Agree with bj70.
I would not worry about buying twice, as having more radios is always good. They are easy to resell as well.
My first set-up was a Yaesu FT2800 and a Wilson 2m antenna. As low budget and easy install as this was, it worked absolutely great. You can buy that entire rig for under $200.
The FT2800s are a nearly bomb proof radio, and an excellent choice. At just over $100 at gigaparts recently they were a great buy. As your needs increase then the next logical step is a good dual band. I want an 8800-it's on my Christmas list.
What I would not do, is buy a hand held as your first radio. It will seem tempting, but don't do it. It sacrifices much of the range, clarity, power, and ease of use, that you want a Ham radio for in the first place. Get a handheld for your second radio.
The first step, though, is to get your license. I think studying at hamtestonline is the way to go, but there are many other ways. The tech test is pretty easy, don't sweat that part of it.
1997 FZJ80 Desert traveller
1989 FJ62-OME, 33s, OME suspension, H55f
1984 FJ60-SOA, H41, toybox, locked, 37s, Rubicon edition
1971 FJ40-SOA, FJ60 axles, 85 2F, it abides