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Economy

[Recession Guide]

The Weekly’s recession-busting guide

The dollar not quite worth what it was yesterday? We’ve come up with a few ways to take the painful sting out of enjoying life

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Abe like the sauce… and cheap drinks.
Illustration: Jerry Miller

Do those irritating consumer-feedback surveys: Nearly everywhere you pay for something, they offer these fill-out-a-survey-and-get-something-free deals. It always seems like a pain, but actually, some of them are easy schmeezy. Like at Albertsons: On the back of the receipt is a deal where you call in, rate your service in two minutes and earn a free loaf of fresh French bread. Not a bread-lover? Try the ones on hotel-reservation websites; Some will give you discounts on your next stay. Or at Old Navy when you’re stocking up on flip-flops: Surveys get you free stuff on your next visit.

Newspaper buffet coupons: Offered daily in the A section of the Review-Journal (and good only for that day), the 2-for-1 coupons to Stations’ Feast Buffet and the Fiestas’ Festival Buffet are good for lunch or dinner (or breakfast, at Stations). By our calculations, a couple could save nearly $300 per week. If, you know, they were up for eating three buffets every day.

Cheap tickets: Create a free user ID at hob.com and receive weekly offers for two-for-one tickets to many House of Blues concerts as part of the House of Blues’ 2 for TU promotion, provided tickets are purchased online on a Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. On April 14, for example, a pair of tickets to the HorrorPops could be had for $26 total (plus fees and taxes), instead of $26 apiece (plus fees and taxes).

Cheap, cheap, cheap T-shirts: It’s only a few bucks to get in to the Indoor Swap Meet, and the clothing deals are, for the most part, sick. (We found five tees for five bucks not too long ago.) But even if you don’t end up buying anything, you’ll have a blast just walking up and down the aisles window shopping. 1717 S. Decatur Blvd., 877-0087.

Free films: Movie studios hold free promotional screenings of new films just about every week to build word-of-mouth. Tickets are dispersed through publications like this one, local businesses and radio and TV stations, but the most reliable way to get yourself one or two free nights at the movies each month is to sign up with websites lasvegasmovieinsider.com and lasvegasfreemovies.com, which will provide you with regular passes to screenings of various films, all for free and all before they open to the general public.

Cheap LOVE: We know—going to the Strip right now is a nutty idea. Better to burrow in at home with a book, Ramen noodles and some candles. But when the crème de la crème of Strip production shows, Cirque’s The Beatles LOVE, starts offering tickets for locals for only $60, you gotta feel like the recession may have a silver lining. The discount, some 40 percent off the cheap seats, allows us to keep the Vegas party going without getting burned by the bill. Through May 31. Call 531-3832 for more information.

Staycations The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has put up a new site dedicated to encouraging locals to do staycations. From meals to salons to hotel rooms, everything the Strip has to offer can be found with a locals discount. Go to stayandplayhere.com.

Eating healthy: Now that the $5 coupons are back, Fresh + Easy may be the cheapest way to eat well in town. The coupon kicks in after you spend more than $20. (If you’re really good, you can spend just about $20.) And while food prices have been climbing elsewhere, it’s still possible to get staples here for next to nothing ($1.99 for cereal? $3.99 for orange juice? Large containers of soup for $2.50?). You can get out of here for under $30 a week—and still have leftovers.

FHA Streamline: If you’re one of the unlucky many whose house is worth less than when you bought it, we feel your pain. But, if your mortgage was underwritten by the Federal Housing Administration, you may be eligible to “streamline” your mortgage—refinancing without having to appraise the value of your property, so long as current interest rates are lower than the interest rate you got when you bought your home. Most local and chain banks in town, as well as some credit unions, can handle this type of loan. It won’t take you completely out of the woods, but it may knock a few hundred bucks off your monthly note—good news in these troubled times. Call 800-225-5342 for more information.

A great breakfast (at night): Hash House A Go Go is known for its huge portions, and if you head over on Friday nights between 5-10 p.m., you can get one of the restaurant’s signature dishes for a pretty sweet price. Chicken and waffles will only cost you $12.95, and it’s easily enough for two. There is a $2.50 sharing fee, but you can bypass that if you order a side dish for $3.95, and then you’ll have dinner for two, plus leftovers for the rest of the family, all for less than 20 bucks. 6800 W. Sahara Ave., 804-4646.

Nightlife specials

Passes

N9NE Group’s 4-Venue Pass to Palms: On a budget, yet can’t bear the monotony of camping all night in one club? N9NE Group offers a nightclub pass that will get you into all the branches of the Palms’ tree: Moon Nightclub, Playboy Club, Ghostbar and Rain Nightclub. Prices range from $20-$60, depending on the night you go and how long you’re willing to wait in line.

Passport to the Big Apple: New York-New York now offers the nightlife equivalent of rent-controlled apartments. In addition to a ride on the roller coaster, the $25 pass includes one drink each at Nine Fine Irishmen, Pour 24 and the Bar at Times Square. If three drinks and a roller coaster aren’t enough, the passport also includes one VIP line pass and admission to Rok Vegas.

Happy hours

Japonais Lucky 7 Lounge at Mirage: In the boom days, happy hours with actual discounts were virtually nonexistent. In 2009, old bets are off. Japonais at the Mirage is an example of an upscale establishment that between the hours of 5-8 p.m. offers a little gift to the rest of us: a $7 food menu and $7 drinks.

Claim Jumper: Nothing is more satisfying than a Fat Tire and an order of Irish Nachos—well, unless the combo happens to cost you just sightly north of five bucks, which is what happens if you go to Claim Jumper during happy hour. Yeah, much more satisfying. Multiple locations.

Dos Caminos Mexican Kitchen and Lounge at Palazzzo: While the recession is bad, it has a bright side: happy hour at one of the newest and nicest casinos on the Strip. From 5-7 p.m., Dos Caminos has a menu ranging from $6 to $8 as well as select $4 beers.

Eyecandy Sound Lounge & Bar at Mandalay Bay: Two-for-one martinis. Daily. 7 to 9 p.m. Enough said.

PT’s: PT’s is the workhorse of happy hours, with 50 percent off all drinks and pizzas. The deal is good twice a night Monday through Friday: 5-7 p.m. and midnight-4 a.m.

Bottle service

Cherry Stimulus Weekends: Cherry Nightclub at Red Rock Casino puts the “stimulus package” phrase to good use. Friday nights it offers $100 bottles and half-price drinks.

“Party Like a Celebrity” at Christian Audigier: On select nights, Christian Audigier at TI offers bottle service that starts at $150, $2 entry and $5 well you-call-its.

Light Group Keeps Ladies’ Wallets Heavy: What started as a bachelorette-party special has expanded to girls’ gatherings of any kind. Light Group offers two bottles for $200 (Skyy vodka and house champagne) at its three lounges: Caramel at Bellagio, Revolution at Mirage and Mist at TI.

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