I think you've answered your own question - you usually get what you pay for. Knives are one of your most important kitchen tools. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a couple of decent knives and they'll last a lifetime. Why bother with cheap junk? Forget about knife sets. They may seem like a better bagain because you get more knives, but you don't need most of them. Buy a good 8" chef's knife and a 4' to 6" utility knife. That's all you really need.
"I’m going to break one of the rules of the trade here. I’m going to tell you some of the secrets of improvisation. Just remember — it’s always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, you’re on your own." - James Beard