To save cost, you can get graduated cylinders from a kitchen shop, just cheap plastic ones will be fine with most chemicals. As for telling when a chem is shot; for fixer, i just change it when my stop bath turns purple (the indication that it is exhausted) there is a hypo checker thing, but I don't use it, I just go by the stop bath. For developer, I use it until it takes too long to get a good black. I usually test this by flashing a small piece of paper and developing it for 2 minutes. I have run developers for so long that they will no longer show an image, but this was only in a pinch with zonal pro, which is a very short lived developer (and one that i do not recommend, but that is a different story). Also, you can use tupperware-like storage containers in place of trays. These are acctually very good, especially if you get lids with them because you can put the lids on inbetween uses, which is perfect for the pinhole work, that way you can put the lids over the chems while you go out and shoot or whatever, then come back, process, and do it again. I would leave the chems in a bottle though if you aren't going to be using them again within like half an hour. Real trays would be better, but this is much cheaper.