Price of knowledge. You're not going to get a fancy expensive knife, you're going to learn the basics of bladecraft. It might feel like getting ripped off, but since there's no degree in bladesmithing, and few groups doing formal instruction, that's a pretty average/fair price for what you just described. Can you teach yourself? Sure, but it takes an exponentially longer time for most folks, and you end up wasting a lot of material and fuel making mistakes that could be prevented by seeing an instructor do it right, right in front of you. That's how I kicked at the pricks for years, before attending my first hammer-in. Seeing the work, done by people who knew how, allowed me to take several quantum leaps in my skill. I'd practice on my own for a year, just using what I saw online (and today's youtube content is vastly superior to what was available 10-15 years ago), and then when I could work in person with masters of the craft, suddenly everything would change and my brain would hurt after 3 days of sponging everything I could. Good luck!