For home/hobby use, I have a Best DT-9205M. It's not a high quality multimeter, but it measures AC and DC voltage and current, resistance, and capacitance. It's good enough for order of magnitude capacitance (is this a 0.1uF, or 1uF?), and reasonable on DC voltage readings. It's unfused on the current input, so I never use it for high current systems - that's just asking for trouble. For high current stuff, I borrow the high quality multimeters (with all the bells and whistles, like min/max hold, counters, and such) from work, but I can't remember the last time I needed to do that. I don't think buying a quality (expensive) multimeter would be a bad idea, and you're absolutely right about them lasting a LONG time (with proper care), but also don't think that it's necessary to buy something like a Fluke 289, BK Precision 393, or 121GW straight out of the gate.
I whole-heartedly agree with you about reading and following your equipment's specs! That's what I was hoping to convey with the "know your tools' limitations" bit.
Do you have a link to whatever kit you bought for the HF upconversion?