Actually, a cam swap isn't that expensive...especially with a mild street cam. In most cases it costs less than replacing a carb...if you dont get one so big that you need bigger springs or other additional changes. IMO, a cam swap is the biggest bang for the buck, after the exhaust system of course. It is also about the biggest PITA on a later model like yours. Who told you that you need new valves with a cam swap??? You don't, so don't worry about that. I do know that the 3rd gens like yours are very responsive to changes in the exhaust system. A set of smog legal headers with matching y-pipe, hi-flow cat, and aftermarket cat back exhaust system will really help. There is also big gains to be had by changing the rear gears...something along the lines of a 3.73 will give you a big kick in the pants if you have a 2.73 or 3.08 in there now. Of course, there is always smaller items like a K&N filter, underdrive pulleys, hi-po chip, cooler thermostat, etc.