Originally Posted by TwoGunz
Somebody also mentioned the importance of yeast and fermentation control. This is another area you could invest in earlier on. Things like starter flasks, stir plates, and fermentation chambers would all be useful.
Ah, yes, good point. You can get by without fancy starter equipment at first, either by using dry yeast (which I recommend for at least the first batch) or doing shaken starters, but if your only financial worry is not buying equipment you'll need to replace, go ahead and splurge on that stuff. You'll never regret having miscellaneous lab glassware lying around.
But, if you're on any kind of a budget, I would spring for a quality temperature control setup right out of the gate. I didn't, I did my first batch in an unpowered fridge in the garage in winter, heating gallon-jugs of water twice a day to keep it at 60°. When spring rolled around, I powered up the fridge and tweaked an outlet timer to keep temperatures stable. Then I got a temp controller and... Well, I'd have happily given up the cost of a couple of batches to have had that from the start.
Depending on what size fermentor you end up using, it may be hard to guarantee that your ferm chamber is the right size. I'd not worry about that and get a mini-fridge, wine fridge, or chest freezer that fits what you're using now. You can always repurpose it to store beers, wines, or kegs later.