Sticking with the kit certainly isn't the way to go. My first couple batches were crap compared to what I'm getting now, and much like mattiekrome said, store bought was better. But now I go through extra steps of secondary fermentation and filtering. I also got a wort chiller to get the best cold break I can. Counting only the cost of ingredients I usually end up around a dollar a bottle for really good beer. I dare say I could easily get ten bucks a six pack. Maybe even three for a bottle based on what people who have tried them say. I'm using brewers best kits right now, but will eventually move on from kits to developing recipes.