My only real gear mistake was selling a '63 Gibson LG-1 to fund a National Tricone. That guitar would ring sympathetically on other strings just playing a 12 fret harmonic. Was like a bell. Was a blues machine I got from a guy who wanted a Takamine. Don't ask me. Gave him $150 for it. Sold for about $700. Easy come, easy go I guess. Wound up selling the Tricone cause if you touch the nickel finish it turns into a mess and it weighs a ton to carry around.I have a low end custom shop Yamaha classical ( $2000 22 years ago ) that is as good or better than stuff I've tried at $6000....having some guitars now in the 44 to 25 year old range I can tell you that yeah they sound really good after about five years but as you get older yeah you don't want to wait that long!
My old lady is a bigger guitar junkie than me she's has well over a dozen acoustic in the last 15 years. I know that isn't a lot compared to some but we ain't collectors or rich. This Hohner is my first acoustic since I sold the Tricone unless you can count the cheap-o Recording King spider resonator.
As far as strings I only use EB Earthwoods on my acoustics and Just Strings brand generics on my electrics. They take more abuse than D'Addario and Deans IME and I can get 12 sets for under $40.