The wife and I have been there a few times over the years. Las Vegas used to have great values on the strip for rooms and (buffet) restaurants. Over the last few years Las Vegas has gotten really pricey for the hotels in the center part (ie best part) of the strip. The food and service and much better than before but the prices reflect that. However their prices are consistent with other 4 or 5 star hotels that you'll find anywhere in the country.
My advice is to pay the price and stay in one of the 4-star hotels on the center strip. In many ways you do get what you pay for. Sure you can find some beater hotel, with dog-food chow restaurants away from everything that is cheap. But is that how you want to spend your vacation? Some of those off-strip hotels or North Strip hotels can be kind of depressing. Ditto for downtown Las Vegas.
The other thing about Las Vegas is it's a place to get out and walk around. So pick a hotel in a good location that you can use as a base to visit the other hotels. Sure you can get a hotel far away and drive over but it's not the same.
One thing to know about Las Vegas, if it hasn't already been posted, is that the rooms almost always sell out over the weekends with people doing the weekend get-away. So what happens is that room prices triple on the weekends and food prices in some of the restaurants also go up. The time to go to Las Vegas is during the week days. There will be fewer crowds and prices will be much better.
I concur with the Priceline recommendation. I have used them a number of times (though not in Las Vegas) and have always been happy with the results. Don't expect to get the Presidential suite though through Priceline. You'll get a clean room in the hotel usually with a view of the Parking lot or something like that. If a view is important to you ask for the upgrade when you check in. Often for just a few extra dollars you can upgrade to a "view" room. But there is no guarantee.
here is a website that I believe has the pulse of Las Vegas down and fits my "quality-on-the cheap" personality.