yes amsterdam is expensive, been there twice. first was in an apartment on prinsengracht canal and amstel. really loved the area, near shops, restaurants, transportation. booked thru citymundo.com
second time we stayed on a houseboat in the jordaan area. that was fun, could sit outside watch the boats go by, feed the ducks and swans, shops, restaurants, and transportation near. check houseboathotel.nl, amsterdamapartmentrental.com, or houseboatrental.amsterdam
read the fine print, early checkin or luggage storage, share bathroom/kitchen, what floor (usually no lifts/elevators, steep stairs/steps to carry luggage up UGH!
maybe split your time between amsterdam and haarlem. we took a day trip to haarlem on the train.
we also did a day tour out to the countryside, fishing villages, windmills, cheese tasting, lunch at a restaurant, great day. he has since retired, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for info if interested.
thisisholland.com ultimate flight experience
martines-table.com (her husband also does a tour)
book anne franks house early and other museums
lots of walking, people watching, sitting at cafe/bistro for appetizer and glass of vino (loved rembrandt plaza), smell of pot in the air, (stop in a coffee shop), canal cruise, LOTS of bicycles here there and everywhere! when our "paws" were sore we found a pedicab for a ride around dam square. took the tram to albertcuyp market place, blocks and blocks of anything and everything on a pedestrian only street.
this will keep you busy doing research, lots of things to do and see, and keep your "amsterdam" folder full. you'll have a fabulous time, it's a gorgeous and busy city. enjoy