I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to Photoshop CS6 Extended (from v7.0). What a difference! At first glance, everything looked pretty much the same. But after watching a few videos, I started seeing all sorts of cool new additions and time-saving modifications to existing commands. I'm really looking forward to my next project so I can really dig into it.
Sadly, I had to push back getting my first tablet though. Hopefully next month.