wow... quite alot said there. I did wan't to point out a couple of things though... Almost nothing that must be bought is of significant difference that what we have in-game for "free". that is, most things are just costumes and ship designs or tribbles that don't do much. A lot of the "worthwhile" stuff can be earned for free. that is, the borg tribble for instance, it was made available just for playing on Tribble test server.
The galaxy dreadnought, it is available if you can get 5 friends to join STO.
The pet animals were available for free if you got on Q's good side back at ESD.
The delta flyer Will be made available for free soon. I don't mind waiting since I know it will be worth it. I will have saved 5$ or so (not that shameful if you think about it... )
When all is said and done, there isn't really anything that absolutely must be bought, aside from your subscription. (which, if you are desperate enough, can be switched to free demo)
As said above, I think Cryptic is doing a good job with keeping things balanced. and, also said above, the runabout can be just as helpful as the delta flyer IMHO. its up to you though, to pout about the inevitable, or just make do with what there is already.
(for further notice, the only thing iv bought in the cstore is the dreadnought. i havent bought a single c-point or a-token since then, and dont really plan to as im told some of the costumes may be made available in-game for 'free')