Thanks for all of the input, guys, much appreciated.
I really don't need to spend thousands on gear and I don't need the highest end gear either, just as long as I have something reliable that won't damage my records. The most important part to me is the turntable, so getting cheap speakers and a cheap amp is fine by me if it means I could spend a little more on the turntable.
Related question: Let's say I had a higher budget, but still trying to keep it as cheap as possible, what's a good turntable to kick it off with? I've been drawn to the older used models as opposed to buying a new flashy one, not only because they can be a lot cheaper sometimes but they just don't make 'em like they used to.
Are there any brands or specific models I should stay away from or have a bad rap?
As for collecting expensive records, it's not that I'm collecting expensive ones but more that a lot of the bands that I love at the moment only press 300 of a single and if I don't want to pay out the nose for it in the future when they show up on eBay, I have to get it now, but multiply that across 50 bands in 25 genres and that's why it can get expensive.
EDIT: I found this receiver on Craigslist, is it a decent deal? http://york.craigslist.org/ele/2977528219.html