Out of necessity and lack of money, when I got interested in knitting back in 2001 I started making my own knitting equipment. Also because I'm a cheap bastard and don't believe in investing a lot into something I might not like. If I can do it, so can you.
First I started with coat hangers, the kind that always seems to collect at the bottom of the closet. Cut to length with pliers and the ends filed to shape, most turn out to be nice US#1 DPN's. The larger diameter plastic ones seem to have a lot of air bubbles inside, so they can be a little frustrating if you want the point exactly in the center like "store-bought" needles.
When I did get a few coins together, I went shopping. Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores have yarn, needles, crochet hooks, and some pretty good deals if you watch for the sale days. When I checked into the craft stores... I got sticker shock, $5.99 for a pair of needles!! Just a few feet away were birch wood dowel rods in many diameters starting at 19 cents per 3 foot length. A little work with a saw, pencil sharpener and sand-paper, glue and beads, and my supply of hand-made wooden knitting needles and hand-whittled crochet hooks soon needed a storage idea. My old ripped jeans quickly became shorts in order to provide material for a roll-up needle case, and an empty plastic kitty-litter bucket (with lid and carry handle) toted supplies from room to room as I taught myself to knit.
This is probably starting to become an article instead of a post, so I'll stop for now. If anybody is interested in more ramblings of mine, or if you want pix and some sort of "column", let me know.