I always tell players that the most important thing about buying a cue is confidence. Owning your own cue allows you to get to know how it performs. Most every cue will get you the same performance for 98% of your shots. You can pay a premium for that last 2% when you need to use extreme english or force but there are no amateur players who need to pay for that. Your money and time are better spent on fundamentals: speed and accuracy. A good player with a wall cue will always beat an average player with a $1000 cue. Cues made with rare woods and fancy inlays will always cost more but will not improve your game. However, having your own cue - even a $100 cue - can let you ensure that it's well maintained and can give you the confidence boost needed to play your best game.