Earlier this year I was where you are, no scanner and didn't seem to be suffering for the lack of one. Then I saw a $15 Staples deal (AMIR, $75 BMIR) and how could I let that pass. It turned out to be a Memorex 48U, which is a bottom of the line scanner. However, now I find it quite convenient, and of course, will never be without one. I now use it to copy things (like the rebate paper) and can also use it to FAX, whereas before, I had to drag that kind of stuff to work and back (had no other copy or FAX capability at home).
Although it is no frills type, 1200 x 600, max, it is quite good and has good software. I am quite pleased with the OCR S/W. You might look here
for some real good scoop. Two things that I learned from those sources is that 600 x 1200 is all you need for mundane things (including scanning photos) and that those film holder jinglebobs that the $100 and up scanners have for scanning film/negatives aren't very good. If one wants do a lot of that and get good results, the advice is to buy a single purpose film scanner.
Good luck and let us know where you are going with this.