now I don't want to get any more cheap knives since I've got better ones recently
now i'm getting pickier, knowing what I want and don't want in a knife
my taste just keeps getting more and more expensive
same thing with firearms now. i'm willing to spend a little more to get exactly what I want
I hear ya and I am in the same. Ever since I got into looking into the different steels and then venturing into the >$100 range of ZTs and other brands, I've seen the quality in many of those knives and makes me both appreciate the higher quality as well as sort of less accepting than I used to be for what is "good enough". There are some lines like Kershaw and Kizer that have both budget and more quality lines, but even then, I have noticed a difference between those and brands like ZT, Hinderer (don't own one yet, but have handled them), etc. In the last many months, I got only one really budget knife and it was a $25 Kershaw to test out the tanto shape more. While that knife certainly is useful, you can really tell the difference, especially in the "small details". Before looking closer into steels and such, I was more focused on blade shapes and what brands were decent, but didn't break the bank. So it was Kershaw and some Benchmades. Still a fan of Kershaw, but haven't considered getting one lately.
I am also getting more selective as I have focused on what I want. I still have a few brands and other style of blades that I want to try, but definitely have become pickier. Like you said, it was similar in my evolution in firearms. While I started buying quality stuff when I first got into firearms, I spent a lot of money trying this and that. Then eventually focused on what my preferences were and many times it involved spending a little more to get what I want. I mean I'm still down to try other things if they are on sale or for a great price though.