I just want to clarify something. I don't care what you spend on gear as long as your output looks and sounds good. Technique will always serve you in the end no matter what machinery you have at your disposal. I've been getting real excited lately about how good an image can get when lighting is actually part of pre-production instead of an afterthought. It doesn't matter that I'm using inexpensive hardware store lighting. What matters is where I put those lights and the end result, which is looking pretty dang good in my opinion.
It's a common point of discussion on some forums about how you can't show up to a client shoot with DIY gear. You'll get the raised eyebrow and potentially lose work, even if your sound and picture are superior. This may be true (and may not depending on if the client knows your reel), which may require you to "snazz up" your equipment. I know my Canon HFS100 looks a lot more impressive as a camera if it has a lens hood and XLR box attached. It is still small, but not as small as when it's stripped to its birthday suit.
On your own film shoot, of course, there are no rules. It's your set and you can do anything you wish. You may even impress people when they see the contraptions you've created to get "that" shot. Okay, the only people you will probably impress will be those in your same (or below) budget level, but that's okay. I'd rather hang out with those people anyway.