Here's a good beginner to intermediate book. Hardcopy sells for about $17, but it's free online.
Empty bottles from a homebrew store will cost you about $9-$11 per case! If Colorado has a bottle deposit law, try going to a liquor store or grocery store or wherever bottles are redeemed to see if they'll sell you empties. I have a store close to me that will sell me as many as I want for the price of the deposit (5 cents each). I can get two cases (enough for a 5 gallon batch) with six-pack holders the cardboard box for $2.40. If you're like most home brewers, you'll find that you'll be giving away your liquid gold to lots of your friends. A nickel apiece makes it really affordable.
A couple other big advantages to plastic buckets are theyre super easy to clean and sanitize, and the spigots make racking easy.