I found a few decent sticks at "Sports Authority" in the 75-125 dollar range.
One I recall was a Strickland model, another, a carbon fiber all black unit that I bought and used for a few years until I got my chops back after a period of never playing at all.
Almost any billiard table sales space, even the "chains," have something you can mess around with to establish what various sticks feel like.
Always remember, it's not the stick that makes a decent player, it's what's between your ears that counts.
The stick never makes the shot. You do.
If you feel like a better player with an expensive stick, there's a problem. The flawed logic suggests if a $150 stick makes you play better, a $300 stick would be better yet!
Great example? Golf clubs. Half the people I beat in golf have assorted and unmatched clubs because they didn't like their (name any #) particular club. They buy a hybrid - or some other "non-conforming" club. Bottom line, they still suck - but have the coolest looking weird club in the bag.
I especially like the player that says, "I can't hit my driver off the tee." And so they play anything but their driver off the tee. They fail to realize the reality of, "If they don't ever use their driver - they will NEVER be able to hit it"! Why? Because they never practice with it. It is in fact, a self fulfilling prophecy.
Four things are most important: The cue stick tip. The shaft taper. The weight. And, the "feel." If your very tall or very short, length also plays a part in selection.
Let us know what you decide and how t pans out.