I just have to jump in here...
I fell guilty to the It's only a sewing machine thought once... No more!
I've been sewing all my life. And I guess as a kid, using my mom's ancient 1950's Singer that skips stitches, breaks threads, gumms up the bobbin, etc. I just though sewing machines were supposed to do that. When I moved out, my mom gave me my grandma's Viking. I was so excited because it did so much more then just straight stitch and zig-zag. But still it was ancient, from the early 1980's.
One day I was sewing and it broke. I don't really remember what happened, but it wouldn't work anymore. So I found a sewing repair shop that works on Vikings and took it in for an estimate to fix. I got the call that said it would cost about $280 to fix and I was shocked. I decided then that I would just use the money to buy a "really nice" machine. So I started to shop around.
It turns out that my grandma spent about $900 on this one back in the early 80's. I couldn't find a machine that was as sturdy, sew through as many layers, etc. as this one for my price range. I had this huge eye opening experience where I now understand the value of my machine and I know that one day I'm going to spend a very large dollar amount and get the most kick ass machine around!
Needless to say, I forked out the cash, had my machine fixed and now baby it and love it every single day.