web site and get two entrées, one appetizer, and one dessert for $59 at Sapore Steakhouse in Fishkill (through February 1).

An Albany legend, Jack’s Oyster House honors its 98th year in business with a $19.13 special: salad, one of three entrées, and dessert (available for lunch or dinner through February).

The Riverview in Cold Spring has a Wednesday night deal, with a selection of prix-fixe dinner options at $14.95.

After a cold run down the slopes at Windham, warm up with Bistro Brie & Bordeaux’s Le Tour de France, a $14.95 three-course meal offered each Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday evening.

In Rockland, Wasabi of Nyack (owner Doug Nguyen is pictured at left) and Wasabi Grill of New City battle the winter blues with weekly Bento Box specials. At Wasabi, you can feast on such entrées as Chilean sea bass or filet mignon for $19-$22; at Wasabi Grill, the $14 Bento Box is offered from 3:45-6:45 p.m. along with a cup of tea.

Add the Value Card from Vintage Hudson Valley to your discount dining arsenal. For $25, the card entitles you to a 10 percent discount at member restaurants and hotels for a year (

And don’t forget about Restaurant Week, which this year takes place from March 14-27 — yes, that’s technically more than a week, but who’s complaining? Dozens of participating restaurants (see for the list) serve three-course lunches for $20 and/or dinners for $28.

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