I used to do that as well, and felt Moleskines were just too expensive. Then I splurged on one a couple of years ago, and never had that feeling again. Don't know if I just feel that I get my money's worth, or that my brain just simplistically adjusted to the price.
Empty pages is also my thing. In general I have four, pocket sized one, A5 sized main notebook, A4 sized sketchbook for drawing, and a reporter style watercolor pocket one (I love the panorama-like landscape format for pictures).