hmm lets see, I think i have spent around 200 on my setup so far. If you are going to start, spend the money and get the good stuff. You will be kicking yourself in the butt if you go cheap and then decide this is the hobby for you and then have to buy new, better stuff
I don't personally but one of our locals here in Louisville does and his brother and father just opened My old Kentucky homebrew, a store dedicated to homebrew supplies. I will have to tell him about this thread so he can get on here. I don't drink much these days but I am always down to try his beers. He really knows what he is doing. If I'm not mistaken he has placed at the Kentucky State Fair a few times for Homebrews. I'm sure he could give you some tips. Like I said he makes better beers than any of the high end Imports!!!
Ive been brewing for about 10 years, and love experimenting. I've got 8 batches in the bottle right now, dating back to last october. I do a lot of specialty brewing, and my special one right now is a 9% porter made with pears.