I've charged my battery twice since I've had it, and I'm at nearly 800 images so far. The camera and lenses seem to be power misers of the first order.
VR uses power when you're at half-press, and for a few seconds after you release (in case you want to shoot again quickly). You can tell this by the 'click' from the lens. I can't feel the VR in my lens, but my images tell the tale whether it's on or off.
I occasionally forget to turn the camera off, and have to switch the camera to off, then back on to go active, so I'm presuming the camera has an auto-off feature.
My pictures are gradually improving, with most family snapshots and the like being taken in Auto mode, and most of the 'art' shots being taken in Aperture priority mode.