Thanks - I did know that much but not much else when it comes to lighting. Good lighting has been the one thing that I have put off learning (mainly so no one asks me to shoot their, kids, wedding, .....)
I may look at Pocket Wizards (or just cords) to use my Nikon flashes for hair lights or a back spot. Most of this will be for learning & fun at this time so I'll probably stay cheap until I can justify more convenient options.
Then let me say, even though you think I'm being unhelpful, to just start by using your camera to check light output. ;-)
You can take as many shots as you want for free and it's not a big deal to guess the power from each light (you're probably better than you think!) and then adjust as needed by checking the photos on your LCD. Once you get a feel for how much output you want from each light in a standard setup, you can write it down and save it for next time.
Take the money you were going to spend on a meter and buy some modifiers instead. Get a nice softbox and some grids for your other lights to give you really directional light when you want it (highlights in hair not on shoulders while avoiding lens flare from stray light, e.g.). I'd like to get some gels sometime and play around with them, but haven't yet.
A meter doesn't let you get any shots you couldn't get without it (extra goodies do), so if your shooting isn't time-constrained (read: paid), I don't see why you need it.
One more suggestion. Get these cheap ishoot triggers mentioned on the following thread instead of PWs:
They are not TTL and the flash sync is around 1/200s depending on the camera you're using, but they're fantastic for the price.