Until a year ago, I'd never ran a metal lathe in my life. I bought and re-built a old South Bend lathe and turned it on for the first time, November 2001. I'm now on my second lathe (sold the SB) and now own a mill drill with VFD and DRO. I've spent a couple, three, thousand (at least!) in the past 12 months for tooling and misl stuff. Don't buy the first tool!! You can never go back!! Enco and MSC catalogs will be your reading material instead of TV. You will join newsgroups and learn about differant ways to do metalworking. Your wife will always know where to find you and metalworking magazines will be read cover to cover when they arrive.
Don't buy that first tool... take up golf or something else... you can never go back!
Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Amateur Machinist