How To... Live the High Life for Less

Get more bang for fewer bucks

By Kristen Hall-Geisler May 19, 2009 Published in the March 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

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Così fan tutti at PSU Opera

Image: Steve DiPaola

During this economic downturn, you can still live well. We suggest four ways to indulge even as you nurture the next wave of Portland-grown talent. By taking a chance on practitioners who are still learning their trades, you’ll be banking karma as a kind of one-person WPA program.


The Portland State University Opera, whose production of Così fan Tutte took second place at a 2007 National Opera Association competition, puts on full-scale productions at the Clark Family Auditorium of St. Mary’s Academy (the Lincoln Performance Hall is closed for renovation). This spring, catch Verdi’s Falstaff, a comedy based on the Shakespearean character of the same name, to be performed April 13, 15, 17, and 19. Ticket prices range from $12 to $25. 1615 SW Fifth Ave; 503-725-3307;


Graduates of the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Program at the Western Culinary Institute have gone on to work the stoves at the Pebble Beach Resort and in Bravo TV’s Top Chef competition, but here you can catch them while their talents are fresh—and cheap. A five-course dinner at the school’s restaurant, Bleu—that includes, say, rabbit pâté with prosciutto and pork loin in sweet potato purée—will set you back a skinny $24.95. 600 SW 10th Ave; 503-294-9970;


Just because your bank balance doesn’t look pretty doesn’t mean you can’t. While most Aveda salons charge $25 to $65 for a cut, students at Aveda Institute Portland will shear your locks for $10 to $16. If money woes have left you snacking on your nails, manis and pedis go for $10 and $15, respectively. And lest you worry about walking out looking like Britney Spears post–clipper incident, rest assured that instructors supervise all services. 325 NW 13th Ave; 503-294-6000;


If financial stress has settled into your shoulders, find some release in Chinese acupuncture. Oregon College of Oriental Medicine offers group acupuncture, where several clients get their chi realigned in one room. Students provide the service for a mere $12. 10541 SE Cherry Blossom Dr; 503-253-3443 x550;

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