I just completed my first round of initial purchases....(you know, you never really finish)....and my advice in three words.
Craigslist, craigslist, craigslist.
It takes longer, but boy oh boy is it satisfying. l purchased a chest freezer last year, and bought the love controller from McMaster Carr. The controller costs as much as the freezer, but I used that as a fermentation chamber for a year.
I found an awesome deal on craigslist for a keggerator that had a 1930's fridge. Old guy an hour out of town was selling it for $100. Fridge, 20# co2 tank (still certified) half full, regulator, empty keg shell, sanke tap, faucet and fittings. I sold the fridge for $50. I found an ad on craigslist for someone wanting to trade a corny for a sanke 1/2 bbl keg and bought a second keg from the guy for $30 (so $30 plus an old Coors keg for two ball lock cornys). I also bought a keg from the LHBS ($45) and all new fittings and hoses (spent $100 there with the co2 manifold).
But, if I had to do it again, I would do it all the same, except maybe not buy the lhbs keg and fittings.
Also, buying used cornys from other homebrewers mean that they are likely clean and ready to go (your milage may vary), but when you buy used from a homebrew shop, they smell and have soda syrup in them....most homebrewers even ones giving up on the hobby have decent habits.
Oh, and I found that Austin Homebrew has Perlicks on sale for $22 as well.....I have been putting this purchase off, I need to buy them, unless a deal comes on craigslist.
So, good luck, and if you can, be patient.