I'm kinda cheap and never pay full freight for anything, particularly "brand" items. They are usually steeply discounted once the brand comes out with something better. I picked up a Sage One five weight a couple or three years ago for a little over half retail what it had been a few months before sage launched their new X series, I think I paid $450 or thereabouts new. Its a great rod and my go to stick when I'm trout fishing in CA which is 99% of my fishing. I've been fishing a lot with my daughter lately, shes really starting to enjoy it and she is using the first graphite rod I ever bought, a TFO NXT Lefty Kreh rod and reel combo for $125. When she gets tangled up I give her my rod and go to work, but I always fish the old rod for a bit, and to be honest I cant tell much of a difference. It casts great....certainly well enough that a hack like me cant tell much of a difference.
The one rod I love the most is my Winston GVX 3 wt that I got for free on Ebay! (long story) but that thing just feels like an extension of my arm and when I'm fishing small creeks it just puts the fly where I want it to go every single time.
I bought my daughter an Echo Glass 4wt a couple of years ago and she hates it, but I pull it out sometimes because its so much fun and I think fishing glass helps your timing. You need to focus more.
You can't buy happiness, but you can buy new fly fishing gear and that usually does the trick.