Have you ever thought about getting a serger? Have you checked Craigslist.org for any local-used machines? I highly recommend!
I just bought a second serger yesterday for when I teach sewing classes that involve serged seams. I am so happy with it! It is a basic manual, 4-thread machine. It is practically brand new, came with thread, case, pedal, manual and accessories all for $90. The brand is Simplicity (never heard of it before) but regardless, it has exceeded my expectations. If I were to get something comparable to it today in the store (new) it would probably be over $400!
My other machine is a Pfaff 4872 which I also got off of Craigslist for $350 which was a very good deal. These commonly go for $500 on Ebay. This machine is much larger, computerized and is a 5-thread machine (can do coverlock stitches). I could get by just fine with a 4-thread cheaper machine, and in fact, the Simplicity machine has a free-arm which I'd rather have over the coverlock stitch! Plus the computerized is more expensive to tune/repair.
If you want a serger get a basic machine. I'd recommend a 4-thread because it can do several more stitches than a 3-thread. The stitches I do mostly are a narrow-rolled hem and a 4-thread overlock.
If serger's kind of freak you that's okay because I was nervous my first time using one too... BUT once you use one you'll see that you NEED one! Get the threading/tension down and you're good to go. You'll probably want some tweezers to help thread!