I was toying around with getting into brewing my own espresso. Then something pushed me over the edge.
I've been doing a fair bit of research and found a great site: www.coffeegeek.com
The site has reviews of machines, grinders, etc.
I did my research and had settled on a good beginner machine: the Starbucks Barista made by Saeco. It got very good reviews on that site and came highly recommended as a good first machine. They retail for around $449.
I walked into Starbucks and they WERE ON CLEARANCE for $99! I asked for one and the guy told me they only had the demo left. I stopped at another Starbucks on the way home and they only had the demo left. I got home and immediately started calling around. NOTHING! I spoke to a very helpful manager who called some friends who were managers and she said they were all gone in this area. She told me to go back and get one of the demos, which I did. I got the dark graphite colored one.
They took an extra 10% off and threw in free espresso pods (I'm not a big fan of their coffee - overly bitter - but free works.)
Long story short, I got a new espresso machine for $95 total. If you've been considering it, get in on this deal now while you still can! Good luck!