The repair bills do seem to be laughable for the little combat reward you get.
I havent had to repair my weapon/armor until i finish 20 hours worth of content........ guys... i am gonna try not be an asshole but... please... Learn to Dodge, using Signs too... i mean.. I use signs more than striking them with the sword.
As for EXP... there's tons of content that can give you levels. Try clearing some Point of Interest Areas( marked with " ? ") or doing some side quests, go out explore, do some witcher contacts...
Plus there are some zones that have quests that you wont get until you reach that zone, like for example
I found a village with alot of people murdered and got a quest to find out what happened.