Are plug-ins worth their price?

It looks to me like nobody is using Photoshop or Lightroom for image editing anymore. At least not to a large extent. Lightroom becomes for image organization, Photoshop is good for cloning and masking. And the “real job” is getting done in plug-ins. And more and more of those plug-ins show up on the market, offering the one click solutions. There are Nik plug-ins, Topaz plug-ins, On One plugins… Black and white images need to be done in Silver Effex Pro ($199.95). Color images, depending on whose blog you are reading, is Viveza and/or Color Efex Pro (both $99.95), or Perfect Effects ($99.95) or Topaz Adjust ($49.99). For finish, sharpening should be done using Dfine ($99.95) or Sharpener Pro ($199.95), noise removed in DeNoise ($79.99) and image resized in Perfect Resize ($199.95).
There is only one problem. The cost.

I can understand that working photographers, like commercial or wedding pros, can save a lot of time with plug-ins, it probably would be their money worth. Yet, from what I see, they invest in either totally outsourcing their post-processing or buy Photoshop actions and Lightroom presents for more automation. After all, plug-ins are more artistic, one at the time, multiple choices.

Which leaves people doing photography mostly for fun or as a weekend job as a plug-in customers. Yet, can they afford them?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against plug-ins. I probably at one point or the other downloaded the trial version of each of them, and had fun for 30 days. I just cannot justify spending this kind of money on a “toy” a will use very occasionally. In fact, I am hardly ever using a ton of Lightroom presets I collected over the years, and I do not think it will be any different with plug-ins. Processing an image a day, I can spare occasional half an hour more to achieve those special filters effects in Lightroom.

I am interested in any of you, reading this blog, has any thoughts on plug-ins? Do you own them? Use them? Find them useful and worth the extra cost?

And today’s image is an black and white HDR. Done in Photomatix Pro (probably one can argue if this is a plug-in, too), and finished off in Lightroom. No gimmicks.
It depicts the ruins of the medieval castle, one of the Eagle’s Nests in Mirow. The Eagle’s Nests was a line of defense castles in South Central Poland, today all but one in the state of ruin, yet still majestic.