So in response to my tale of needle woe, I got some really great ideas in the comments about fixing broken needles and making your own needles.
Back when I was restarting knitting, I made many needles from dowels and chopsticks - we had an old school crank pencil sharpener I'd use to get the basic tip shape, then sand down with progressively finer sandpaper. Wax paper rubbed in makes a nice glossy finish!
I've broken so many needles I have glove needles now. I actually put them in a pencil sharpener, take an emery board to them and then a top coat of nail polish. So far, so good.
And also, this all reminded me of a story I heard at one of the Yarn Harlot's post-book-launch parties. One woman (and I'm so sorry, but I simply can't remember who it was; I suspect it was Em but I'm not totally sure about that) told us that she sends her husband out to buy bulk packs of really really REALLY thin and short dowels from Home Depot, and they file down the ends into smooth tips, and - tadah! - sock DPNs for pennies apiece. (Possibly even fractions of pennies apiece, as I can't remember how much she said the dowels cost or how many came in a package.)
So there you are. If you want needles on a budget, or don't want to chuck that broken wooden needle in the garbage, now you know some quick solutions.