Re: Who else goes 100% from the beginning?
If it's something I know I like and will stick with, I don't mind going a little apey. I like quality, but form must follow function. For example, I have no patience for St Dupont platinum lighters and solid gold Davidoff cutters. I like aesthetics as much as the next guy, but a hammer is only as good as it drives a nail. I have several very high-end, custom 1911 platform pistols. I shoot a lot, relative to most, so I use them. They aren't necessarily more accurate than a pistol costing half as much, but they'll be as accurate as they are for a lot longer.
I don't collect pipes, cigars, or tobacco. I like a variety of them around and just enough pipes to enjoy that variety as often as I smoke a pipe, which isn't very often. As such, I only have three and am very happy with that. If I smoked as much pipe, as I do cigars, it'd be a different story.
If you're new to it, budget is the key. Set a reasonable amount to spend each month and don't go over it. Re-adjust accordingly, after 6 months. After another analysis and re-adjust, don't go over that for two years. Now, if you're considering getting into carving pipes, I say go for it.