I was just about to give GF kudos for his wisdom (he and I both learned quickly here and on the job, I made many of the above-mentioned mistakes)... Until I read Bob's post.
If it's playing music and building your band that's important, scrap your plan.
Get something like a Zoom to record your practices and sets, and spend the $ on someone w/ real stuff that has an idea what they're doing.
Wait, I got into this whole mess recording my band's practices and sets....
But I did come to the realization that I would rather record bands than play in one as my passion/career BEFORE I stepped in the bucket.
Just make sure that if you really want to get into this, Greg, you know what you're getting into. There aren't many more "hobbies" more expensive and treacherous than recording/mixing.
Maybe rocket science.