I definitely agree about the 'bloat' bit. Not so sure about 'you get what you pay for' though.
Although the free programs may lack a few of the extra features found in the paid-for versions, in my experience they're just as good/bad at actually keeping the pc secure.
No seperate firewall (I find the combination of the inbuilt Windows one and my router's enough).
Mind you, it's illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to go near my computer. I'd probably be a bit more thorough it that wasn't the case :)