Mike, do a search on ChefTalk on cooking equipment before you buy any. There are several threads that will explore the various properties of various kinds of materials and brands that you will find VERY useful. A good cook can use anything that will take the heat and doesn't leak, but it's more pleasureful when you can use something that works best for the purpose at hand.
There are several other discussion groups that get into this. Some of the people from ChefTalk can be found there, too :
Cooks Illustrated: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/default.asp
And for an article on copperware see the site by Bouland who posts here; his site it's worth the visit, generally: http://www.hertzmann.com/index.php
Going to these sites will lead you to others you might want to visit and point you in the direction of places to obtain cookware & appliances at good prices. Such as:http://www.outletsonline.com/index.html
Garage sales, flea markets, discount stores can be an economical source of good cookware if you know what you are looking for.